By now, publishers are well-aware that to survive and thrive in the digital world, they must have the tools to print their books and journals on demand. Whether a publisher has hifted entirely to print on demand or is only using it for managing smaller runs of its backlist, POD has vastly increased efficiency. But, with the arrival of 3-D printing, POD means
more than it used to. For an increasing number of publishers, 3-D
printing will allow easy and cheap production of books and brand-re-lated merchandise, from Tintin figurines to Harry Potter items. In
short, POD doesn’t simply refer to pages anymore.
In case you’re thinking that 3-D printing is a technology far off
in the future, recent developments suggest that future is now. According to a report by Gartner, shipments of 3-D printers worldwide
increased 98% last year. Thank the plummeting price of 3-D printers; every year more models below $1,000 and even below $500 are
being released. Publishers will do well to take advantage of the
technology, especially in the lucrative markets for licensed products.
But 3-D printing capability also creates more complexity. Historically, publishers have needed to track content and rights not only
for the publication but also for all of the related supplementary
materials, promotional copy, instructors’ and solutions manuals (for
textbooks), and localized content editions. Juggling all of that text
content is tough enough. But 3-D printing can multiply this confusion, creating the need for publishing employees to manage complex CAD files, each consisting of many layers of data—data that
was once the provenance of a relatively small group of engineers and
CAD design specialists. That’s why publishers must have access to
good enterprise content management (ECM) to help them stay on
top of anything that can be printed—from text to figurines—and
Copyright often dominates the IP conversation. But in the digital
age, what else should publishers be thinking about?
Several things—for example, trademark rights, which can include the
name for a book series, or a particular unique character in a series of
books. Many popular book series are being turned into movie series
where licensing trademark rights plays a huge role in the marketing of
products that come with a movie series launch. Even patent rights can
play a role, for a new type of book or product sold with a book. And
publishers often have trade secrets, although some may not realize they
are sitting on this type of intellectual property. And of course, licensing
the various instructions and rights that go
along with them.
Take a company such as Scholastic, which
could now conceivably decide to do 3-D
POD, either itself or through licensees, for
Curious George merchandise. Scholastic
employees would not only need the printing
instructions, but would also need to know
who owns the rights to Curious George in
various territories and to make sure that the
yellow hat is the right shade of yellow. Multiply these kinds of
questions by many different publishers, books, figurines, and curious monkeys, and it’s clear that publishers need an ECM that keeps
track of everything in one place, including the rights around text,
images, and 3-D-printed merchandise.
Another example might be a publisher at a book fair like this one,
hosting a booth that offers customers the chance to get their faces
photographed and superimposed on figurines wearing a Hogwarts
uniform. If you happen to own the rights to Harry Potter, a good
ECM makes it possible to maintain standards and control without
Muggles having to spend valuable time checking that those controls
are in place.
In the past, publishers could muddle through without a good
ECM. But in a 3-D print-on-demand world, all assets now need to
be stored and managed so that they can be easily found, exported,
and licensed to third parties for local printing. A good ECM is the
publishing system of the future, however that future is defined. ;
Why Print on Demand Just Got More Complex
What Are You Leaving on the Table?
CCC’s Roy Kaufman on the key to effectively managing rights in the digital age
PW talks with attorney Brian D. Siff, of international law firm Duane Morris,
about IP rights in the digital age
BY ANDREW RICHARD ALBANESE
Roy Kaufman is the managing director of new ventures at the Copyright Clearance Center.
Brian D. Siff with his “client” Clifford the Big Red Dog.