Six essential digital tools for publishers

The publishing world is run by specialists: from editors and layout designers to booksellers and royalties accountants. With such specific roles come dedicated digital tools for publishers.

But the market for these tools is increasingly crowded and difficult to navigate, which is why we’ve selected six of the best ways to solve common challenges faced by today’s publishers.

1. Layout design
When Adobe launched a new layout design app in 1999, it was taking on QuarkXPress, which boasted a 95% market share. The latter has gone on to be a footnote in publishing history, while InDesign is now ubiquitous throughout the industry.

“InDesign is great. It’s the all-in-one. If you want to create a book, a document or anything.”

Jennifer Seely – Interactive Design Director @ Clear Magazine

Clear Magazine case study for Adobe InDesign

2. Creative collaboration
When it comes to sharing layout designs and getting feedback from creative directors and editors, emailing PDFs back and forth is painfully ineffective. Hightail offers a new way to share visual files, collect feedback in context of the original design and manage approvals in one place.

“Instead of wasting time on conferences calls and email, Hightail’s crisp visuals and tools for real-time exchange of comments, has helped us implement a new creative direction seamlessly.”

Brian Walker – Art Director @ HistoryNet

HistoryNet layout on Hightail Spaces

3. Bibliographic data management
Cataloguing and tracking publications is a critical part of the publishing industry. Virtusales’ Bibliolive service offers a user-friendly publishing system that is flexible enough to suit all types of publisher and is fully compliant with industry standards, like BIC and ONIX.

“We use Virtusales’ Bibliolive for bibliographic data management and for controlling our Onix feeds. It’s a cloud-based solution so it’s easy to access and manage the information from anywhere.”

Niamh Murray – Marketing Director @ Profile Books

4. eBook publishing
As more and more publishers go digital, services that offer simple ways to publish eBooks are becoming increasingly popular. CircularFLO provides the ability to create an interactive eBook in minutes. No coding required – just import InDesign files or PDFs to get started.

“Combining text highlighting with hand lettering isn’t something that has ever been done before. Working with CircularFLO, we’ve managed to produce a beautiful, unique edition.”

Tom Bonnick – Business Development Manager @ Nosy Crow

CircularFLO sample

5. Subscription management
From magazines and newspapers to book clubs and digital publishers, subscription management tends to be complex. Advantage CS offers a complete solution for all things subscription, from pricing to deliveries, including digital access.

“No other software vendor comes close to providing the service and support we get from the Advantage team.”

Gae Lennan – Director of Information Technology, Unity
Canelo custom book scanner

6. Book scanning
As the digital market grows, scanning copies of existing titles in growing in importance. Most publishers tend to outsource scanning, except for UK-based digital publishing specialist, Canelo, who decided to build their own book scanner. Read all about it here.

“We built the book scanner because we are unusually interested in eBook production. It gives us total control of every stage of our production. The best publishing tends to be hands-on publishing.”

Iain Millar – Managing Director, Canelo

Those are six digital tools that can change how your publishing company works and make your business more productive. We’d love to hear your publishing tool suggestions in the comments below.

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