How a new workflow management tool promises to help publishers flourish in the digital age
There’s an old publishing joke that goes like this: the first thing Johannes Gutenberg printed on his newly invented printing press was the Bible. The second was an article about the death of publishing.
While this rightly picks on the perpetual think pieces bemoaning the death of publishing, it is important to concede that one reason these “death of publishing” pieces get written up so often is simply that publishing faces new challenges all the time. Like the Hydra which sprouts two heads for each one cut-off, the moment one is dealt with, more spring up. This isn’t a call to throw up our hands and give up – publishers play far too important a role culturally for this to be an acceptable option – but this does mean that publishers need a partner with a constant finger on the pulse of the terrain to help them recognize and adapt to new challenges as rapidly as possible. Enter PageMajik.
We firmly believe that the future cannot be faced unless you’re well acquainted with the past and the present. This philosophy gives PageMajik an edge since its team has worked with publishers for decades. This intimate knowledge of the field ensures that they don’t just know what overt trends are being observed, but that they also know about subterranean patterns not widely recognized. For example, consider how in the 90s some techies were convinced of the imminent death of print, with its market share increasingly eaten up by new and slick digital books. Many start-ups were launched in the hope of cornering this new market, with new devices churned out faster than you could keep track. Unfortunately, e-book sales did not take off as predicted and many of these start-ups had to shut down.
As this graph from the International Digital Publishing Forum shows, the idea to focus on alternatives to print only started to pay off in 2009. Flash-forward to 2017, and more than two-thirds of adult fiction sales is digital. That isn’t to say that e-books are enjoying uninterrupted growth – 2017 also saw a 17% drop in ebook sales last year thanks to “screen fatigue”. There isn’t an easy narrative here that can be learnt and mechanically adhered to regarding the market. Rather, what incidents like these emphasize is that having a vision isn’t enough – you also need a trustworthy hand on your shoulder to hold you back when it’s prudent and to give you a small nudge when necessary. This is precisely the role PageMajik plays.
Accordingly, after extensively surveying publishers regarding their most pressing needs, we decided to create a single system that allows publishers to monitor and direct the progress of the book from start to finish. It would have a shared platform where authors, editors, and designers can all work together simultaneously, while the cloud-based content management system ensures thorough version control. And best of all, state-of-the-art automation eliminates much of the mechanical tasks that had to be done manually – speeding up the entire process significantly, resulting in a windfall saving in time and money.
As impressive as these features may be, PageMajik will never be content with just these but will always look to improve upon them, so that its partners never have to fear being left behind. To go back to the weathervane image invoked in the title, these vanes have two aspects. The first is that they reveal the direction of prevailing winds to an onlooker, and the second is that they turn themselves to orient to those winds. By loose analogy, PageMajik keeps an eye on the future and constantly transforms itself with the times, ensuring that quality never has to suffer because of new contingencies. We hope you’ll join us on this journey.