Embracing Artificial Intelligence and Reclaiming Control

Ten years ago, with Amazon’s entrance into the E-reader market, publishers were forced to examine their centuries old way of doing business and look for dramatic ways to improve efficiency and keep up with a market they didn’t recognize anymore.  By creating ebooks and digital learning solutions, reaching readers through social media and other non-traditional methods, and making content available to everyone through open access and subscription forms, publishers have found ways to adapt to the current digital world. 

But, one aspect of technology has often given publishers pause—automation.  Most aspects of the publishing process from acquiring books to sales to rights management continue to be managed by humans.  As sales decline, publishers must acquire more and more books, publish more and more content, and sell more and more rights, so how can humans possibly keep up with the workflow?

Whether it’s a fear of job losses or a lack of connection to the content, publishers continue to be slow to adopt methods of automation.  Today, with artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning being able to take over some key redundancies in the publishing process, it would help to improve efficiency and direct the attention of the team more directly on the content rather than the process as this would open up more opportunities to increase revenue.

Machine learning is being readily used in most industries these days.  From chat bots acting as customer service on shopping, healthcare, and travel websites to Netflix and Spotify recommending movies and music based on previous selections, machine learning is allowing industries to become more and more sophisticated in the way they understand their markets and connect directly to them. 

For publishers, these systems can be taught to manage some of the time-consuming tasks that have traditionally fallen to humans throughout the publishing value chain, thus freeing up those humans to focus on more high-level work that only they can do.  Machine learning will help publishers understand what trends exist in the marketplace, free up time to acquire, edit, and design that content, and reach out to key audiences for these books and journals.  Machine learning will allow publishers to revolutionize the way they do business and take better control of their bottom line in the future.

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