Simultaneous Print and Digital Publishing Workflows
When publishers produce print and digital products together, the process can take a very long time – sometimes as long as 17 months. This is because, in spite of the similarities in print and digital publishing, these are often ignored. Instead, the two processes for the two different products are commonly disparate, happening virtually in isolation from one another without any meaningful overlap.
The challenge facing publishers is to align the two processes so that workflow is simultaneous. This, in turn, helps to reduce overlapping timelines and redundancies, improving overall quality and speeding up the time it takes to reach the point of distribution. Ultimately this approach will reduce costs, improve the company’s bottom line, and provide a healthy return on investment (ROI).
A Gutenberg Technology (GT) case study, Major Time and Cost Savings with A True Print & Digital Simultaneous Workflow, examines how traditional inefficiencies of traditional print publishing can be eliminated or at least substantially improved by utilizing a simultaneous workflow.
The case study shows how Gutenberg Technology’s ground-breaking MyEcontentFactory can be used to successfully create a simultaneous workflow that can reduce a 17-month process to just nine months.
First, the GT research team analyzed the time it takes from ideation to releasing a publication in both print and digital form using the traditional print-first workflow and timeline. Then they integrated workflow and the timeline for the two processes using MyEcontentFactory and analyzed these results. The results are impressive.
Traditional Inefficiencies of Traditional Publishing Workflow
To be able to eliminate inefficiencies these must, of course, first be identified.
In a nutshell, the fact is that print and digital publishing are simply not synchronous because too many established print-first processes are employed at the beginning of projects regardless of whether they are for print or digital publications. Similarly, the tools and systems used universally are disparate. Also, the digital products employed are reliant on traditional print-first content. The traditional ways of doing things also result in the editing, proofreading, and approval processes for both print and digital publishing taking much longer than they should – or could if these inefficiencies were removed.
How a Simultaneous Workflow Can Successfully Address Inefficiencies
A traditional publishing workflow starts with a lengthy planning and conceptual process that also incorporates the copy editing and proofreading processes. Once the publication has been typeset, a series of PDF (portable document format) printouts are distributed for comments, edits, and tweaks to improve the content. This effectively wastes a lot of time – and money – because the digital process can’t begin until this process has been completed.
But if the content is authored and revised for both print and digital publications at the same time, and a single tool system is used, the workflows will be simultaneous.
Key solutions detailed in the case study involve:
- Creating a synchronous system that produces one unified product (print and digital) that can be easily and efficiently project managed. Importantly, the content is transformed so that it can be used on virtually any platform and is therefore reusable right from the word go.
- Introducing a consolidated system that requires just one tool for print and digital authoring, and for dealing with metadata, media assets, assessments, and the all-important distribution process.
- Improving the ability for collaboration, as well as print and digital content editing and proofreading. Previews and reviews of everything from templates and themes to end-output are enhanced too.
- Ensuring that digital products are created using digital-first and not print-first content. XML files can be created and exported at any time in the process and they are automatically synchronized with assessments, media, and digital content metadata.
Ultimately, by integrating and streamlining print and digital workflows and working with the two production processes at the same time, publishers can reduce their timeframes by about eight months. The cost saving can be similarly phenomenal.