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Fran Toolan of Firebrand Navigates the Challenges of Content Management

In the old days (say, 2006!) it was easy for publishers to completely handle all aspects of content management internally. Now it's more challenging thanks to seemingly ever-changing tools, specs and platforms. Firebrand Technologies founder and president Fran Toolan recently sat down with us to discuss a variety of content management topics. Key points include:

  • "Publishers can't outsource QA"  -- Regardless of what's done in-house vs. out-of-house, quality control rests squarely on the shoulders of the publisher. [Discussed at 1:00]
  • Metadata needs to move in sync with the content -- One of the more common problems Fran sees is the disconnection between metadata and the product's content. [Discussed at 2:55]
  • New formats could easily displace existing ones-- Despite the popularity of EPUB and mobi, for example, the barriers to entry for new formats are actually pretty low, particularly if we're talking about browser-supported formats. [Discussed at 3:44]
  • HTML5 is likely to win out over native apps -- Apple's walled garden approach is driving app developers away and HTML5 offers plenty of power and flexibility. [Discussed at 4:55]
  • Don't look for a one-size-fits-all solution for devices and platforms -- Just as Kindles lend themselves so well today to long-form reading and iPads more so to short-form reading, tomorrow will probably feature devices that are tailor-made for specific applications and users. [Discussed at 7:08]
  • HTML5 could very well become Amazon's "escape hatch" -- We love to complain that Amazon doesn't support EPUB but HTML5 might represent their best way forward. [Discussed at 10:30]
  • NetGalley is doing well...-- ...but I still find that most publishers don't understand the value of digital early release/review. [Discussed at 14:25
  • Rights remains a very important area publishers are overlooking-- Ebooks make it easy to quickly to sell globally but publishers aren't managing their rights effectively to track and fully leverage the opportunities. [Discussed at 17:43]

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