International Industry Notes: Nielsen’s ISBN Store, Wiley’s Purchase

In News by Porter Anderson

In the UK, Nielsen’s ISBN program has stepped into the digital age with what it describes as sure-footed grace. In the US, an internationally placed STM content platform is bought by a customer.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

The Modern ISBN Emporium
The former head of Nielsen UK’s ISBN program, Simon Skinner, used to describe the sales process of the book identifiers there as a thing of telephoning and email. When an independent author needed to buy his or her first ISBN, he said, the call could keep one staffer busy on the phone for between 20 and 40 minutes.

No wonder Nielsen’s London offices now are crowing:

Nielsen logo lined“After nearly 50 years of promoting and selling ISBNs and prefixes to publishers in the UK and Ireland via a manual process, Nielsen has launched an online store that enables publishers and self-published authors to go to one site and purchase ISBNs, Book2Look widgets and a subscription to their BookData Enhanced service, enabling publishers to enrich their title records.”

Declaring its new ISBN Store a hit, the company has issued a statement reading, “Publishers and self-published authors can purchase these services 24/7 enabling them to work and shop at their convenience.”

And thus, the process of buying and managing ISBNs in the UK and Ireland now pulls up alongside that in the United States, where Bowker, the US ISBN agency, has had online services for years.

Nielsen provides several upbeat comments from publishers. A couple of them:

“I was very pleased to be able to get the ISBN numbers online. This is my first attempt at (self) publishing and this particular aspect of the process was very much helped by your online service.”

“I found the process very quick and simple, thank you. Your online facility is brilliant–and I look forward to using it again when I need another 10 ISBNs.”

As many self-publishers continue to eschew the use of ISBNs—which cost £89 (US$117) singly or £149 (US$196) for 10—Nielsen is using the occasion to emphasize its conviction that “The ISBN is a critical part of the book trade.” That’s from Stephen Long, the company’s Global Director for Discovery and Commerce Solutions.

In his prepared statement, Long is quoted saying: “I am delighted that the Nielsen ISBN Store has been so well received. Our aim is to offer all our clients a fast and efficient way of purchasing ISBNs and the online store compliments the expertise of the ISBN agency staff.”

And, here’s reassurance for those not ready to take the digital plunge: the Nielsen’s agency for the UK and Ireland “still offers publishers the opportunity to talk to an adviser.”

When the Customer Buys the Platform

Remember the old electric shaver ad, “I liked it so much I bought the company”?

Wiley logo linedSeveral industry observers are commenting that John Wiley & Sons‘ signing of a “definitive agreement to acquire Atypon” is a case in which a customer is buying the service.

In an announcement Thursday, Wiley states that it’s buying Silicon Valley’s Atypon, a publishing-software company, for $120 million cash. Atypon, based in California and fielding offices in Jordan, Greece, and the UK, “allows scholarly societies and related publishers to quickly and cost-effectively build and revise content sites with their branding front and center, analyze and respond to usage patterns, manage user access, enhance content discovery and support marketing and digital commerce,” per the statement.

In its announcement, Wiley—global in scope, itself, of course—says: “Atypon provides Literatum, an innovative platform that primarily serves the large scientific, technical, medical and scholarly industry. This sophisticated software gives publishers direct control over how their content is displayed, promoted and monetized on the web. The company generated over $31 million in calendar year 2015 revenue. Atypon’s valued customers include some of the largest and most prestigious names in the industry. Literatum hosts nearly 9,000 journals, 13 million journal articles and more than 1,800 publication web sites for over 1,500 societies and publishers, accounting for a third of the world’s English-language scholarly journal articles.”

Mark Allin, Wiley President and CEO, is quoted saying:

Mark Allin

Mark Allin

“Wiley is committed to enabling the success of our customers and partners to advance research, discovery and learning.

“Atypon offers an outstanding set of publishing solutions that can help industry participants like Wiley drive the discovery of research.

“We will ensure Atypon’s flexible platform continues to fully support the research community and industry partners so they may better serve their own customers.”

It’s that line about fully supporting the research community and industry partners that will interest some who say this puts Wiley in the position of offering the Atypon services to its own competitors.

At Library Journal’s InfoDocket, Gary Price reminds us that Atypon earlier this month announced that Taylor & Francis’ relaunched platform is one of its projects, and that Sage Research Methods is to migrate to Atypon’s Literatum platform in 2017.

Atypon’s founding CEO Georgios Papadopoulos is quoted in this week’s statement saying:

“We have worked hard with our partners to build the industry’s premier publishing platform and support the needs of the research community. Atypon is delivering solid growth and marked its most successful year in 2015, nearly doubling its staff in two years.

“With Wiley’s commitment we are very excited about the many opportunities to accelerate the expansion of Atypon’s service offerings strengthening the fabric of scholarly communications, expanding access, readership, and utilization, lowering operating costs, enabling organizations to create and expand offerings and products on their own, and building value for all stakeholders.”

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.