Jason Ashlock, President of Movable Type Management, is trying to perfect "just-in-time publishing." Movable Type released a book about Linsanity within six days of him becoming a national sensation. Similarly, they quickly put together a book for opening day for the Mets and for the 5th anniversary of the Virginia Tech Massacre. They are developing expertise at working with authors to quickly put together timely and topical eBooks using Vook.
We sat down with Jason to discuss how he does this:
Can you tell me more about your company, Movable Type Management? Jason: The founding principle of our firm is to be as responsibly expansive as possible when representing our clients. That means thinking as creatively as we can about what we can build for them in the digital space. There's not a strong set of methodologies or best practices for this yet, we're creating them as we go. Vook is giving us a great chance to experiment as much as possible to help our clients and learn what works.
What's "just-in-time publishing?" Jason: I actually have to credit Matt Cavnar [VP Business Development at Vook] with coining the phrase. It comes from "Just-in-time manufacturing" which is a revolution of the supply chain which allows a company to produce a product immediately based on market demand. It's usually most proven by big factories in Japan and China. We're bringing that idea to bear on publishing. When traditional publishers want to rush out a book it still takes many weeks. We're trying to truncate as much as possible the time between idea and the incarnation in the market. We're able to condense that time from weeks to hours. We see a moment in culture and act quickly to make a book just in time.
What role does Vook play in this? Jason: One could argue that without Vook, none of this would be possible. The Linsanity book ended up netting tens of thousands of dollars in foreign and domestic sales. The school book has landed that author on NPR and other venues. Those pay-offs would be impossible without a service like Vook. Out of nothing, we produced a product that opened up all these opportunities for our clients. Before tools like Vook, this took an entire matrix of relationships -- shippings, distributors, printers etc. -- now we have all that in one cloud-based product, which is Vook. I also have to add the customer support is incredible. Whenever we've had any problem, whatever it is, we've gotten immediate and helpful responses.
Can you share more about one of your books that exemplifies "just-in-time publishing?" Jason: We recently released the MM0 2012 Mets Annual for opening day. We worked with one of the largest sports blogs in the city to produce the eBook. They had a great wealth of knowledge around the Mets as well as a built-in fan base. Combine that with opening day as the catalyst and we knew it was a perfect opportunity. The whole book was produced in a couple weeks including original graphic art, biographies of every player and coach, stats, history and more. We've been very pleased with the outcome.
What would you advise to someone looking to follow your model? Jason: The challenge of just-in-time publishing is that while you may have the technological capacity to produce something quickly, that doesn't necessarily mitigate the problem of marketing and discovery. Just because you create a Jeremy Lin eBook a few days after he became a national phenomenon doesn’t mean anyone will buy it. The speed of production, while an asset and a virtue, means that you have to move at the same speed for your marketing plan. If you don't already have a built-in fan base (like we did with the Mets book) it can be really difficult. I'd recommend looking at partnering with someone to do your marketing and publicity.comments powered by Disqus