Why automating workflows is crucial for publishers in an era of remote working

How Biblio’s unique features prove the value of digital workflows - with key examples from a global children’s publisher


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“By having a single location for this data across a global group we’re not duplicating data, we’re not feeding out inaccurate data. We know if there’s a problem with information, it’s all in one place to be corrected.”

- David Bremser, I.T. Director, Candlewick Press

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With most employees working from home, publishing operations have been radically tested over the past year or so.


Were publishers already working digitally? Absolutely.


Were there gaps in the process? Undeniably.


And these gaps were highlighted by the sudden mass shift to remote working. For example, sales teams can’t pack and post galleys from home; and editors and directors can’t hand-sign approval forms and pass them through Zoom. For this reason, accessible digital materials have never been a more crucial part of how publishers operate.


For publishers, Biblio surpasses other solutions to the challenge of digital file-sharing.


One of the key benefits of the Biblio suite is providing a way to cherry pick what to share, with whom, and in what format.


File-sharing with BiblioDAM and BiblioLIVE is easy, secure and space-saving, and Virtusales' customers have found substantial benefits to rolling out Biblio so that the system covers more of their files-sharing needs.


Before integrating BiblioDAM, publishing teams at Walker Books and Candlewick Press were leaning on a mix of file-sharing apps and manual steps in many of their most essential processes.


These included:

  • WeTransfer or Dropbox to send images (Sales, PR, Marketing)

  • Couriers for contracts or reading material in time-sensitive deals (Rights, Editorial)

  • Print-outs of projects under consideration, or in need of approval (Rights, Editorial, Design, Production)


The Biblio suite - metadata, assets and digital workflows - provides a secure and reliable way of sharing data in this new working landscape.


The benefits have been applicable to every step in the publishing journey.


In our webinar case study, Harnessing Technology To Bring Efficiencies to Digital Workflows, Candlewick Press (USA) and Walker Books (UK and Australia) noted that other benefits of using Biblio included linked metadata and assets in a single system, file storage, highly adaptable reporting and automated workflow triggers.


The push to make better use of their established centralized Biblio system for all workflows led them to harness these benefits for turbo-charged publishing efficiency.


Benefit: version control and custom permissions


One example underlined by Walker and Candlewick is the unique way permissions can be ascribed to different versions of a work, ensuring that files are both secure and easy to locate because they’re always associated in the database with a single central parent project and seamlessly linked to the product metadata and contract records:

  • Early versions can be ascribed permissions so that only a small editorial team have access while work is under consideration, or being edited;

  • Final versions can be made accessible to PR, Sales and Marketing;

  • Sections of a work can be generated within Biblio as a reading sample for sharing;

  • These can be shared externally in emails without attachments, via unique URLs, or within the system itself where external parties can be invited to preview content and express interest or order directly within Biblio.


In more detail…

Sales and Marketing:

If a Sales, PR or Marketing team wish to make a sample of a page, or chapter, and share with a media partner, or the Sales team need reading copies for customers, the Biblio suite has all of the functionality to make this simple.


BiblioDAM’s functions then enable the sales team to:

  • Extract relevant pages

  • Add a watermark

  • Add password-protection

  • Transform to a different file type

  • Generate a URL to provide external parties with access

  • Set a time-limit to automatically deactivate the URL


In addition Biblio can automate catalogue production - which saves Walker and Candlewick "12 weeks a year" when producing their frontlist, backlist and gift catalogues. Read the full case study, here: Biblio3 has completely revolutionised our business.


This ability to watermark, set permissions and securely share files in this way also has manifold advantages for Rights and Production, as well as Editorial in the Acquisitions process.


Benefit: intelligent duplication to reduce file storage


Another major benefit of bringing these functions together in a single comprehensive system is to reduce the burden of large duplicate files.


Many staff members use the same files for different purposes. Without a central system, multiple copies of a single file will be saved many times on a single I.T. system.


By providing intelligent access to everyone and recognising when all or part of a work is duplicated, Biblio removes them. Only a single version of an identical file exists - while remaining an accessible element of all the packages and processes it belongs to.


This has a huge space-saving advantage. The process is entirely automated, and doesn’t require staff to remember anything - Biblio will know when the same file is saved twice.


As well as minimising duplications of a single edition by multiple departments, it means that two editions with differing cover files and front-matter, but identical content, will use a single file for the content. Where most DAM systems treat each package separately, Biblio can pull the content from a single file.


In a global company this has significant implications - different companies in the group can use the same file for their own editions, associated with their own packaging. Candlewick Press' I.T. Director, Dave Bremser, suggested this resulted in a 75% reduction in file storage for works with multiple editions.


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These examples from Walker and Candlewick group are a glimpse of how Biblio’s workflow functions are manifold, and tailored to each business.


Other features have stood out while the industry adapts to major changes. Automated triggers to ONIX feeds ensure that metadata remains up to date, contract management and permission requests are all held within the system. The capacity for large product files, digital asset distribution and integration with Digital Rights Management systems have kept Virtusales clients in-step with the demands of the modern publishing market.


Biblio’s systems have stood out as future-proof in this and other turbulent times, providing outstanding value where teams are unable to work side-by-side in an office.


File-sharing, workflow tools and efficient storage has enhanced collaboration and streamlined previously manual and time-consuming processes at Walker Books and Candlewick Press. Using Biblio’s full range of features has led to more efficient working now, and will continue to benefit the group in future, whether staff work in a shared space or not.


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We used to be sitting on shelves and shelves of CDs or external hard drives or server shares that were overflowing. [It was a huge challenge] finding those assets and then figuring out a way [to share them securely]…. Having a centralised place, something that has tracking, something that has versioning… we had to do it.

- David Bremser, I.T. Director, Candlewick Press

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