LJNDawson.com, Consulting to the Book Publishing Industry
Book Publishing Industry Consultant

Watching Bowker Reinvent Itself

Bowker's got a tough row to hoe these days, as companies like Ingram, Baker & Taylor, et al license their data for use on the web. Years ago, they were the only bibliographic-data game in town. But the competition's gotten stiffer - even librarians are looking things up on Amazon.com rather than checking the BIP database. A few months ago, I was giving a presentation to some independent presses, and one guy asked me, "What's the point of Bowker these days?"

Apart from being the
US ISBN agency, which is crucial business for them now that the ISBN is changing to 13 digits, Bowker's been forced to find new markets. And I think that their latest effort - hooking up with Content Directions, and turning ISBNs into DOIs - is a very smart move on their part. As more and more publishers sign on to the Google Print project, those DOIs are going to improve search results and make Googling books even stronger.

Very strategic, and great timing. I'm impressed.
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