P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY .

C O M

Special Report 2013

Digital Solutions in

INDIA
Transforming content for the new world
of e-books, apps, tablets, mobile devices
and cloud computing

Simplify your

DIGITAL

PUBLISHING

prepress

|

conversion

|

apps

|

cloud
contact: sales@newgen.co

Digital Solutions in India 2013

Workflows, products, ideas, and
even perceptions are being refined
and redefined all the time

In a Constant State
Of Flux and Frenzy
By Teri Tan

Time was, when a company got a winning product (or formula),
it was set for a few generations, or at least for several years. Not
so today—even less so in the content or in the digital space.
While the “create once, publish to many” principle of
digitization holds, execution is becoming ever more complex,
thanks to the plethora of devices, platforms, workflows,
standards, and ideas available to both the publishing and
digital solution providers industries. (Simpler is in fact harder
to do now.)
The Choices to Take
“Publishers are suffering from a bit of
technology fatigue after facing several
years of competing—and for the most
part, incompatible—devices, platforms,
file formats, and technologies in the
mobile space,” observes John Wheeler,
senior v-p for strategy and emerging
technologies at SPi Global, adding that

these publishers “are now looking for
digital distribution models that are simple, low risk, and global, work on multiple platforms and make some economic
sense.”
Increasingly, publishers are moving
toward platform-independent solutions
for their digital content needs and
demanding more interactivity in

e-books, adds CEO Subrat Mohanty of
Hurix, noting that “assessments, games,
and quizzes are becoming a major part of
an e-book” for children. The industry, he
says, is “in a state of flux, with clients
looking at an XML-first workflow at one
end and using tools such as iBooks
Author for custom production at the
other end. But everybody is definitely
moving away from proprietary standards
such as Flash.”
More educational publishers are also
moving away from the “book model” and
embracing the concept of learning
objects and learning objectives as works
are authored, designed, and produced,
says Wheeler of SPi Global. “Such an
approach, combined with consistent
metadata, will allow publishers to be far
more flexible in their delivery models
across the digital spectrum. At the same
time, the idea of treating large content
repositories as Big Data is gaining traction. This is especially true in such areas
as research, legal publishing, and news
aggregation. The tools and repositories
developed around data warehousing, discovery, and research can then be used in
a number of publishing areas.”
The current focus in the education
industry, adds Mohanty of Hurix, is on
providing differentiated instruction to
each student and ensuring that the student achieves the desired learning outcomes as efficiently as possible.
“Another, certainly in k–12, is on maximizing the positive influence and effect
that teachers and classmates or peers can
have on a student’s learning experience.
Concepts such as flipping the classroom—where traditional teaching
methods are inverted, with instruction
delivered outside the class and class-

Online Coverage of the Digital Solutions Industry
The following articles are available online in conjunction with this print report:
● Proving Their

Case(s) features interesting, unusual, and complex projects from selected vendors.

● Start Analyzing This

(features Qbend’s unique focus on analytics and how it helps content creators)

Visit www.publishersweekly.com/DigitalSolutions2013 for continuing coverage, news, and q&as with vendors and
publishers on the digital solutions industry.

W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

3

Digital Solutions in India 2013
room time used for discussion and collaborative problem solving—are catching on, and various approaches are being
tested and evaluated to increase classroom efficiencies.”
On the other hand, with more educational publishers creating e-learning
content using EPub 3, “tracking and
monitoring of content and learner
achievement is becoming essential. Inevitably, e-reader apps supporting EPub 3
must support such features,” says senior
v-p Mohammed Sadiq of AEL Data Services, whose team also focuses on devising approaches that can “pull consumer
analytics from e-book purchases and
e-bookstore traffic, and pass them to the
e-reader applications. Now we have the
books ‘reading’ the reader.”
Whatever decisions publishers make,
everything is tied to content. Qbend
CEO Kris Srinaath observes, “There is a
major shift from focusing on formats and
channels to focusing on content. Printfirst digital-next is outdated. Editors
now have to think about e-delivery at the
manuscript stage while working with
their authors. Elements such as hyperlinks, companion Web sites, and multimedia are an integral part of the current
book production process.”
Content is also the focus for CEO
Nizam Ahmed of DiTech Process Solution. “Now that digital reading is rapidly
gaining acceptance, there is visible
enthusiasm among institutions and universities to convert and, ultimately, monetize their huge repositories of print content—research papers, rare manuscripts,
student theses, for instance. The digitization, involving scanning and embedding
search mechanisms and other enhancements, will lead to the creation of numerous virtual libraries,” says Ahmed, effectively summarizing the factors that
prompted him to create STUDYeBUDDY (see review on page 12), which
addresses the lack of affordable paperback editions of international titles as
well as the urgent need for such content.
But managing content is easier said
than done. “Some publishers already
have large XML repositories that have
been built up at the back-end of the
4

print production process. The challenge
now is to build workflows to integrate
these databases into a digital-first process,” says CEO Nishith Arora of MPS,
pointing out that this is where several
MPS offerings come into the picture: the
DigiCore publishing platform that integrates with a publisher’s XML and asset
databases; DigiEdit, for collaboration
among authors, reviewers, and project
managers; and MPSTrak, a workflow
management system for project routing
and tracking.

The Future on the Make
The next wave, points out COO Kaushik
Sampath of Qbend, “may very well be the
creative input that prepress service providers can bring to the table, because it is
no longer good enough to be able to create
EPub documents or animated content. In
the near future, a supplier needs to be able
to provide unique, interactive, and functional elements that enhance user learning
coupled with exceptional visual appeal.
This is especially true now that publishers
have realized that they can and need to
engage with consumers at levels that were
not possible previously.”
Michelle Harold, v-p for global sales at
Ninestars, thinks that the future is going
to be dominated by digital aggregation,
cloud-based apps, and content gamification. “In the last couple of years, crosschannel reader engagement has become
seamless, with mobile apps becoming
more sophisticated, educational content
getting more engaging, and digital revenues overtaking print revenues.”
But apps, while popular, are becoming less bespoke and more templated.
Most of Lapiz Online’s clients, for
instance, are asking for simple activitybased apps that can be templated for a
whole series in order to keep costs low.
The approach, says CEO Indira Rajan,
“is always to test one app first and see if
more apps should be created for other
titles or series.”
Over at SPi Global, Wheeler expects
to see content delivery through apps
starting to lose ground to mobileenabled HTML5, which targets the
multitude of devices supporting the

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

HTML5 browser. “This will lighten the
development load as publishers will no
longer need to target specific devices
with special formats and requirements
for such content as media and interactive
exercises.”
The much-touted open access will
become prominent, says managing director and CEO Sriram Subramanya of
Integra, “but not the dominant business
model in the STM marketplace, although
it may create disruptive structural changes
within specific disciplines. On the trade
side, self-publishing and e-book lending
programs have become major challenges.
We will be seeing digital-only books and
journals, parallel publishing, and collaborative publishing between digital solutions providers and publishers. Supplier
consolidation is certain, as publishers are
looking at a single outsourcing model
covering all divisions and imprints across
different geographic locations.”
Practical device restrictions on video,
audio, math rendering, and Unicode
compliance are possibly as inhibiting to
educational publishers as is the question
of digital cannibalization, says Walter
Walker, executive director of publishing
services at codeMantra. “And whether it
is EPub 3 or a multitude of alternative
formats, it is the educational publishers
who represent the next major demand for
digital services.”
The future of education, predicts Atul
Goel, senior v-p for global operations and
technology at Cenveo Publisher Services,
“will be e-learning, and that will break
all geographical boundaries with content
that is created once and then localized to
meet market-specific needs.”
Subramanya of Integra adds, “With
nearly 20% of the population in developed countries expected to adopt tablets
or e-readers by 2015, device prices are
falling even as device usability and
design continue to improve. This has
propelled the transition from print to
digital; the biggest impact is of course on
educational content delivery, which is
shifting radically towards digital. But
print will remain and co-exist with digital-first products for many more years to
come.”

Digital Solutions in India 2013

A big pool of proven vendors are here to
digitize and repurpose your content to fit
the changing world

We’ve Got the
Transformation
Power
By Teri Tan

Now that the worst of the financial crisis is past, the mood is
one of optimism laced with rational exuberance. Publishing
clients in the biggest market—the U.S.—are back on board,
busy developing new titles and content, and asking for new
products, solutions, and workflows. Over in Europe, where
certain countries are still in dire financial straits, publishers are
starting to award more projects to India-based vendors now that
they have seen the advantages of outsourcing hitherto internal
processes.

B

usiness has certainly been
brisk for the vendors. They
are looking into acquisitions,
setting up new divisions, or
establishing offshore offices.
The big publishers have
already parceled out their projects and
appointed their favored vendors. But the
market is not just about the big 10.
Everywhere—in the U.S., Europe, and
Asia—medium and small publishers are
flourishing. So, too, are independent
publishers and society publishers. Then
there are self-publishers (who have been
springing up like mushrooms after the
rain), the corporate world, media agencies, and institutional libraries sitting on
6

mountains of assets waiting to be digitized. In short, there is a great deal of
potential work lying around.
For vendors, knowing what the client
wants is key. But perhaps a better question would be: do the clients know what
they want? It seems like anything goes at
this moment; requirements can be anything from bespoke to templated, specialized to homogenized, simple to complex, text-based to design-intensive,
software-driven to service-oriented.
So there is a plethora of services and
products on offer from every vendor.
Being the indispensable extension/partner/arm of a publishing client is the ultimate goal. The whole point is to rethink

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

and re-engineer the process to bring
something fresh—and profitable—to
clients’ that will catch their need of the
moment. In addition to the concept of
cloud delivery, we now have “gamification,” content discoverability, flipping
the classroom, and, of course, big data.
(It is definitely not going to end there, so
let’s just go along with the flow.)
Last year’s big topics—EPub 3, CSS3,
HTML5, cloud, and apps—continue to
hog any content transformation dialogue, while vendor expertise in the different formats, layouts, and standards,
like iBooks Author, Inkling, Blio, KF8,
Mobi, DAISY, NIMAS, Common Core,
to name a few, is considered a given.
For publishers—small or sizable, independent or otherwise—the following 22
companies have the power to help transform your content to serve the new world
of e-books, apps, tablets, mobile devices,
and clouds. This review—purely unscientific in approach and not rubberstamped with our endorsement—is
totally discriminating, featuring only
those vendors with at least half of their
business derived from the publishing
industry.
There are even more companies that
PW missed due to clashing schedules or
because they did not appear on our radar.
For sure, India is full of new and innovative vendors waiting for a chance to prove
themselves. But whichever vendor(s) you
choose, you must do your due diligence
because only you know what works best
for you.

AEL Data Services
Lektz, an integrated e-book platform, is
the flagship product at 12-year-old AEL
Data Services. Its features include online
and mobile e-bookstores, DRM (digital
rights management), e-reader software,
consumer analytics, e-lending, e-book
conversion, and digital marketing. “We
offer full-featured e-book readers that
support both PDF and EPub formats as
well as certain EPub 3 standards, such as
embedded video, audio, and JavaScriptbased interactivity,” says Aditya Bikkani, assistant v-p for business development. “We can also develop or customize

Digital Solutions in India 2013

Aditya Bikkani, assistant v-p at AEL
Data Services

e-reader applications using our Lektz
reader framework for Android tablets,
Apple iOS, and personal computers. One
of the unique features of our e-reader
solution is support for e-book protection.
Our proprietary e-book DRM mechanism can be integrated with existing clients’ Web sites or portals to encrypt
e-books and sell or distribute them
through a secure platform.”
Lektz was recently launched as a
hosted SaaS product for small and
medium-sized publishers. “It offers both
free and paid models whereby publishers
can sign up to create their own branded
e-bookstores, upload PDF or EPub
e-books, encrypt them using Lektz
DRM, configure their own payment
gateway, and then start selling the secure
e-books,” adds Bikkani, pointing out
that end users who purchase these
e-books can download the Lektz e-reader
for free, sync with up to five devices
online for the downloads, and start reading online and offline.
Another capability that differentiates
AEL Data Services, with 600 employees,
from the others in this report is its support for the Arabic language. “We offer
full-fledged publishing solutions for
Arabic with an XML-first composition
workflow, e-book conversion, apps, and
e-book development for children’s books
as well as DAISY support,” Bikkani says.
“We even have a Lektz Arabic e-reader
for iOS and Android. To date, we have

converted several hundred thousand
Arabic titles into e-books, and we support nearly 10 large and medium-sized
Arabic publishers using Lektz. Additionally, we have delivered CMS [content management system] and LMS
[learning management system] solutions to these clients,” says Bikkani,
whose team has built a mobile e-bookstore app for a Turkish client. Another
XML-first composition workflow project saw the team processing more than
5,000 titles in various languages,
including Arabic and Southeast Asian
languages. “We have a team of five
native Arabic speakers based in Tunisia
and another in-house team of 15 Arabic
language experts at our Chennai headquarters,” says Bikkani, whose initial
Arabic team in 2010 consisted of only
three people. “For the first project, our
Arabic samples were compared to those
from native-speaking service providers
in Jordan and Lebanon, and our quality
of work and competitive pricing won the
client over.”

Europe. We are growing consistently in
these territories, and we believe that tremendous potential still exists there.”
Freiberg also expresses the same high
hopes for HTML5, as evidenced by the
array of HTML5 applications recently
developed by his team. “There is great
potential for HTML5 in the content
industry. This can encourage magazine
publishers and educational institutions
to digitize their publications in
HTML5—back issues or new ones—for
distribution within closed subscriber
networks. This benefit of platform independence has seen many adopting
HTML5, especially when the content can
be monetized directly through their own
portals.”
The next big thing at Amnet is offering technology, either in the form of tools
or products, or as part of its services. Freiberg notes that these developments don’t
come from separate R&D teams but from
those working directly with customers:
“This dovetails neatly into our strategy
for consciously pursuing a 3S model, i.e.,
services, solutions, and support.”
Amnet Systems
Animation and multimedia are
For a company known for client satisfacanother vertical focus at Amnet. “We
tion (ranked #7 in the 2010 Black Book
have completed pilot episodes of two
of Outsourcing and the only publishing
3-D animation series called Sirji and
services provider in the top 50), underBumblee, the Hero, both targeting sixstanding publishing clito-12-year-olds. We are
ents from different verticurrently discussing
cals and knowing their
with a few domestic
specific needs remain
[Indian] media compaAmnet Systems’ top prinies for a licensing deal
ority. Its Florida office,
to telecast these
for instance, is headed
edutainment series on
by sales director Mitchdomestic TV netell Freiberg, who has
works.” Freiberg adds
been in the publishing
that his team has the
industry for more than
skills to meet the pro30 years, both as a venduction requirements
dor to publishers and as
of other global media
a publisher himself: “I
groups to produce and
understand what clients Mitchell Freiberg, sales director at
develop their intellecAmnet Systems
need, and I’m helping to
tual property. “Amnet
pinpoint those needs and to identify percan offer animation production as a sersonnel or companies that would be great
vice or serve as a coproduction partner.
partners. We recognize the value of alliOur capabilities cover 3-D and 2-D aniance and the need to focus on the big
mation, e-learning animation, corporate
picture. So, for now, we continue to focus
learning modules, and course developon our primary markets in the U.S. and
ment.”
W W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M

7

Digital Solutions in India 2013
Cenveo Publisher
Services
Mobile dPub, Cenveo Publisher Services’
device-neutral browser-based e-book
reader is currently used by more than 60
publishers worldwide. Several enhancements have been added to this software,
including the integration of Pinterest
into the platform, says senior v-p for sales
Jeff Statler, adding, “A new analytics,
Metrics, has also been built from the
ground up to provide the most relevant
and detailed analysis possible for a publisher’s content.”
As for its e-book capabilities, the team
now offers a publish-and-distribute
model directly to major e-booksellers
without needing to go through a middleman or aggregator. New enhancements include media overlay that highlights text as it is spoken by the computer or as part of a soundtrack. “Such a
feature is beneficial for people with a

physical disability, or
generate finished typefor children who prefer
set pages in a matter of
listening rather than
minutes, review the
reading the book,” adds
quality of the pages,
Statler, pointing out
and finalize them to be
that another new feasent to the author.”
ture, Media Query,
Additionally, the comwhich is added in CSS3,
pleted Collaborative
allows content to be taiWeb Proofing system,
lored to a specific range
built with Adobe Liveof output devices withCycle ES, now provides
out having to change
authors and editors
the content itself.
with robust comment
Statler continues to
submission and convesee traditional content
nience. “It provides
Atul Goel, senior v-p for global operservices evolving to use ations and technology at Cenveo
flexibility for authors
cloud-based technolo- Publisher Services
to save changes and
gies: “We have invested
resume review at a later
significantly in tools and systems to protime, and scales easily for future cusvide two types of cloud-based solutions:
tomer-driven modifications. Phase 2 of
a rapid, templated, and highly autoCWP will enable the Adobe Shared
mated production model and a more cusReview feature.”
tomized production solution. These
Atul Goel, senior v-p for global operallow staff in the publisher’s office to
ations and technology, says, “Our team

Digital Solutions in India 2013
offers the fastest possible speed to publication while maintaining the highest
level of consistency and quality. By
leveraging our proven automated processes and technology, we provide our
publishing partners with a comprehensive service and technology platform.
We continue to see significant growth in
our full-service business as publishers
seek a single-source solution.” Currently, Cenveo operates through four
facilities in India—Mumbai, Chennai,
Bangalore, and Delhi—and four additional sites in the U.S. “Our goal has
always been to act as an extension of the
publisher, helping them to solve day-today issues, but also to collaborate with
each of them in getting their content to
market more quickly.”

codeMantra
The recent strategic alliance with ePubDirect, an international full-service
e-book distributor, has enabled codeM-

antra “to offer customers access to an
lectionPoint) 3.0—codeMantra’s tradeindirect reseller for their content—one
marked Web-based digital asset manthat can place their content with hunagement and distribution platform—in
dreds of smaller retailers worldwide,”
order to alert publishers to missing
says Walter Walker, codeMantra’s execessential metadata required by key
utive director of publishing services.
retailers and channel partners. Custom“The back-office
ized cP Title Manageaccounting systems of
ment modules have
ePubDirect can handle
been developed for the
tens of thousands of
University Press of
transactions a day and
Mississippi and IMF
provide codeMantra
Publications. As for
customers with comPubXML, codeManpetitive revenue shart r a ’s m u l t i p u r p o s e
ing along with some of
approach to XML, work
the most versatile and
is going on at the Unirobust retail reporting
versity of North Caroavailable.”
lina Press to develop an
Meanwhile, Walker
XML workflow that
and his team are busy
will culminate in autoadding automated fulmated composition.
fillment protocols and
“We are seeing more
dynamic metadata vali- Walter Walker, executive director of
customers incorporatdation tools to cP (col- publishing services at codeMantra
ing XML into their

From
Manuscript
to
Market
From
Manuscript
to
Market
Delivering all Formats, to all Channels, Worldwide
Delivering all Formats, to all Channels, Worldwide

Visit us at Stand W605 at the London Book Fair to learn more about collectionPoint 3.0 and our publishing solutions!
Visit us at Stand W605 at the London Book Fair to learn more about collectionPoint 3.0 and our publishing solutions!

cP
cP

Title
Title Management
Management
MANUSCRIPT TO MARKET
MANUSCRIPT TO MARKET

U.S. +1 610-940-1700;
U.S.261437;
+1 610-940-1700;
UK +44 (0)1865
Spain +34-607 261 801
UK
+44
(0)1865
261437;
Spain +34-607 261 801
www.codeMantra.com • cminfo@codeMantra.com
www.codeMantra.com • cminfo@codeMantra.com

Digital Solutions in India 2013
production processes. The notion of
XML-first has evolved into XML-wherever-practical.”
Walker says the company’s position as
a supplier of publishing solutions and
services “is best captured in its current
mantra of ‘from manuscript to market.’
With the addition of high-end composition, project management and editorial
services, we now see ourselves as a full
end-to-end player. We can deliver all
along the publishing value chain, managing workflows to produce both print
and digital outputs simultaneously and
finished goods to the market.” Capitalizing on the global e-book awakening
and increased traffic and opportunities
in Brazil and Mexico is on Walker’s
to-do list: “We see customers retaining
and even acquiring foreign rights and
funding translations for e-book editions.” Walker adds that 2013 will be a
year of expansion for codeMantra. “We
are moving deeper into new territories
such as Latin America and Europe,
acquiring customers and building our
distribution capabilities. We continue
to improve and further develop the
functionalities within cP 3.0, making it
a more robust and efficient platform
with which to manage an end-to-end
production workflow. We are also looking into acquiring or building and integrating more XML-scripted production
processes to improve efficiencies and
capacity.”

Contentra
Technologies
Known formerly as Planman Technologies, the new name, Contentra (and its
colorful logo), represents the company’s
focus on content transformation services
and expanding its service lines. “We have
been a trusted partner for the book publishing, library, and news industry, and
Contentra plans to take its content transformation expertise to newer markets
and industries,” says president Amit
Vohra, who is currently stationed in the
company’s new U.S. office in Cincinnati,
Ohio. “We view organizations in all
industries as content publishers that have

launched by IDPF, has helped
access to books in the fixed layout format on PCs and various
devices. Looking at all these
developments and the stance of
publishers around us, it is clear
that digital is the future. But
that does not mean print is
dying out. In fact, everywhere
that we look, publishers are
strategizing on digital products
along with print offerings.”
Working with Common Core
standards is another of Contentra’s new goals. “We have developed numerous language, arts,
and mathematics titles in Common Core, and written specific
material, including assessments,
that meets the standards. The
math standards are more challenging because of the way the
concepts are presented, and the
(L. to r.) Amit Vohra (president), Subhrajit Das Gupta
(v-p for publishing services) and Pawan Narang (senior
continuation of that presentav-p for key accounts) of Contentra Technologies
tion throughout the grades.”
This year’s goal, adds Vohra,
unique content life cycles and extraordi“is about creating awareness of our brand.
nary amounts of content to be created,
We remain the same dedicated people
repurposed, and distributed. Working
providing the same quality service, albeit
with these publishers has broadened the
with a new name.”
scope of our services, and, as such, the
new name reflects our new capabilities
Datamatics Global
and specialized offerings in transforming
Services
content.”
One of its new capabilities revolves
Few companies have successfully entered
around iBooks Author. “We have been
the legal publishing segment (and prosworking on iBA projects since last April,
pered), but Datamatics has done it using
four months after the application was
specialized teams to support processes
officially launched. Since then, our dedisuch as statutory and secondary law concated team has developed a number of
tent enhancements, summarization, and
iBA titles, which are also available on
content tagging. “A dedicated team of
iTunes. In general, when it comes to iBA
lawyers trained in different U.S. state
projects, publishers do expect a greater
jurisdictions is part of this workflow,”
scope of interactivity through widget
says Krishna Tewari, global head for digcreation and usage for features such as
ital publishing and media solutions.
photo galleries, multimedia, keynote,
“Having established European producreview, and animation. In recent months,
tion centers to support non-English law
we have witnessed a growing trend in
content services, we have now expanded
integrating HTML and 3-D widgets in
our legal services to European countries.”
iBA projects.”
One annual project sees Datamatics supFixed layout format, he adds, “has
porting statutory content enhancement
gained popularity due to the influx of
of more than 35,000 sections for a leading
high-definition tablets such as iPad with
legal content publisher. The workflow,
its retina display. Even Readium,
established about five years ago, has been

10 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

Digital Solutions in India 2013
instrumental in reducing time-to-market
and the client’s cost by more than 40%.
The legal analysis process for the project is especially tedious. For instance, it
requires the team to analyze the effect of
new legislative changes on existing statutes, research for cross-references and
other relevant connecting notes, and
checks whether any conditions specified
for a legal provision to be effective have
taken place. The team also checks the
annotations and makes alterations
accordingly to reflect legislative changes,
searches for uncodified information if
required, and drafts notes to ensure upto-date information. Maintenance work
on obsolete data and subsequent search
to place the annotations in a comparable
or re-enacted section is also carried out.
Currently, the print products from this
project are being developed alongside
e-books in an XML-first process.
The past few years have also seen
Tewari and his team working on selfpublishing engines. “Most of the selfpublished writers are first-time authors,
and they usually do not understand the
impact of text layout and other aesthetic
e-book elements. So our main task lies in
making sure that the content gets transformed into e-books that look professional and high quality.”
In the pipeline are new service lines,
additional products, and new auto-conversion engines to support publishers
and corporations. The CIGNEX-Datamatics division, for instance, is working
on products and services to handle big
data within the publishing segment. The
team is helping a leading educational
company in the U.S. to utilize the data
for millions of pages residing in their
archive. “We are also collaborating with
some leading publishers on new workflow management systems for their internal use. A new launch will be a whitelabel reader for the Android platform
that will utilize the complete set of EPub
3 features. We will be at major international fairs with dedicated offerings for
specific market segments.”

diacriTech
Several innovative products have given

devices that do not support MathML.
Then there is the highperformance, portable,
and dynamic viewing program developed by the
team to enable users to
read e-books online and
offline on desktop computers, Android, and iPad,
says Mahesh. “The user
B. Mahesh and A.R.M. Gopinath of diacriTech at the Cape
can open, view, and manTown Book Fair
age all e-books in a format
diacriTech a big boost in the competitive
similar to PDF with a user-friendly
industry. InXML, its patent-pending
graphical interface. Dynamic reading,
true XML-first software for InDesign, for
annotation features, and excellent portainstance, enables full round tripping of
bility enable readers to take their e-readmath. “It is DTD-agnostic so that valiing library anywhere. It offers a secure
dated XML based on client’s DTD or
multimedia experience.”
schema is integrated into the InDesign
The array of new products is the result
application prior to pagination. Styles
of a shifting industry in which publishers
are then automatically applied using
are seeking new ways to develop content
client-approved template or design,”
and to create intriguing designs and
says executive v-p A.R.M. Gopinath,
interactivities, adds Gopinath. “Univeradding that math equations in MathML
sal EPub and interactive learning methare also converted on the fly using such
ods in HTML5 are hot topics. So compaclient-preferred plug-ins as PowerMath,
nies that can package both in a way that
InMath/mtEditor, MathMagic, or Mathseamlessly delivers the products on mulType. “InXML automatically takes care
tiple platforms and enables control so
of nested styles, multiple master pages,
that the intellectual property is not lost
character styles, image placement, and
will win the day.”
other design elements. It is a unified
digital workflow that provides multiple
DiTech Process
outputs such as print PDF, EPub, XML,
Solutions
Word, NIMAS, HTML5, and iBooks
Author–compliant files.” Currently,
Radical aptly describes CEO Nizam
100% of diacriTech’s InDesign projects
Ahmed’s decision to launch STUDYeare done using InXML.
BUDDY in February. “I see it as a natural
Another exciting product is Universal
evolution of the digital services that
EPub, which creates a single EPub file
DiTech Process Solutions has been prothat can be used on most EPub-based
viding. This platform certainly differs
e-readers. “This helps our clients both in
from others in the market, especially its
keeping things simple by creating and
delivery model, which has built-in B2B
maintaining one EPub file, and in cost
capabilities that offer both subscription
savings since the e-book needs to be creand retail options. Our primary market
ated only once,” adds executive v-p B.
is educational institutions that offer cusMahesh, whose team is using Universal
tomized e-content packages by subscripEPub to publish a lot of scientific contion. Customers can also purchase the
tent for an American university press.
e-books on a perpetual access basis.” The
This workflow has solved a lot of the cliplatform includes specially designed
ent’s math rendering problems, enabling
apps for content downloading, robust
delivery of math content in two formats:
search features, secure access, and a DRM
as MathML on devices that support the
system. And Ahmed has put in a sales
standard, like iPad, or as images for
force of 117 to promote it.

12 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

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international publishers. Adds Ahmed,
“STUDYeBUDDY is a direct result of
our constant search for innovative solutions and continuing R&D in publishing
services. Our goal is to support publishers and help them understand and overcome technical barriers while tapping
into new market opportunities and novel
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Editorial Services
(US/India)
Content Development
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Animation and Multimedia
Services

United States (Urbana, Illinois)
217.954.0130
International (Chennai, India)
+91.44.2435.8435
info@amnet-systems.com
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Nizam Ahmed, CEO of DiTech Process
Solutions

The February launch, attended by 40
publishers including SAGE, Cambridge
University Press, Tata McGraw-Hill in
India, and Wiley India, has since garnered a lot of interest from academic
publishers looking into distributing
their content in India. Ahmed, currently
in various stages of contractual discussions with these publishers, plans to furnish the full list of partners on the
STUDYeBUDDY Web site by June.
“There are currently 100 million
active Internet users in India, and this
number is expected to go up to 237 million by 2015. So the potential market is
huge. At the same time, we have ensured
that our e-books are accessible both
online, through any browser-enabled
device, and offline, through iOS and
Android apps. We have clearly defined
target consumer segments, and we are
only talking to schools and institutes
whose campus ecosystems meet our criteria. As for participating publishers,
e-book access is not a problem. Their
concerns mostly revolve around piracy,
security, and revenue sharing, issues that
we have addressed fully in our discussion
with each potential partner.”
For institutions and libraries, the subscription module offers very attractive
pricing terms coupled with easy access to
wide-ranging content from local and

Creating new revenues from existing
content is becoming a big challenge, says
CEO Ramana Abbaraju. “Publishers are
increasingly under pressure to create new
products and consumer experience,
develop new packaging for digital content and find new revenue streams. Some
publishers have done pretty well in
accomplishing these goals, while others
are still trying to find their feet in the
new digital world. As for technology, the
adoption seems faster with smaller publishers, as they have a lot more flexibility
in experimenting with new ways of
doing things. And this is where
eBooks2go and Gantec come into the
picture.”
Twenty-two months after its inception, Gantec’s new division, eBooks2go,
has firmly established itself as a portal for
the self-publishing community with
more than 600 new authors in all genres
added to its list last year. “Helping
authors with e-book conversion is
eBooks2go’s main function, but it also
provides a host of other services centered
around empowering budding authors
with all the tools they need to realize
their goals. Interestingly, it has also
become an e-book conversion house for
publishers of all sizes. We have more
than 100 publishers using eBooks2go
now, and their products range from simple e-books to highly complex fixedlayout formats with audio/video, interactivity, animation, and other enhanced
features. And we serve not just the usual
trade and fiction publishers. We have
legal, medical, cookbook, magazine, and
journal publishers working with us,”
adds Abbaraju, acknowledging that the

Digital Solutions in India 2013

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DIGITAL
PUBLISHING
SOLUTIONS
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ENHANCE
INNOVATE
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Best known for innovative instructional
approaches and technology-based content development for self-learners, HKP
is the only educational company in the

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Harbinger Knowledge
Products

world with patents on technologies
related to rapid and social interactivities.
“We develop instructionally sound single-user interactions in learning experiences. We also enable the content to
become socially connected. These patents not only demonstrate HKP’s
thought leadership in learning interaction but also our vision of effective and
cost-efficient learning,” says executive
director Jayant Kulkarni, whose team
develops content for all types of digital
learning, and for the classroom, physical
and virtual. “Interactive and collaborative learning content is our focus, and the
innovative approach and rapid production taken to achieve this focus is what
differentiates us from the other suppliers
out there.”
Responsive design and interactive
e-books are going to be the next big
things in the industry, adds Kulkarni,
pointing out that HPK, having already
ventured into these emerging areas, is
observing great demand. Another direction his team is looking in is cloud-based
content development and distribution
platforms. “This will change the whole
game for learners as well as for publishers
in terms of easy access, large content storage, portability, and trackability across
multiple devices and platforms. It will be
the ultimate state of learning anywhere
anytime.”

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growth rate of over 100% is mainly due
to eBooks2go’s new presence.
As for parent company Gantec Publishing Solutions, last year capped a
period of new markets and products.
“We are making inroads into the Asia
Pacific market with a recent content
development project from a major Thai
publisher for math and science products
for grades one to six. We are also developing new products for publishers and
magazine companies for content distribution through mobile devices. Our
PDF-based catalogue reader app for the
iPhone and iPad, for instance, has
attracted a lot of attention with such features as two-page viewing, pop-ups,
internal/external links and shopping cart
integration,” adds Abbaraju, whose team
has also built a cloud-based e-reader
bookstore and an accompanying app. It
has been implemented for several new
publishers, including a few in Singapore.
“We are expanding our activities in
Malaysia by setting up our eBooks2go
operation there.”

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Our Offerings
eBooks
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Digital Solutions in India 2013
For Kulkarni, 2013 is looking great.
“Our R&D and investments in HTML5
and solutions such as HTML5/XML
framework, Flash-to-HTML5 auto-conversion, HTML5 and EPub-based interactive e-books, native/HTML hybrid
apps, responsive design and cloud-based
delivery workflow have already seen
great demand. We are poised to deepen
our relationships with Fortune 500 and
Global 1000 customers in interactive
digital content development in the publishing and corporate sectors.”
Such innovative and forward thinking
approaches have netted HKP numerous
accolades. It was awarded gold in the
games and simulation category at the
2008 Chief Learning Officer’s Award, a
finalist in the 2009 and 2011 E-Learning
Award (U.K.), won the platinum and
gold awards in the 2009 and 2010
LearnX (Australia) respectively, and was
recognized by Red Herring as one of the
top 100 most innovative companies in
the world in 2009.
The 14-year-old HKP is a part of the
Pune-based Harbinger Group, a global
provider of software products and services, established in 1990. It has more
than 500 professionals worldwide and
derives 60% of its business from the U.S.
with another 30% coming from the
U.K./Europe.

Hurix
Hurix’s decade-old experience in the
e-learning and e-book segments is captured in two major platforms: Kitaboo,
for legacy content conversion into
e-books, and Dictera, for creating digital-first content such as interactive material, learning objects, and customized
courses. Both products, says CEO Subrat
Mohanty, seek to solve two core interrelated problems in content creation. “On
the one hand, educational publishers
need to create cutting-edge digital products and content that provide a compelling and engaging user experience to
students who are digital natives with
high expectations. On the other hand,
these digital products are not bringing
in revenue, so balancing cost and ROI
[return on investment] is an uphill bat-

Subrat Mohanty, CEO of Hurix

tle. Both Kitaboo and Dictera seek to
solve these issues by providing very
high-end products or outputs at affordable price models that strive to keep cost
and investment low through process efficiencies.”
For their client Grupo Anaya, a part of
Hachette Livre, for instance, Kitaboo
allows the publisher’s entire e-book strategy to be streamlined across 16-plus
publishing units located in different territories. “Kitaboo is integrated into
[Hachette Livre’s] ERP system to provide centralized reporting and ondemand production. We also provide a
secure USB e-book distribution solution
using time-limited licenses,” adds
Mohanty, whose team recently converted
more than 35,000 pages for Oslo-based
Gyldendal through Kitaboo’s cloudbased solutions. Currently, Hurix supports nearly 20 languages, with Arabic
joining the list in the coming weeks.
Dictera, on the other hand, was
relaunched in January as a content development and management platform.
“Managing the content development
process and projects is just as challenging as creating compelling and interactive HTML5 content. With multiple,
geographically dispersed stakeholders,
project managers are like traffic supercops. Getting feedback on interim deliverables is time-consuming and usually
inefficient. Since most projects hit a
bottleneck at the management end, we
decided to include the content develop-

16 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

ment process in Dictera as well.” Now
publishers using Dictera can tailor their
production workflow to mirror their
internal production process. Further, a
highly intuitive WYSIWYG tracking
tool allows editors to easily log and track
projects while additional project management reports and dashboards ensure
that projects are on track. Alerts are provided for those requiring further attention.
Interestingly, while Hurix started as a
game-based learning company, this segment now contributes barely 5% to its
business. “The emergence of the digital
classroom, digital devices, and cloudbased solutions is a major factor causing
the shift [away from game-based learning]. An increased need for coordination
and communication across regions for
some multinational companies requiring
a 24/7 project management support system is another factor.”

Integra Software
Services
Digital services and e-learning are moving to the forefront at Integra, based in
Pondicherry. A comprehensive range of
digital solutions for the k–12, highered, STM, and vocational segments as
well as for corporations is available.
“HTML5 and apps development, IWB
[interactive whiteboard], 2-D/3-D animation, audio-video production and
postproduction, LMS, simulations and
game-based learning, and assessment
solutions are right up the digital alley

Sriram Subramanya, managing director and
CEO of Integra Software Services

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LearningMate

Digital Solutions in India 2013

The Fast-Expanding
E-learning Segment

standards. Aside from helping
the publishers to build their
editorial content, we are also
Adaptive learning, personalized instruction,
working on assessment workflow
game-based learning, and collaborative/
tools and authoring tools to
social learning models are shaping the curmeet the challenges of these
rent e-learning market. So is EPub 3,
standards and to help them scale
which is transforming e-books into interacup.”
tive learning experiences, says CEO SamuWith mobile devices entering
dra Sen of Mumbai-based LearningMate.
the classroom at a rapid pace,
“To support the changing nature of educa- Samudra Sen, CEO of LearningMate the way content is designed,
tion, technology platforms designed for the managedelivered, and used is changing fast. “We are working
ment of big data, analytics, decision support systems,
on several initiatives with our clients to find the best
and reporting have been turning to the cloud. Meanfit. Our mobile platform GoClass is an example of the
while, the adoption of mobile devices, platforms, and
cutting-edge work we have done to address this shift.”
applications will continue to pick up momentum.”
GoClass, which won the Platinum R&D Award at the
The popularity of mobile devices in e-learning is
IMS GLC conference in Toronto last April, has been
obvious, as seen in one recent LearningMate project in
chosen by MERLOT for peer review. “This product has
which the human anatomy is replicated in HTML5. “It grown and matured, and more than 2,500 teachers in
took deft engineering to split 3-D models into thousands 77 countries have participated in our public beta
of frames and stitch them back seamlessly to create
phase. A key pilot study underway in Tennessee has
interactive animation that students can view, rotate,
helped us to ensure that GoClass 2.0, which is set for
and interact with. And we did this at an amazingly low launch later this year, addresses both technical and
cost that makes it possible to create many such 3-D
pedagogical challenges in adopting effective and
transformations in HTML5 for other projects,” adds Sen, engaging technology in classrooms.”
whose team also worked on a professional teacherLearningXChange, meanwhile, continues to be the
training platform (based on social learning constructs), platform of choice for many small and medium-sized
e-book engines, and a cloud-based data processing por- companies wanting to go digital with a cloud-based
tal for a U.S. state department of education.
learning platform that incorporates abundant social
For now, LearningMate’s key focus areas remain the
and collaborative learning features. It currently has
higher-ed and k–12 publishing segments, educational
nearly 100,000 users and continues to grow rapidly.
institutions (mainly career colleges), and government
Success with the above products and services has
education departments. “Take the career-college market: allowed LearningMate to beat the economic downturn
it has been hit by falling enrollments, intense governby growing more than 60% last year. “We have more
ment scrutiny due to rising student loans, and low stu- than doubled the size of our operation over the past
dent retention rates—all of which add to balance sheet two years, and the rush to go digital coupled with the
woes. So we are helping them in three areas: enriching
need to be more cost-effective has been great news for
the learning experience, building more efficient and
us,” adds Sen, emphasizing, “LearningMate is an educost-effective workflows, and using analytics to help
cation company that understands technology, and not
improve student retention rates.”
a technology company trying to understand educaAs for first- and second-tier publishers, Sen and his
tion.” A new office in Kolkata was established in Janteam are helping them to align existing content to
uary 2012, and the company is expected to have
Common Core, Smarter Balanced, and PARCC guide- around 500 people this year—and 800 in 2014 if the
lines. “Domain expertise is the biggest challenge here, same growth is sustained. Another 40 work in the
and we are fortunate in that we have hired many indus- U.S. to take care of project management and sales. 
try experts who have firsthand experience with these 

—T.T.

18 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

Digital Solutions in India 2013
for us,” says managing director and
CEO Sriram Subramanya. “New features in CSS3 and HTML5 semantics
have enabled us to develop rich features
for interactive Web applications, games,
assessments, and e-learning courseware
in addition to converting content from
Flash to HTML5.”
His team, for instance, has created
175-plus e-learning modules that enrich
tutoring programs for the k–12 segment.
Recent months have also seen the team
creating more than 50 modules of IWB
science and mathematics courses for
American schoolchildren, and 1,200plus learning objects/animations as well
as 3-D photo-realistic modeling and rendering for virtual learning. As for audiovideo production and postproduction,
the team has delivered more than 450
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while implementation is carried out here
in Pondicherry, supported by a 75-strong
production team. The focus is on creating cost-effective digital content that
suits clients’ requirements, and that any
digital content created is compliant with
global industry standards such as
SCORM, TINCAN, and AICC.”
“As a solutions provider, we must move
up the value chain by acquiring new services and building critical skills to handle
the new services—and we started doing
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are taking the cues from clients to move
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1 in their
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11:59 PM
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In addition to digital and e-learning

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services, Integra has been busy setting up
centers specializing in text/photo permissions and photo research services. The
team’s multilingual capabilities have
been rapidly expanding in content production as well. “Among the 2.1-million
pages of EPub conversion that we handled between 2011 and 2012, more than
30% were in European languages. We
also composed and typeset nearly
200,000 pages in these languages during
the same period.”

Lapiz Online
With digital and print workflows merging, it is important for a digital vendor
“to be competent not just in the print
workflow but also in fulfilling any digital requirements that customers may
want in order to stay in the business,”
says CEO Indira Rajan, adding that in
educational publishing at least, digitalfirst is not far away. The industry is
becoming more IT than IT-enabled, she

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Digital Solutions in India 2013
adds, “and soon content will be in an
agnostic format that can be accessed on
any type of technology or device. Publishers are looking for a simple way to
have a neutral yet highly flexible format
for multiple devices. The most important criterion for the solution would be
the ability to produce highly structured
content with all the critical features such
as media enhancements, dynamic and
flexible layouts, and accessibility. Digital
solutions providers like us will then be
called on to add embedded assessments,
interactivity, video, simulations, games,
and so on to the content to personalize it
further for the student.”
Apps innovation in the past two years,
Rajan says, has had a dramatic impact on
content distribution. “Second-generation apps are going to be more personalized and contextual. For Lapiz, the goal
is to develop cross-platform apps suited
to any device and tablet.” Big data, she
adds, has not yet matured. “But growing

demand for big data or business analytics, according to recent reports, will
increase the demand for technical skills
in NoSQL, JavaScript, CSS, and related
technology. Getting the right people
with the right skill set is going to be a
challenge, as always.”
Meanwhile, e-book conversion has
become a complex task of using one single solution to make multiple deliveries
on different devices. Says COO V.
Bharathram, “There will be ever-increasing demand for e-books. As shown in
Aptara’s recent annual e-book survey,
65% of the publishers out there have
converted less than half of their backlists
into e-books. So there is still a huge number of backlists out there, lying around
in PDF or hard copy.”
Bharathram adds, “The next market
focus for e-book publishers and digital
solutions companies will be Japan,
China, Russia, and India. These are territories where e-books have not made

Solutions
Beyond

major inroads. In Japan, for instance,
manga dominates the e-book market,
and eventually we hope to have the
opportunity to do conversion for segments other than manga.”

MPS Limited
The only major publishing-services
player listed on India’s stock exchanges,
MPS Limited has seen a dramatic increase
in its market capitalization over the past
year due to a surge in revenue and profits.
“We acquired a great company with a rich
legacy from Macmillan and have successfully turned it around. We have also built
a strong suite of products and services
with organic growth well underway,” says
CEO Nishith Arora, who is evaluating
acquisition opportunities to develop an
even stronger presence in the publishing
services domain. MPS currently employs
2,600 people and has a large production
footprint in Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon, Delhi, and Dehradun in India, with

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Digital Solutions in India 2013

Nishith Arora, chairman of MPS Limited

an office in Portland, Ore., in the U.S.
With more than 42 years of dominant
presence in the industry, MPS has evolved
to offer every stage in the author-toreader publishing process. Platform solutions are Arora’s current focus. “In addition to our book distribution platform,
ContentStore, we have launched ScholarStor for journals and reference content,
which has a manuscript submission and
peer review system. Most significantly,
we have upgraded our MPSTrak routing
and tracking system from one for journals only to an integrated system for
journals, books, and major reference
works.”
MPS’s DigiCore platform, in particular the online editing component
DigiEdit, has also undergone considerable upgrading. “This system allows
authors to make changes online to content while protecting the underlying
XML layer. The same content can then
be auto-paged by the DigiComp component, boosted with rich media features
in DigiEnrich, converted to various
mobile formats with DigiCon, and distributed via ScholarStor. The entire
workflow is managed intelligently via
MPSTrak,” explains Arora. Another
platform, MediaSuite, now supports
HTML in addition to Flash, and delivers
a variety of mobile formats. Content
can be developed on this platform and
pivoted to classrooms and all types of
whiteboards.
“We are making rapid inroads into the

higher education space with our integrated print and digital asset production
model, leveraging our established relationships with publishers and our vast
portfolio of book production services.
We continue to thrive and grow in the
STM market as well as in our strong
legacy journal production business,” says
Arora, adding that the surge in content
production resulting from open access
has certainly benefited his company. Millions of pages are converted at MPS every
year to a variety of formats as publishers
seek different ways to present their content. “Our robust delivery model built
on an automated workflow and strong
quality control system has proven successful in attracting a large inflow of
business from existing clients and new
partners.”

Newgen Knowledge
Works
2012 was another year of extension and
experimentation for Newgen. “All of our
clients produced more books and articles
than in previous years, but ‘extension’ in
this context was not simply of output
but of output formats and outsourced
services,” says president Maran Elancheran. “During the year, we increased the
amount of development editing and
content creation upstream of the traditional outsourced workflow, and the
number of clients for whom we handle
the downstream process of print management.”
In addition to its existing portfolio of
development work in professional and
academic law and medicine publishing,
Newgen has recently added educational
work, with the acquisition of Connecticut-based NETS, a leading full-service
provider of k–12 materials for teachers
and students. “NETS offers editorial, art
and design, composition and prepress,
and interactive media services—the latter an excellent fit for Newgen’s Cloud
Matters division in Chennai, which
spent 2012 building cloud-based solutions and mobile applications for publishers.”
The extension of mobile require-

22 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

ments, on the other hand, drove two
large projects for Newgen in 2012. “For
one journal client, we took 20 journals
onto the iPad via Adobe Publishing
Suite, reformatting the print product for
optimum display on a tablet. This trial
proved so successful with subscribers
that the next lot of 100 journals is being
lined up for mobilization. For another
publisher, we digitized the bulk of the
frontlist for mobile distribution in a custom application. This digitization project made use of our proprietary conversion software, Silk, which was relaunched
in a new version, Silk Evolve, at Frankfurt 2012,” adds Elancheran. Silk Evolve
extends the original software from English to European languages and from
EPub 2.0 to EPub 3.0 output, taking
full advantage of the revised specification’s support for audio-video, SVG,
MathML, multiple navigation tables,
and many of the new CSS3 and HTML5
properties.
Backlist conversion of books was big
at Newgen last year, from bulk conversion to customized enhancement and
app creation for individual titles. Fixed
layout e-books were high on many publishers’ wish lists, as were titles created
using iBooks Author, according to
Elancheran. “There is a risk that the proliferation of formats and the lack of a
common standard could lead to fragmented workflows that only Heath Robinson [a Rube Goldberg–like British
cartoonist] could have imagined, but
one strong theme emerging in 2013 is
that now is the time to re-examine production models and the centrality of
XML to the production process—a
theme to which Newgen will return in
its panel at the SSP Annual Meeting in
San Francisco in June.”

Ninestars
Founded in 1999, Ninestars made its
name globally in newspaper digitization
services. To date, it has digitized nearly
2,500 newspapers—both archival and
current content—as well as books in
multiple languages, including Chinese,
Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Japanese,
Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.

UNIQUE | DISTINCT

www.thomsondigital.com

Digital Solutions in India 2013

Michelle Harold, v-p for global sales at
Ninestars

Converzia, Ninestars’ Web-based conversion platform, can be used for any
format to generate XML, EPub, Mobi,
and HTML5. “Clients can place their
orders, review the finished work, and
finalize it for delivery through the plat-

form, which is entirely online,” says
Michelle Harold, v-p for global sales,
pointing out that Converzia can also be
integrated with a publishing client’s inhouse workflow. “Publishers also get
value-added services such as storage and
content distribution to partners through
a secure Web interface. We can also
rebrand Converzia according to customer specifications, and enable e-commerce to sell the converted content.”
Even back in 2002, when many content services vendors were just starting
to test-run their conversion processes
or thinking of doing large-scale digitization, Ninestars had already digitized
6,000 books for a major STM publisher. “At that time, our biggest challenges were in scaling up production,
managing non-English content—the
titles were in German and French—and
producing multiple output formats. In
the process, we implemented a proprietary tool, SKOBEE, to achieve 99.95%

accuracy.”
A relatively new service from Ninestars is mobile apps development, which
is handled by a 20-member team. “We
recently launched the iOS app for the
Hindu, a leading English-language newspaper in India, and it has received great
reviews. We are also working extensively
with children’s book publishers to transform selective print content into engaging digital experiences. For a few other
customers, our team has built custom
cross-platform e-stores for tablet or
mobile commerce.”
Ninestars’ recent acquisition of Newbase, a media monitoring products company based in Hamburg, Germany,
means a broader range of solutions and
market expansion in Europe are expected
in the coming months. At the same
time, the company is using the expertise
of two other sister companies—2AdPro
for creative outsourcing services, and
Jump Global Digital Solutions for cre-

E

Corporate office:

Sales & Production office

Global Delivery Center:

info

eBooks2go is an imprint of Gantec Publishing Solutions

24 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

Digital Solutions in India 2013
ative technology platforms—to move
into different verticals and niche segments such as retail and banking.

Qbend
Three-year-old U.S.-based Qbend (and
its parent company, Chennai-based
S4Carlisle Publishing Services) is helping publishers to build their own brand
presence through its white-label
e-bookstore platform. “We provide
publishing clients with an incredible
number of sales models—purchase,
rental, subscription, and customization,
for instance—as well as customer support services, analytics, and guidance
for streamlining areas such as marketing processes. We fulfill the need that
has always existed in the publishing
industry, which is to have content that
is responsive to consumer needs,” says
CEO Kris Srinaath. “We help publishers
understand what the needs are and then
use our e-bookstore platform’s various

sales models as well as our patent-pending publishing engine S.N.A.P. [Search,
Navigate, Assemble, Publish] to deliver
the content in the right manner.”
Wolters Kluwer Law and Business,
Blue Bottle Books, LID Editorial, Caffeine Nights Publishing, Quest Books,
and PPI are just a sampling of Qbend’s
clientele. Wolters Kluwer, adds Srinaath, has been using S.N.A.P. for nearly
three years to serve the legal education
market. Elsevier in Germany also used
the service to produce enhanced e-books.
Producing custom products is another
Qbend specialty, and this service has
been integrated into its e-bookstore. “It
enables publishers to open up their
repository and allow consumers to pick
and choose content that they need and
then compile it into a unique publication. They can search different titles, find
relevant chapters, sections, or even individual elements such as illustrations,
tables, charts, and so on, and combine

them into a book,” says COO Kaushik
Sampath, adding that the publisher can
control the level of granularity offered for
each title. “Once the relevant content is
selected, our price computation algorithms kick in. The customer is then
prompted for payment through PayPal
or other payment gateways. Upon successful transaction, the digital version is
delivered and separate royalty reports are
generated simultaneously that indicate
how much of the content has been used
from various titles in the custom product. This is useful for determining royalties for each copyright owner.”
While expansion of its publishing services remains high on the agenda, work
continues to add new features to Qbend’s
e-bookstore platform and S.N.A.P. capabilities to help clients maximize returns
from their content. The team is already
looking into the media segment covering
2-D and 3-D animation, video and audio
content, and e-learning apps. “We are

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25

KiwiTech

Digital Solutions in India 2013

The agile mobile apps
segment

apps more secure.” KiwiTech has partnered with IBM
in the rollout of AppScan software, which reduces the
risk of security vulnerabilities in Apple iOS enterprise
Last year, 20 billion apps were downloaded from
apps. The mobile industry, according to Batra, is
Apple’s App Store, or approximately one app download
witnessing the development and deployment of such
per 1.5 seconds. Today, one out of every seven people on specialized apps to address critical “pain” points to
this planet owns a smartphone—a total of one billion
ensure the enhanced success of mobility.
smartphones in use globally—while the number of apps
“Companies such as Salesforce.com have invested concreated has grown from 14,479 in 2008 to 339,164 in
siderably in HTML5 to build mobile front ends to their
2012. On the other hand, Americans spent 127 minutes core CRM [customer relationship management] software
using mobile apps vs. 168 minutes watching television
to ensure widespread and flexible global deployment of
every day, marking an increase of 33 minutes for mobile their tools,” says Batra. “SAP and Oracle are also
apps consumption from the previous year while
increasing their investments in building mobile apps to
television consumption held steady.
become the front ends of their application software.”
The above figures are music to the ears of U.S.-based
In recent months, Batra’s team has created KiwiSales,
KiwiTech team, which has expanded their business
a sales CRM app that is built on the iOS platform, sits
beyond the publishing
on top of Salesforce.com’s
segment. For cofounder
main engine, and is accessiand CTO Gurvinder
ble through an iPad.
Batra, more changes are
According to Batra, “Kiwito be expected from the
Sales enables a sales rep to
mobile apps space,
work remotely as well as
pointing out that “there
offline without having to
has been a substantial
sync with the enterprise
increase in budgetary
software to access informaallocation towards the
tion or to share product
(l. to r.) KiwiTech cofounders Gurvinder Batra, Rakesh Gupta,
deployment of mobile
information
with customers.
Anita Gupta, and Neal Gupta
hardware and software in
It is particularly suited to the
various industries. Pharmaceutical and clinical research
publishing industry, where hundreds of products are
segments, for instance, have been investing in mobile
often presented to retail buyers and where orders are
technology to reach remote customers as well as to collect often taken by sales reps in the field. The offline capadata from remote locations around the world. Their apps bility enables the rep to work in university campuses,
adapt the mobile technology to local conditions where
where Wi-Fi might not be available, enabling them to
traditional devices such as laptops are not robust enough enter order details in front of the customer and share
for travel.”
past order status.”
The public sector, specifically U.S. state and city
The team also created the Spacewalker iPad app to
governments, is also seeing value in mobile technology provide a unique UI/UX—user interface and user
for data collection across various departments. “There
experience—to attract student in grades 4 to 7 to
have been cases where city governments’ IT departments science. “We worked directly with Charles Watkinson,
have adapted the iPod Touches for inventory management director at Purdue University Press, and Dr. Jerry Ross
by building apps that enable them to collect information [the astronaut, with a record seven missions to his credit]
on hardware embedded in barcodes,” says Batra.
on this app, which has the latter’s complete biography, a
These expansions present specific challenges as well
timeline section, a quiz and some unique videos that have
as new opportunities. “BYOD [bring your own devices] never been seen outside of NASA,” explains Batra, whose
policy and security are the main issues in such a dynamic team also worked on Loopster, an app that allows the user
environment. Naturally, companies such as IBM and
to combine video, audio, images, text, and transitions to
Symantec are investing in building products that make create a unique experience on the iPad.
—T.T.

26 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

Digital Solutions in India 2013
also working on establishing a presence
in New York City to cater to publishers
on the East Coast,” says Srinaath.

SPi Global
Last February, PLDT (Philippine Long
Distance Telephone Company) sold its
business process outsourcing business,
which includes SPi Global, to Asia Outsourcing Gamma Ltd., a CVC Capital
Partners company. The transaction, due
for completion this month, will see
PLDT become a CVC partner with a
20% stake. In November 2012, SPi subsidiary Laserwords acquired Chicagobased Tighe Publishing Services, a fullservice k–12 educational development
house. Thus begins the next phase of
growth for SPi.
The acquisition, says president and
CEO Maulik Parekh, allows Laserwords
to take advantage of the burgeoning
opportunities in the U.S. educational
publishing business. “In strengthening
SPi’s content business with the addition
of a top-rated content development
house, we can now focus on further building our digital service lines. This merger
reinforces our leadership position in the
global content solutions market.”
John Wheeler, senior v-p for strategy
and emerging technologies, highlights
that SPi Global’s style is to partner with
customers. “We take this quite seriously
and always look to add value to the projects we undertake. We don’t just talk
about innovation when it comes to our
services—we practice it.” Not surprisingly, its 200-strong Innovation Lab has
been working in several areas, including
Flash-to-HTML5 conversion and repurposing of digital content, workflow and
authoring systems for digital-first production processes, and content enrichment and enhancement using automated
processes and human intelligence.
One important growth area that
Wheeler has observed recently is the use
of technologies required to compose,
edit, assemble, store, and distribute content digitally. “We have had to become
proficient in the tools, technologies, and
repositories required to create and manage digital content. These do not involve

John Wheeler, senior v-p for strategy and
emerging technologies at SPi Global

traditional publishing software such as
Flash, Quark, and InDesign, but technologies such as Documentum, Oracle,
MarkLogic, Alfresco, Drupal, and Informatica that used to be confined to the IT
domain.”
The next wave of outsourcing has
already started, adds Wheeler. “Publishers are re-evaluating what exactly is their
place in the content world and what
should be retained as a core competency
within their organization.” He also sees
“the traditional book or even journal
model going out of style, being replaced
with a ‘content first, delivery second’
methodology at most publishing houses.
This means a different way of looking at
content: how it is developed and manufactured so that how it is finally consumed is flexible enough for today’s rapidly changing markets. This is especially
true in the education market.”

Swift Prosys
Growing from 36 clients to 56 within a
year is a huge step forward for a small
operation with barely 200 people. So is
the acquisition of a small Chennai company with 15-plus experts in prepress
and typesetting services in November.
But Swift Prosys did it. Last year, the
director for technical and business development, Mohan Thas Shanmugam, also
established a new office in Toronto, Canada, to service around a dozen accounts,
and kick-started marketing campaigns at
the Toronto and Montreal book festivals.
The next logical step, he adds, would be

Digital Solutions in India 2013
to set up a sales and marketing
In recent months, major
presence in the U.S.
projects, especially those
“We also established a partrequiring conversion, have
nership with a software comlanded in Shanmugam’s tray.
pany to develop web applicaOne is a five-year contract
tions last year,” says Shanmuawarded by an international
gam, “when one client wanted
institute to convert backlist
to create an e-bookstore for
and new titles into Web-ready
Scandinavian publishers. We
PDF, print-ready PDF, and
have now developed analytics
EPub format. “The agreement
and detailed reports for the cliis for us to deliver 3,200 titles
ent for various e-bookstores.
in both Web- and print-ready
This ongoing project will ultiPDF, and another 500 in EPub
Mohan Thas Shanmugam, director for technical and business developmately provide an end-to-end ment at Swift Prosys
by the end of this year.” (For
solution for my client and his
now, the team has the capacity
clients.”
user-friendly on smartphones and tabto deliver between 60 and 100 e-books
Building new skills to provide
lets. And with more tablets of varying
per week.) “We are also seeing an
upstream services such as design for
sizes and models coming into the market
increased demand for projects involving
iBooks Author and managing distribuat frenetic pace, e-book quality, features,
scanning and digitizing backlist papertion for e-bookstores have become a focal
and formats have also evolved accordbacks into e-books.”
point for Shanmugam. “The content
ingly. As a digital solutions company, we
Work continues on digitizing 18thdigitization space has changed a lot in
cannot afford to stand still. We must
century handwritten burial and cremarecent years and everyone now expects
move with the times and add new sertion registers as well as old German
their content to display nicely and be
vices and capabilities as we go along.”
books with Gothic fonts (see “Content
Services in India 2012,” PW, Apr. 20,
2012). “Our team has delivered three
million British burial and cremation
Digital Content: Anytime, Anywhere
records. Another million are in the process, and we expect to receive another five
million in the coming years. For the German project, we have already turned
1,800 titles into print-ready PDFs optimized for print on-demand.”

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28 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

www.hurix.com/LBF2013

This is the year of evolution at Thomson
Digital, says executive director Vinay
Singh. “We recognize the power of content and its usage, and most importantly,
the limited support that has been given
to non-English publications. Our success
in Mauritius, where the facility is completely dedicated to French-language
services, has provided the incentive for us
to set up other specialized units for other
European languages. Soon publishers
will have access to our dedicated Portuguese and Spanish editorial units in Rio
de Janeiro and Barcelona respectively.
For us, it is about extending our existing
relationships with clients, aligning our
operations to their content needs in different locations, and being closer to these
clients within their growing markets.”

Digital Solutions in India 2013

Executive director Vinay Singh of Thomson
Digital

The Mauritius operation has grown
from a team of six in 2006 to more than
60 native French speakers serving all
market verticals. That same commit-

ment to expansion and exploration of
new cities, languages and services has
also brought Thomson Digital to Sikkim, India’s least populated state, in the
northeast. Set to go live this month, the
Sikkim facility is Singh’s big initiative
and contribution toward the growth of
his native state.
Singh is focused on provided customers
with a user-friendly, ergonomic, costcautious, all-in-one editorial product.
“The whole publishing space is being
redefined. Today’s readers have many
options to explore and devices to support
that exploration. For publishers, the
urgent need is to move from core print
products to parallel products. The latter
has greater revenues attached to them,
and the range is expanding. However, the
technical solutions, and the right timing
for providing such services are the avenues to explore. Ultimately, good and
authentic content in multiple languages
is what most clients are after, and Thom-

C
C
C

son Digital can provide that and more.”
While Singh is not divulging much,
the beta version of a new product, TDXPS, which has taken two years to
develop, will be unveiled by the middle
of this year. Providing a unique solution
to authors, small and mid-sized publishers, and society journal publishers, TDXPS is equally useful for large publishers
as it can handle big volumes of work. Saving costs is the goal of this new product.
Adds Singh, “The pressing needs of
multichannel publishing, content repurposing, localization, and new content
requirements driven purely by technology demands a different treatment and
approach. Small and medium-sized clients deserve to have the kind of technology and efficiency enjoyed by the top 10
publishers. TD-XPS is the answer: it is a
product of its time—something much
more than a publishing tool and one that
can deliver at one-tenth of the conventional time frame.”

Commitment

Comprehensive services

Capability to handle any technology...

Quadrum Solutions

Digital Solutions in India 2013

The Highly Illustrated
Segment

olds and selections of existing content translated from
French to English. “We then had to adapt the content
for different geographies. Over 2,000 pages were
Indian vendors excel in SSTM (scholarly, science,
created, and the final product was released as a
technical, and medical) content. That was true more
partwork of about 100 issues, 24 pages per issue. Two
than two decades ago and remains true today. At the
full-time translators were deployed for the intensive
same time, some vendors have made inroads into the
translation and content validation work. In addition,
k–12 and other educational segments that require
our team worked with more than 100 agencies and
more intensive design and creative capabilities. This
institutions to source and clear rights for over 5,000
is where PW finds Mumbai-based Quadrum
photographs,” Mehta says. Another project involved
Solutions.
200 titles (16,000 pages in total) from an African
Independently managed since 2007, Quadrum
client in the pre-primary, primary, and secondary
focuses on educational content, both print and digital, education segment. The series was later developed into
with services ranging
192 CD-ROMs
from design,
containing animated
illustration, authoring,
games, videos,
picture research,
activities, worksheets,
conversion, and content
and various
repurposing to
supplementary
marketing. Its clientele
components.
includes DK/Penguin/
The team also
Pearson, Scholastic,
developed enhanced
Disney, Quarto,
e-books like Great
Sterling, Encyclopaedia
Impressionist and Post/
Britannica, Andrews
Impressionist Paintings:
(l. to r.) Associate v-p Abha Shah, director Kunjli Majmudar and
McMeel, Baker &
The Musée d’Orsay for
senior v-p Jatin Mehta of Quadrum Solutions
Taylor, Hachette Livre,
Arte Publishing last
Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University
year. E-learning, too, has become a significant part of
Press.
its service offerings. For instance, in a project with one
“Our services range from originating content to
of India’s largest direct-to-home cable operators,
repurposing it to meet different price points,” says
Quadrum created animated educational videos for
associate v-p Abha Mehta. “For instance, for a
television in the form of stories, nursery rhymes, and
100-volume children’s series from an American
songs.
publisher, we scanned the books, retouched all images,
Chairman and CEO Dushyant Mehta believes that
and supplied digital files for the reprint. We also
content will be used in formats decided by consumdeveloped an e-book program to maximize the
ers. “The emerging trend is media convergence that
content.” Another U.S. publisher, which had already
involves not only media conversion but also enhancecommissioned Quadrum to create puzzle books, came
ments that capitalize on the technology, conveniences,
with nearly 400 backlist titles for EPub conversion.
and features of every format and device. In addition,
Quadrum had to clean up old Quark files, source new
content adaptation for different regions will ensure a
fonts, and create PDFs before converting them to
higher return on investment from a publisher’s
EPub to be sold through online channels for use on all
assets.” He sees his company adding value “by develdevices. Approximately 50,000 pages—from gift
oping customized solutions that allow publishers to
books, comic titles, cookbooks, novels, and more—
maximize their assets across markets. Our future
were converted within a period of four months.
plans are focused on developing long-term partnerA global educational publisher from the U.K.
ships with publishers and setting up dedicated onewanted original content created for eight-to-12-yearstop centers to create e-products.” 
—T.T.

30 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ A P R I L 1 5 , 2 0 1 3

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