The Creator-to-Consumer research concept was conceived and developed by Common Ground in mid 2000. The research and development activities of Common Ground Publishing around this concept then led to a joint EPICS/IIGF proposal being formulated, in conjunction with the RMIT Faculty of Art Design and Communication in late 2000 (Stage 1).
Early in 2001, funding was approved by the Federal Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources (DITR), and a team of over twenty RMIT and Common Ground researchers was formed to undertake three months of research activities which led to the publication of Book 1 ‘Creator-to-Consumer in a Digital Age: Australian Book Production in Transition’ (Stage 2).
In June 2001, a more extensive research program (Stage 3) commenced. Divided into three modules this program was designed to build a comprehensive body of new knowledge necessary for the entire book production industry to build effective and long-term development strategies. Module 1, completed in October, 2001, looked at technology aspects; Module 2. completed in March 2002, investigated new markets around print and non-print book products and related services; and Module 3, commencing in April 2002, focuses on integrating this new knowledge with industry activities, export initiatives and education programs.
Stage 3, Module 1 involved the publication of four titles, from each of the main areas of research. Book 2.1 ‘Print and Electronic Text Convergence’ looks at technology in and around print and ebook technologies. Book 2.2 ‘Multilingual Book Production’ explores the technological aspects of publishing for multilingual markets. Book 2.3 ‘Digital Book Production and Supply Chain Management’ deals with many of the fundamental issues of metadata, standards and managing workflows in a digital environment. Book 2.4 ‘Digital Rights Management and Content Creation’ brings together various approaches to dealing with the legal issues in electronic publishing and the impact these have on the process of content creation. This Module also included two industry workshops being held in Melbourne and Sydney that involved representatives from across the supply chain.
The research undertaken in Stage 3, Module 2 culminated in over a thousand pages of published reseach, reproduced as four volumes, each covering a distinct area of marketing for new book products. Book 3.1 ‘New Markets for Printed Books’ chronicles and analyses emerging markets for books printed per demand, as well as customised books and books in unconventional formats. Book 3.2 ‘Markets for New Book Products’ presents a dialogue around the way in which the traditional book-function is being carried over into the realm of digital text through electronic media rendering systems like personal organisers, ebook tablets and personal computers. Book 3.3 ‘International Publishing Services Market’ deals in the export opportunities that arrive from digital book production processes, including information and knowledge management. Consideration is given to how the book export market can be strategically aligned with education export markets, specifically in South and East Asia. Book 3.4 ‘Regional Publishing Services Markets’ details the opportunities for the publishing services industry in non-metropolital areas.
The activities of this project are conducted under the watchful guidance of the Project Advisory Committee which meets approximately every two months. Consisting of representatives of major industry associations, several industry representatives and a representative from the National Office of the Information Economy (NOIE), this committee represents a significant and new level of collaboration between the many players in the book production industry being profoundly affected by new digital technologies.