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What are the benefits of automation for the publishing industry?

According to a report by McKinsey in 2020, 66% of organizations have automated at least one business function. The paradigm shift towards digital transformation has made automation inevitable for most industries. Automation strives to achieve high efficiency, speed, and accuracy, reducing manual hours spent on repetitive tasks. The publishing industry is not far behind in adopting automation techniques to improve the speed and quality of output.

This article discusses the benefits of automation for the publishing landscape.

Earlier, each step of the publishing industry involved the manual efforts of different teams. In response to some of the existing problems in the publishing industry, such as the high demand for multi-format content, faster outcomes, and the high costs involved, automation is now a highly sought-after solution.

What is an automated publishing workflow?

A publishing workflow is considered to be automated when some of the steps or tasks in the process are executed without human intervention using rule-based logic. Typically, the reviewed manuscript in a text format is structured with tags that differentiate one section from the other, like the title, body, etc. Once the tagged content is fed into the automation system via a user interface, it is converted into a markup language like XML or HTML for the system to understand and process the text. The input is then converted into laid-out PDF and EPUB files, incorporating all the design elements as programmed. After this stage, the PDF/EPUB file is sent for a final round of review before being published.

The benefits of an automated publishing workflow 

Expedites publication times

Automation helps expedite various steps in the publishing process, allowing research output to reach readers faster. With automation, publishers have been able to bring down publication times from several weeks to a few days (or even lesser!).

Brings consistency to design and typesetting

Automation enables consistent implementation of typesetting formats and design layouts, helping produce outputs that require minimal to no additional review each time. This consistency also speeds up the production process.

Eliminates redundant work

Automation removes the need to create a separate ebook/online article publishing cycle. It merges the ebook/online article production with the print production cycle, enabling multi-format publishing and eliminating redundant work.

Enables in-house employees to focus on critical tasks

Since automation takes care of everything from categorizing, converting to desired formats, design implementation, and printing, the in-house staff can focus on more critical tasks that require human cognitive skills.

Optimizes content for various devices

There is a growing demand to meet the needs of content in multiple formats optimized for a variety of devices. An automated publishing workflow can help achieve the desired format to suit the specific content needs of the target audience.

Although the use of automation has grown tremendously in publishing, the associated downsides such as high cost and lack of flexibility must be taken into consideration. It has now become critical for publishers to redefine traditional processes and establish a hybrid model that balances the print and digital versions of their publications. Despite its shortcomings, automation has become a lucrative solution for publishers to embrace in order to address the gaps in their current workflow and thrive in the digital era.

Image courtesy: Technology vector created by vectorjuice – www.freepik.com

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