By Nicole Tomassi, Marketing and Conference Manager
In 2017, Westchester Publishing Services enjoyed several significant accomplishments, and we’re already hard at work to build upon those successful initiatives in 2018.
These achievements are possible thanks to the efforts of our employees, along with the trust placed in us by our valued clients. Together, they made 2017 a year we look back on with pride, and we hope 2018 will be an equally successful year for all.
Conferences, tradeshows, and events, oh my!
In 2017, Westchester significantly increased our sponsorship and attendance at conferences and events in publishing, including Council of Science Editors, Association of American University Presses, Publishers Weekly Star Watch, and National Council of English Teachers among others.
Increasing the growth of our client list
Throughout the year, Westchester Publishing Services became the provider of editorial or composition services to several more publishers, including signing multi-year agreements with prestigious publishers The MIT Press and Rutgers University Press.
Meanwhile across the pond…
We further expanded our presence in the UK during 2017, sponsoring and attending conferences including London Book Fair, The Bookseller Children’s Conference and FutureBook. We also became a member of the Independent Publishers Guild, which has been an advocate for independent publishers for 55 years.
Expanding into new markets
In May, we launched our K-12 Publishing Services division, led by Managing Director, Kevin Gray, who has an experienced and talented team to meet the demand for high-quality content development our clients require.
PW Digital Solutions in India Special Report
Each year Publishers Weekly looks at the developments and innovations in digital production in their Digital in India supplement. We received significant coverage in the July 3rd issue and are proud of being the only US employee-owned company profiled who has full ownership and hands-on management of our production facilities in India.
Shortly before the EdNET conference this past September, we announced our collaboration with the well-respected digital content provider FableVision Studios. More exciting developments are on the horizon with FableVision Studios as well as other companies in the ed-tech industry, so stay tuned!
Better by design
In November, Westchester Publishing Services brought Mark DaGrossa on board as our Director of Creative Services. Mark’s extensive knowledge and resources allow us to significantly increase the design capabilities we are able to provide publishers for their titles.
An updated website and Client Portal
On the digital front, we gave our website a makeover, which made it more functional and user-friendly. We also unveiled a new version of our Client Portal
New faces and milestone anniversaries
Westchester Publishing Services has been growing steadily in recent years, with approximately one-quarter of our team joining the company since 2014. We are also fortunate to have employees who have been with us for 20 years or longer, including Roger Mahaffey and Sue Shaw, who each recently celebrated 25 years with Westchester. Bill Foley joined the company in 1976, making his impressive tenure second only to our Founder and CEO Dennis Pistone. Congratulations to all on your careers with Westchester!
Lending a helping hand
Being involved in our local community is important to us at Westchester Publishing Services. In addition to providing a financial donation supporting the efforts of the Connecticut Food Bank, some of our employees also gave of their time to help fill backpacks of food for distribution to area schoolchildren. These backpacks ensure families in need have access to nutritious food when school-based resources are not available. Feeding America has information on how you can support a foodbank in your local area.
A look ahead: 2018 conferences and trade shows
In 2018 Westchester Publishing Services will be involved in more industry events than ever before. We have made sponsorship and attendance commitments for several conferences and tradeshows in the US and the UK, including:
Visit our events page for a complete list, and contact us to set up a convenient time to talk! We look forward to learning more about how we can help you resolve your editorial, design, or production challenges in the year ahead, so you can fully focus on growing your company in 2018 and beyond.
By Tyler M. Carey, Chief Revenue Officer
Westchester returned to the UK a few weeks ago for meetings with customers, partners, and potential customers, this time with three tentpole events across our trip.
Friend and colleague Lorraine Shanley of Market Partners International was granted her Freedom of the City of London on 30 November, and I was fortunate enough to attend as one of her witnesses at London’s famous Guildhall. The ceremony, which essentially grants honorary citizenship to the City of London to members of guilds and dignitaries, was administered by Laura Miller, a Deputy Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court City of London. In addition to her role at Guildhall, Miller is also a member of London’s publishing and communications guild, the Stationers’ Company. (More on them in a bit!) Here’s a photo of Laura Miller, Lorraine Shanley, and the Beedle / Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court from the ceremony.
On 01 December, I represented Westchester at The Bookseller’s annual FutureBook conference, where we sponsored and exhibited. The conference itself was phenomenal, covering many aspects of innovation and technology in communications and publishing, with tracks for audiobooks, educational content, and the trade industry. The session that stood out the most for me was the ‘What can we learn from the video on demand business?’ panel, which included Molly Barton from Serial Box, Jeff Norton from Awesome Media & Entertainment, and speakers from Yodomo, The Artists Partnership, and Mammoth Screen. I found Serial Box’s model for distribution of serialized titles to be very compelling, and Norton’s comments about how not just younger generations – but our society in general – are once again rapidly embracing digital ingestion of content to be thought-provoking.
The attendees at FutureBook confirmed much of what I’ve been hearing on my last few trips to the UK on behalf of Westchester, as well as in sales meetings I had in the days leading up to FutureBook. There is a keen interest in Westchester’s expanding US employee-owned operation in Connecticut, and the work that we do to support publishers from both our world headquarters in the US, as well as our offices in India. Some UK publishers have readily embraced the Domestic Full Service model used by Harvard University Press and others, through which US Production Editors, and US or UK-based copyeditors, take a developed manuscript and bring it through to final printer and ebook files with our composition operation in Chennai, India. Additionally, other publishers in the UK have expressed an interest in liaising directly with our editorial office in Noida, India, or solely with our composition operation in Chennai, India – as Bloomsbury currently does.
Louise Cameron, who is Bloomsbury’s Group Production Director very generously shared this testimonial with me, regarding the work we’ve done for Bloomsbury over the years:
“Bloomsbury has been using Westchester Publishing Services for Trade typesetting for over a decade – not just because the service is excellent but also because the company has been willing to invest and flex to support Bloomsbury’s evolving XML-based workflows.”
With a spring in my step from the above feedback, and positive decisions from three publishers I met with on this and a previous trip to proceed with working with Westchester, I continued on to my final – and most inspiring – of the industry events which brought me to London for this trip.
The Stationers’ Company is a more than 600-year-old London Guild that helps advance the publishing, media, and communications industries. It is perhaps best known as the organization that tracked copyright on British literary works as far back as Shakespeare’s folios and continued to do so in one form or another until 2000. You can learn more about their work here. There are not many Americans who are selected to be members of the Stationers’ Company; Lorraine Shanley, referenced above, is one of my fellow US residents who has been invited over the years. Very graciously, Oliver Gadsby (CEO, Rowman & Littlefield International) and Tej Sood (Managing Director, Anthem Press) sponsored me for membership, and on 05 December I was accepted in as a Freeman, or member, of the Company. It was truly an honor to join the ranks of publishing and media luminaries who have been members over the centuries, and to attend my Freeman ceremony at Stationers’ Hall, which is located in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral. My wife came across the pond to join me for the ceremony (and yes, waiting for her at Heathrow Airport was like the opening scene of Love Actually), and it was a great memory that we will share for years to come. Our marketing manager decided my ceremony was worthy of a press release, and below is a picture from the ceremony. I am looking forward to participating in many other Stationers’ events and supporting this amazing organization which does so much to help our industry.
Westchester is proud of the growth we are continuing to experience within the UK publishing industry. We already have a number of trips planned for our Staff in the next few months, including:
- ALPSP University Press Redux – 13 and 14 Feb, London
- IPG’s Annual Spring Conference – 07 through 09 Mar, Oxfordshire
- And of course, The London Book Fair – 10 through 12 Apr, London
If you are interested in meeting with us at the above shows – or speaking by phone or Skype in the interim – please Contact Us to arrange a conversation about your publishing program and the many ways that we can help you.
This is my final blog post of 2017, so I will close by wishing you the happiest of holidays, and to be on the look-out for more Travels with Tyler posts in the coming year.
Conference Observations and Highlights
By David Bailis, STEM Content Director, Westchester K-12 Publishing Services
Kevin Gray and I recently attended the SIIA conference in Washington, D.C. It was my first time attending the conference, so I did not know what to expect. I was pleased to find the SIIA community is very tight-knit but also quite welcoming. The focus of the SIIA conference is to bring people in the Ed Tech industry together to learn more about what others in the industry are doing, and we were able to meet a lot of important players at this conference.
Fostering the idea of collaboration and building the industry as a whole, we participated in two engaging networking activities. The first was a Speed Networking session (sponsored by Westchester K-12), which was an excellent opportunity to break the ice with other conference attendees. Though the interactions were brief, we were paired with potential clients, partners, and resources, enriching our network and providing an expanded view of the ed tech publishing world. The second session was a curated networking opportunity hosted by Educational Systemics in which we were paired with like-minded companies, either in consulting or client-vendor roles. This session was helpful in facilitating conversations and finding intersection points that we might not have otherwise uncovered.
I thought many of the sessions we attended were both interesting and thought-provoking. There was such a wide variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, the intricate process of founding an Ed Tech startup company, as well as many others.
One of the sessions we attended was led by Phaedra Boinodiris, the Senior Strategy Lead Ed Tech for IBM and the Watson system. The main topic of conversation was about how artificial intelligence is being implemented in many different ways in education technology projects. One use case Phaedra gave was about how a small school in Texas is using a Minecraft mod to teach the students about epidemiology and the human immune system. Using the game, the students were able to go inside the human body and fight diseases which the software spawned using AI. This amazing use of gaming education was just one of the ways that teachers across the country are using similar applications to teach content in more interesting ways for their students.
Another session on how augmented and virtual reality are being used in education was led by Lisa Casteneda, the co-founder and CEO of foundry10, and Jussi Kajala, the chairman and COO of 3DBear. They shared that many studies have been done which seem to indicate that AR and VR have a positive effect on student performance, as well as student engagement. While the cost of VR equipment is currently high, more and more teachers are using it in their classrooms. Lisa and Jussi also shared some of the many ways teachers are using AR to explore virtually, such as creating a more welcoming school environment or “visiting” a location that would be impossible to experience otherwise, such as the South Pole or Mars!
A third session covered the process through which a startup edtech company could be established. Santeri Koivisto founded MinecraftEdu, a system that helps teachers use Minecraft to teach students a variety of content in classrooms all over the world. He spoke about his experiences coming up with an idea, finding funding, and eventually selling his company to Microsoft. Most of my personal experience is based in creating or teaching content, so it was both interesting and exciting for me to learn how Santeri was able to take the steps needed to make his business dreams a reality.
Additionally, Kevin participated in a break-out session on investing in Content vs. Platform. He shared the stage with Blackboard, myON, and a teacher representative. Each shared their unique vantage points about the buy/build/partner decisions that major players in the market have to make with regards to content creation and online delivery. Having a teacher on the panel also helped ground the discussion in the end users in the classrooms.
Kevin and I found the tenor of the conference was rather collaborative, with the attendees seeking each other out to discover ways to work together to meet their business goals. We came away from the conference with many new connections and potential opportunities to work with companies we hadn’t previously known about, and are looking forward to attending next year!
If you attended the conference, what sessions did you find to be the most informative? Share your thoughts in the comment section below, or email me at David.Bailis@westchesterk12pubsvcs.com.
Observations from the 2017 National Council of Teachers of English Conference
By Tim Cross, Business Development Manager
Tyler Carey and I enjoyed attending the NCTE conference in St. Louis, MO last week. The shuttle buses from the airport were packed with English teachers from around the country, making you feel like the conference had taken over St. Louis. Indeed wherever you went, there were teachers talking about their experiences and pedagogy in the Starbucks and hotel lobbies throughout Downtown. Being in such an active and enthusiastic group of 7,000+ professionals that are all so passionate about their vocation was inspiring. To understand how NCTE works with educators to improve the learning of English language arts at all education levels, here’s a link to their website.
Especially inspiring was the keynote from famous poet and educator Jimmy Santiago Baca. Baca discussed his history as an orphan in New Mexico who was inspired by a teacher who told him he could write poetry, when he was having many challenges in the systems he grew up in. Baca encouraged the teachers to think of ways to better engage their students in ways that mattered to them – teaching them about poetry that bore a cultural relevance rather than sticking to a curriculum that may not be accessible. “You are more than dragon slayers,” he told the teachers, “you are dream makers.” After reading a poem he had written especially for the teachers, he took questions from the audience and in response to some similar questions, he told teachers to make their classrooms reflect their own individuality so that students felt they had someone real they could engage with and learn from. One teacher asked him how he made time to write, what with having five kids, two dogs, and a day-to-day life like we all do. Baca said, “Take yourself serious but have a lot of fun…Dive into life,” continuing on to say that there will always be the things that happen in our day to day life that are a distraction from our plans and are part of living. While many of us have heard the ‘write when you can’ advice from authors before, Baca made that advice seem more possible and achievable. If you’re interested in learning more about Baca’s remarkable story, visit his website:
The conference was packed with sessions in many tracks, making the general trend of sessions difficult to pinpoint. The overall energy at the conference reflected educators and publishers who are ready to explore new avenues and already setting the path for all of us. From innovative digital products to print products that reflect refinements and new approaches to teaching literacy, one felt ready to arm the students of today with the ideas of tomorrow. My colleagues at Westchester K-12 Publishing Services and I are proud to be a part of that effort, supporting our clients through content development, editorial services, production, and more, helping our clients create innovative and effective products for ELA, Math, Social Studies, and Science education. Contact Us to discuss your program and explore ways we can help you.
Westchester was proud to sponsor The Bookseller’s Children’s Conference which took place at the Barbican Centre in London, on 26 September. CEO Dennis Pistone and I attended and staffed our stand at the conference, which attracted over 350 children’s publishing figures.
The state of the publishing industry itself was a major focus of the opening sessions. Staff from The Bookseller shared stats about the growth of juvenile trade and picture books as compared to the industry as a whole, pointing to the overall health of children’s publishing — and its role as a revenue generator for publishers that release titles in different genres and markets. Much time was spent on the disproportionate percentage of sales that the J.K. Rowlings and David Walliamses of the world generate within this space, influencing numbers in the UK. Publishing staff from DK, Chicken House, Hachette, Carlton Publishing, Penguin Random House, Lantana Publishing, Little Tiger Group, and other publishers and vendors shared their insights on aspects of the industry from marketing to digital to reaching young readers, and more. More details about the speakers and their backgrounds can be found here.
From a professional standpoint, the sessions on the industry were very helpful for me. Personally, as a reader and bookstore aficionado, I was fascinated with the presentations by booksellers including Tamara Macfarlane from Tales on Moon Lane, Phil Henderson from supermarket chain ASDA, and Daphne Lao Tonge from book box Illumicrate. Each talked about different approaches for selling books into the children’s markets, from author events to displays to monthly delivery boxes. Many of these speakers also reinforced the need for engaging with children via literacy programs and charities to help ensure educational opportunities for those who may be disadvantaged.
Dennis and I had a busy schedule while in the UK, where we had the opportunity to meet with a long list of publishers who serve many different markets, and talk with them about their needs. Our offerings that include US-based, UK-based, and India-based employee and freelance resources for tasks like pre-edits, project management, copyediting, design, composition, and digital services resonated strongly, with some publishers taking steps to move different types of projects to us. We know many of our clients and prospects in the UK prefer to work directly with our or other vendor’s India-based operations, however we were pleasantly surprised to see the high level of interest expressed in the work we do from the States for project management, customer service, copyediting, design, composition page checks, proofreading, and more.
Westchester will be back in the UK for the FutureBook Conference held on 1 December at 155 Bishopsgate, London. The conference program is now live, and speakers are continually being added. With a roster which includes people from the worlds of traditional publishing, audiobooks, and EdTech firms among others, it promises to be a very informative day.
I hope you’ll be able to join us at FutureBook to hear the insights of panelists on the future of our industry and technology, as well as meet us at our stand. Not able to attend? No problem, you can Contact Us to schedule a meeting in the days before or after the conference. We look forward to exploring ways we can help you trim your costs, condense your schedules, and ensure the quality of your print and digital publications.