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 Mark DaGrossa, Director of Creative Services
Hello, I’m Mark DaGrossa, Director of Creative Services for Westchester Publishing Services. To give you some background about myself, I am a Founder/Partner of Folio Designhaus, an award-winning design firm based in Dayton, Ohio, that has been in business for the past 10 years. Prior to opening my business, I worked in various positions within Mazer Corporation’s design department for 20 years. I welcomed the opportunity to join Westchester because the ability to lead a design team that is part of a true full-service solution for publishers was an exciting prospect to me.
I find that the beginning of the year is a great time to recharge your batteries, both mentally and physically, while also planning upcoming projects. To make book production an even more efficient process for you, I’m pleased to share that we’ve further expanded our service offerings. We now offer art, design, and layout for books and related ancillary publications, giving you access to Westchester’s extensive design resources along with the editorial and production services publishers have relied on for 50 years.
What makes Westchester’s Art & Design team different?
Our art and design team has deep experience within the education field as well as the retail/marketing realm. So, what does this mean for your company? It means that we can design your product from cover to cover, utilizing any or all of the following services:
- Cover Design – We create design concepts that convey the message and feeling of the final product, whether you need a look which is very traditional, cutting-edge, whimsical or anything in between.
- Interior Page Design – Whether a textbook, Teachers Guide, or workbook, we know how to design your pages from initial concept or from supplied templates.
- Illustrations – Our illustration resources can provide a large variety of styles for your custom art. We can create line art, realistic art, cartoon styles, or fully commissioned artwork—whatever specific style your project requires.
- Photography – We are able to supply product shots, setup shots, or location shots to achieve the perfect image to accompany your written content.
- Photo Research – We have a highly experienced team of photo researchers who can track down the exact image needed from any stock house, as well as handle rights and permissions. For projects requiring more extensive research or a geography-based image, we can work with historical societies or museums to obtain the required images.
To see examples of the art, design and layout concepts our team is capable of executing on your projects, click the image below:
I will cover topics including design principles, illustrations, stock photography, fonts, and printing in upcoming blog posts. I will also share with you the thought process that shapes how my team creates amazing designs for your products, and point out things which may help make your job just a tad easier.
I welcome the opportunity to communicate with you, so feel free to reach out and ask me any questions you have about art, design, and layout. We look forward to learning about your design requirements and helping you create a finished product that not only excites your customers but is something you and your company can be extremely proud of. I hope that you will keep Westchester Publishing Services in mind when considering design-related aspects for your new projects.
Have a great day!
The Benefits of Using the Right Vendor Instead of In-House Resources
by Paul J. Crecca, President and CFO of Westchester Publishing Services
In my previous article, “The Benefits of Sending Pre-Press Production Work to a Vendor,” I talked about the potential cost savings when using a large pre-press production vendor with an India based composition house vs. handling this pre-press work in-house. In this article, I would like to discuss the question of vendor quality compared to the quality of final work product produced by in-house staff.
To jump right in, let me give you two key reasons why a large vendor can (let me emphasize “large” and “can,” which I’ll come back to) achieve better work product quality than in-house staff:
1. Expert Staff – The professionals and staff handling each task along the production workflow are specialists, experts in performing their specific responsibility – back to the time-honored principle – practice (or experience) makes perfect. Adding to this, because a service vendor must have experts in each task along the workflow, they must ensure each expert is well and frequently trained – otherwise, they will lose the game.
2. Quality Controls – Any good service provider knows that despite having experts handling each task, those experts are human beings, and they will occasionally make mistakes. Thus any good service vendor knows they must have comprehensive Quality Control procedures to identify and correct any errors that might occur.
A publisher can certainly bring on experts in any and all tasks in their production workflow just as a service provider does. But is it possible once the publisher has brought in that expert “shortstop” to keep the shortstop playing in that position full time? Without a substantial volume of projects flowing through the workflow, and all the other positions filled with their own experts (1st base, catcher, etc.), I submit the answer is no, it’s not possible for that in-house expert to only handle one key responsibility. Then how much training, most importantly on-going training do those in-house experts receive? I’ve worked in several very large companies, and job-specific training after day one was non-existent. As a practical matter and a reality, it’s just not possible for a publisher to maintain experts at each stage of the pre-press production workflow.
As a vendor providing a service where product quality can mean the difference between a successful business and total business failure, it would be playing Russian roulette not to have comprehensive Quality Control procedures in place. In this case, we’re talking about the primary product of publishers, the books and other publications they sell, where even a single quality failure could be disastrous. At Westchester, we have QC procedures in place aimed at achieving 100% quality assurance. While it is possible for a publisher to have similar QC procedures in place, often the pressure of keeping internal costs low wins out over having the extra staff necessary to perform those QC functions. Ultimately, the risk of quality issues getting through to final publications are a trade-off these publishers live with, but they don’t have to.
Now let’s come back to why a “large” vendor “can”.
The importance of being a “large” vendor is related to the challenge of a publisher having experts in each key position along the workflow. In order to maintain experts in each key position, there must be a volume of work to keep them engaged and productive in that position. If you only keep an in-house paginator engaged part-time setting pages in InDesign – and doing completely different tasks the rest of the time – will they ever be as good and efficient as someone doing the same task full time? Being a large vendor ensures the volume of work necessary to keep the experts in place in all positions at all times, performing at the top of their game.
The importance above of saying a vendor “can,” relates to a common complaint in today’s pre-press production service market. Large service providers in this space have the resources and the necessity to implement the comprehensive QC procedures which ensure very high-quality end product – but many do not. We at Westchester are baffled by this but take pride in separating our company from those vendors who cannot deliver near-perfect quality. Once again, we aim to achieve 100% quality assurance for all our publisher clients.
At this point you might be asking, can a vendor provide all this, experts along the entire workflow plus comprehensive quality control procedures? The answer is yes, tying back to key points in my previous article about higher vendor efficiency resulting from larger volumes as well as an extremely cost-efficient workforce on the typesetting side of the workflow.
Westchester Publishing Services with our 40+ U.S. based production editors/project managers, 350+ network of copyeditors, a U.S. based customer service department, and 100% company owned and U.S. managed composition/typesetting house located in India, is the only U.S. employee-owned company of scale focused solely on pre-press production services. We’ll leave the printing to the experts in that field, but only after we take care of the coordination and hand-off of your final print files with your designated printer.
I would love to know what you think – please comment below.
The Benefits of Sending Pre-Press Production Work to a Vendor
by Paul J. Crecca, President and CFO of Westchester Publishing Services
A question which regularly comes up for discussion in our management meetings is, “What is the argument from a publisher’s point of view for keeping pre-press production in-house?” As the CFO of Westchester, I have been studying the numbers related to that question for nearly three years – and the answer eludes me.
Each of the 20+ expert U.S.-based production editors employed by Westchester handles approximately 15,000 manuscript pages per year which are received directly from the author. With such a large flow of client projects, we have systems and procedures in place which ensure our PEs work at peak productivity and are not distracted by non-project related tasks. As a result of the high volume of work we receive, we are able to negotiate extremely competitive rates with our network of over 300 copy editors, who are thoroughly tested, and specifically selected so their copyediting skills match the project content and style.
On the typesetting side, the publishing industry embraced an off-shore business model nearly 20 years ago, putting most U.S. typesetting companies out of business. In 2008, Westchester purchased a composition shop in Chennai, India, ensuring we could keep our composition (typesetting) production costs competitive. Our employees in India are compensated at the high range compared to our India based competitors however it is certainly not what a U.S. based typesetting position would pay. Other vendors outsource your work to third-party shops where the oversight may be lacking, causing delays or poor quality in the final product. All Westchester client composition work is performed at our 100%-owned Chennai composition shop, with significant U.S. management oversight and U.S. quality control checks. As an employee-owned company, we take prudent measures to keep overhead low across our operations in the U.S. and India – allowing us to pass those savings on to our customers in the form of lower prices.
Given these factors, I don’t see how a publisher could match our pre-press production quality or costs by using in-house resources. An explanation I’ve heard from time to time is, “Based on our production editors/project managers working on projects 60% of their time, our cost per page or project are X”. While this is the purest direct project cost, it doesn’t consider the 40% of the time which isn’t being spent working on projects, or the overhead necessary to maintain in-house staff including managers and facility costs.
There are certainly other factors related to outsourcing pre-press production which will be addressed in future posts, including vendor quality versus in-house quality, and the perceived cost-savings when using a flock of U.S.-based freelance typesetters, which given the requirements of freelance management, brings the image of herding cats to mind.
I’d like to hear your thoughts about internal production costs and keeping pre-press production in-house – please comment below.
Click here, to read the next post in this series.
Annual supplement focuses on digital solutions for publishers
Westchester recently had the opportunity to participate once again in Publishers Weekly’s Digital Solutions in India annual supplement. This annual issue helps the publishing industry understand the options available for editorial, composition, and digital services – often from vendors based in India.
As the only U.S. employee-owned company in the market focused exclusively on editorial and production services, Westchester is proud of the work we do in both North America and India. Publishers Weekly’s Digital Solutions in India annual supplement covered many aspects of our business, including leading with our perspectives on recent changes in the print and digital space, writing about new units and offerings at Westchester including our Client Portal , highlighting some of our recent, complex projects , and featuring us in their digital marketplace section.
Westchester’s year of expansion
Westchester has undergone significant growth since our appearance in last year’s Digital Solutions supplement, including expansions in our Scholarly publishing, Domestic Full Service, and India Direct Full Service businesses, the acquisition of Kinetic Publishing Services, our move into K-12 publishing services, and the launch of our Client Portal. Contact Us to learn more about our offerings, and explore the various ways we can help you affordably scale your publications program.