ALCTS Publishing Business Plan

December 2001

  1. Executive Summary
    1. Objectives of Plan
      1. Provide a framework for acquiring and developing content, products, and services, developing more complete product lines, producing publications in a timely and efficient manner, evaluating success and failures of products/services post-publication, and continuously reviewing products for future re-issue or re-development.
        1. Develop products and product lines to expand markets ensuring ALCTS’ message as the authority for library collections and technical services reaches its markets.
        2. Continuously review and evaluate products and services to meet changing landscape of library and information sciences.
      2. Provide niche market products specific to ALCTS interests applicable to ALCTS members and/or larger markets (e.g. library/information sciences, industry and professionals, the public).
      3. Consolidate customer activities to enhance customer service, market research and product development.
      4. Consolidate publishing and membership activities to leverage the potential of ALCTS products and services for increasing membership.
      5. Organize a campaign to generate increases in paid subscriptions for all publications that are perquisites of membership.
      6. Create an electronic product that enables online access to all ALCTS publications on a fee basis utilizing PDF, e-commerce, and rights management software. ALA/ALCTS either sells or licenses the project.
      7. Establish a budget in ALCTS for market research into product trends and customer demographics that will remain in place for three fiscal years.
    2. Mission and Purpose
      1. The mission of ALCTS publishing is to generate niche-market scholarly and commercial products and services for its members, the profession, industry, and public.
      2. The purpose of ALCTS publishing is to self-publish or serve as an agent for such products to ALA Editions or other commercial partnerships that: contribute to the professional growth of personal members and the profession at large; promulgate standards for professional and educational service; enhance the effectives and authority of library personal; and provide direction on cultural trends and evolving technologies that bear on the development of the library profession and the provision of library services. ALCTS publishing must accomplish this mission in a time-efficient, resourceful, cost-beneficial manner to maintain competitive publishing operations and adequately contribute revenues to future association endeavors, programs, and initiatives.
    3. Keys to Success
      1. Implementing further market research into customer demographics and trends, current product viability, and new product options.
      2. Expanding and more aggressively seeking product proposals
      3. Streamlining quick-to-market content, format innovations, and production processes.
      4. Breaking out of “comfort zones” maximizing ALCTS’ considerable resources and advantages
      5. Broadening subject matter and shifting the focus of new product and service development to include peripheral customers (e.g., younger, more diverse demographic, paraprofessionals)
      6. Answering the question: What is the value proposition of the ALCTS “brand.” Or, What is the ALCTS brand promise?
      7. Expanding product lines to meet the needs of multiple markets, venues, and applications over longer periods of time (i.e., regular updates, spin-offs) and creating multiple revenue streams from sub-niche market products (i.e., companions, brochures, courses, kits, presentations, public products, non-English)
      8. Organizing all new product and service decisions around the presence of unique and compelling features.
      9. Converting all content into XML files to facilitate content and format innovations.
      10. Customizing and personalizing ALCTS product and service offerings (e.g., providing content in multiple formats, public awareness component, electronic “companions”).
      11. Doing more with the implications and consequences of E-commerce and mastering the subtleties of e-mail marketing.
  2. Products, Services, and Member Benefits
    1. Products and Service Description
      1. Scholarly journals (e.g., Library Resources and Technical Services)
      2. Online Newsletters (e.g., ALCTS Online Newsletter, AN2)
      3. Professional and reference books
      4. Section series publications
      5. Division promotional materials
      6. Online products and services such as ALCTS Newsletter Online searchable archives, databases such as Book and Serial Vendors for Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union , e-books, and other formal web publications.
    2. Competitive Comparison
      1. Competition
        1. Other library associations and organizations with publishing programs, such as ARL, ULC, or the Charleston Conference
        2. Other ALA Divisions, such as ACRL and RUSA
        3. Electronic content vendors
        4. Commercial publishers in the library market, such as Neal-Schuman (professional and reference books), Cahners (Library Journal, LJ Hotline, Publishers Weekly)
      2. Advantages of competition
        1. Associations
          1. Usually smaller organizations with a narrow focus
          2. Ability to direct resources to smaller niches
          3. Type of library vs. functionality-driven
        2. Commercial Publishing Companies
          1. For-profit orientation enabling ongoing access to profits for reinvestment in businesses.
          2. More resources directed to marketing, market research, and product development.
          3. Larger travel and entertainment budget for author prospecting.
          4. Ability to finance author honorarium.
          5. Better able to pursue smaller markets and ancillary markets due to overhead structure
          6. More resources directed toward developing product lines and marketing spin-offs/promotions
      3. Advantages of ALCTS
        1. Most comprehensive selection of library technical services professional information.
        2. Ability to produce smaller niche-market products quickly.
        3. Access to the experts.
        4. Promotion/tenure outlet ability through industry authority, quick-to-market capabilities, and reoccurring publications
        5. Reputation of ALCTS as the authority in the fields of technical services, including cataloging and classification, acquisitions, collection management and development, serials, and preservation and reformatting.
        6. Maintaining high visibility in the development of standards, policies, and procedures in technical services and related fields for the library community, nationally, and internationally.
    3. Technology
      1. ALA’s Customer Service Unit processing all serial publications orders and fulfillment using iMIS.
      2. Customer data for books linked to iMIS.
      3. Converting member serial publications to online format.
      4. Electronic copyediting, electronic proofing systems, and electronic indexing are in use to shorten production cycles and get content to market quicker without lowering editorial standards. Stats on web publications hits.
      5. Content is being converted to XML using Open E-Book (OEB) Document Type Definitions (DTD) so that current titles are ready for the future when clean e-book standards are adopted.
      6. Revise major reference projects using database software for online accessibility.
      7. PBD order processing and fulfillment operation for all ALA Online Store (ALA Editions) publications.
    4. Future Product and Service Possibilities
      1. Online access to LRTS
      2. Personalized and customized content delivery.
      3. Alerting services (to identify late breaking news and developments across the profession).
      4. Abstracting services on trends, comments, opinions: too many journals to read.
      5. Pay per view products.
      6. A product line for online-delivery products.
      7. Online content, or “texts,” specifically designed for online education courses offered by ALCTS and other distance education providers (including handouts and presentations from conferences).
      8. Multiple language formats.
      9. Public interest products.
      10. Textbooks for core library school courses or information studies classes.
      11. Online/electronic versions of core print products (e.g., GRB, or AACR2).
      12. Products for information professionals in non-traditional settings.
      13. Products for non-librarians in technical services roles (how-to guides, “mentor in a box”/”so you want to be a cataloger” series).
      14. Public Awareness products for advocacy of policies, LIS services, LIS education, legislation, etc.
    5. Roles of Other Units
      1. ALA ITTS: Provides customer data interface protocols, technology infrastructure for database content, digital content production, electronic delivery, rights management, E-commerce software, and electronic storage.
      2. ALA Marketing & Communications: Provides member information and chapter (non-member) information. Partner in creating member benefit packages that increase customer base ranking and encourage membership growth through member information, chapter (non-member) information,
      3. ALA Customer Service: Interface management with outside vendors (subscription fulfillment and customer data).
      4. ALA Human Resources: Responds to needs of tech-savvy personnel for higher and higher levels of technology skills.
      5. ALA Conference Services: Maximizes advertising opportunity of ALA & ALCTS’s publications have with the same vendors. Plans need to be put in place in advance to coordinate the approach to the same vendors and thereby maximize the revenue contribution to ALCTS.
      6. ALA Senior management: Maintain budget priorities allowing implementation of these plans and support flexibility in organization of work to pursue plans.
      7. ALA Editions: Immediate publishing of any ALCTS manuscripts complying with ALA Editions’ new policies (e.g., longer than 80 pages, single-author, non-series publications).
      8. ALA Productions: Layout and design assistance for all ALCTS publications (e.g., publications less than 20 pages, handouts, brochures).
      9. Other ALA divisions: Marketing partnerships (e.g., internal advertising within American Libraries and other publications).
      10. External parties: quick to-market publications, producing/manufacturing products that are beyond ALA abilities, market research & marketing/advertising.
  3. Market Analysis Summary
    1. Market Segmentation
      1. Primary Markets include: public and academic librarians; non-librarians in technical services; librarians in non-traditional roles; information specialists in non-library settings.
      2. Secondary Markets include: school and special librarians; public (for technical service awareness/advocacy), individuals, and vendors (for advertising space).
      3. Other markets include state library associations; teacher organization; library and information science educators and students (working or enrolled in library and information science degree programs), institutions in the library profession such as corporations and international libraries, and bookstores.
    2. Target Market Segment Strategy
      1. Market Needs
        1. Staff development and continuing education materials that train and prepare librarians for change.
        2. Online enhancements to print products: content experience packages.
        3. Forward-looking products that take advantage of new media formats, platforms, and delivery/distribution streams.
        4. Rapid-response products covering hot-topic trends and developments.
        5. “Information packages” vs. traditional professional monographs.
        6. Straight-into-the job publications for paraprofessionals.
        7. Application of technical services in non-traditional professionals.
        8. Multiple language format.
        9. Products that support industry principles, standards, and best practices for creating, collecting, organizing, delivering, and preserving information resources in all forms.
        10. Quick production response schedules ensuring currency of information and quick turnover of manuscripts to publication.
        11. Products supporting public awareness/advocacy of industry policies, principles, and standards for creating, collecting, organizing, delivering, and preserving information resources in all forms (specialty marketing).
        12. Full Product line development stretching the reach and influence of every product subject.
      2. Market Trends
        1. Increased spending on library technology is driving the need for support products.
        2. Library automation may be moving from bibliographical control to content management.
        3. Overall library market for print subscriptions continues to decline slightly.
        4. Changing skill sets/accountabilities.
        5. Higher level (“professional”) staff positions replaced by lower level (“paraprofessional”) positions.
        6. Multiple languages formats for library materials and patrons.
        7. Increased demand on librarians to train non-professionals, or paraprofessionals.
        8. Fewer MLS graduates.
        9. MLS graduates seeking work in non-traditional, non-library settings.
        10. Boom in spending on electronic products in academic libraries, and a lesser extent in public libraries.
        11. Copyright issues in electronic publications.
        12. The growth of the global economy and international markets.
        13. Faster production cycles to shorten the time it takes to get a product out.
      3. Market Growth
        1. Membership Business Plan Notes:
          1. Skills represented in the ALCTS membership are highly transferable to many other industry segments. The collection, organization, and preservation of information is a high priority in the “information age.” This can be seen be seen in the rise in positions such as chief information officer, knowledge manager, information manager, etc.
          2. Growth in number of librarian jobs in 1998 to 2008: 5%.
          3. Greatest growth will be in non-library settings: business services, museums, botanical/zoological gardens, social services, engineering and management services, legal services.
          4. Virtual membership opportunities will increase the number of international librarians who want to interact with ALCTS Number of ALA members projected at 75,000 by 2005.
        2. Paraprofessional staffing opportunities.
        3. Product spin-offs, niche markets.
          1. Online product alternatives to print products will add to subscriber base rather than dilute (e.g., online journal and archival for “members-only,” e-books).
    3. Industry Analsysis
      1. Industry Participants
        1. Publishers (see 3.3.4).
        2. Domestic distributors (e.g., Eurospan, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, EBSCO).
        3. International distributors (e.g., Eurospan, CLA, B&T International).
        4. Online retailers (e.g.,,,
        5. Authors.
        6. Advisors and Advisory committees (official and un-official).
        7. Pre-press houses, printers.
        8. Order processing and fulfillment houses.
        9. Freelance editors, designers, developers.
      2. Distribution Patterns
        1. Direct marketing and distribution to individuals, librarians and other information services organizations ALA Stores at ALA conferences.
        2. Wholesalers/jobbers/distributors.
        3. Traditional booksellers.
        4. Online booksellers.
        5. Distribution goal: develop synergy between alternative formats, extending market rather than dividing it.
      3. Competition and Buying Patterns
        1. More customers shopping online.
        2. Wholesalers and online booksellers holding down inventories as computerized ordering systems gain efficiency.
        3. Customers gravitating toward web-based and discounted or free professional content.
        4. Subscriptions: reduction of multiple-copy subscription may be the primary factor in declining circulation of all market journals.
        5. Absence of paid circulation promotion for member-based publications leaves paid circulation base vulnerable to economic slowdowns.
        6. Subscriptions online: no reliable data yet. Questions remain about impact of online subscriptions to print circulation and advertising.
      4. Main Competitors
        1. Other ALA Divisions, such as ACRL, PLA, LITA, LAMA.
        2. Other, usually smaller more specific associations, such as MLA and SLA that have publishing programs.
        3. Neal-Schuman.
        4. Greenwood – Oryx Press.
        5. Libraries Unlimited.
        6. Scarecrow (acquired by UPI).
        7. Library Journal.
        8. Information Today.
        9. Online publications:
          1. The Library Place
          2. D-Lib, Digital Librarian
          3. Biblio-Tech
          4. Library and Information Science News
          6. StudioB News
        10. Commercial competition seems to be diminishing. Association competition seems to be increasing.
        11. Movement among single-media publishers to expand products to new media formats.
        12. Smaller new single-media publishers having difficulty keeping subscriptions.
  4. Strategy and Implementation Summary
    1. Value Propositions
      1. The most applicable theory and best practices delivered in ways that cannot be replicated by any other effort outside the Association.
      2. Timely, authoritative, reliable content that enriches the professional lives of individuals, supports organizational development, and inspires performance in the library and information services community.
      3. Access to the output of the best minds and the most prominent leaders in the profession in the most organized, efficient and current fashion available.
      4. Indispensable advice and leadership.
      5. Professional growth.
    2. Competitive Edge
      1. An established brand name (built-in credibility/authority).
      2. Access to the experts: a community of member and staff leaders at the top of their profession, able to mobilize staff and volunteers for contributions to and support for publishing projects.
      3. Committed audience (membership).
      4. Built-in high profile author base (member leaders).
      5. High-profile exhibiting/selling opportunities.
      6. Aggressive, quick to market production capabilities.
      7. Review schedule for all publications 3 years after publication to retire, redevelop, or reissue after 5-years or per review schedule.
      8. Reissue publications every 5-years (or per review schedule).
      9. The quality of the Association’s reputation facilitates affiliation with and use of branded identities and results in a multitude of strategic partnerships with publishers, producers, and other ALA divisions.
      10. Exceptional leverage in national affairs.
      11. Skilled staff and experienced advisory groups; high quality products; and very effective marketing catalogs (as measured by response rates).
      12. Exceptional commitment to and investment in technology and the benefits to be realized.
    3. Marketing Strategy.
      1. Positioning Statements
        1. Ability to quickly produce small, niche market publications specific to ALCTS members and to create public awareness of ALCTS, its members, and issues.
        2. Support of ALA Editions for larger, single-authored, non-series publications.
        3. Resourceful to commercial publishers for possible partnerships.
        4. Operation dedicated to serving the profession as a non-profit organization in some sectors and competitive with commercial houses in others.
        5. Easy accessibility.
        6. Cutting edge of professional issues.
        7. Operation defined by its quality, quickness, member-oriented, and efficiency in order processing and customer service.
      2. Pricing Strategy
        1. Price to market and product category (informative, member benefit, profession/industry benefit, public awareness, public product). Remain sensitive to price resistance, but also remain competitive.
        2. Maximize products on small, niche-market products (e.g., member marketing materials, public awareness materials) and continue the low-print run, aggressive pricing model currently in place.
        3. In general, price products and services to increase net revenues without discouraging sales and provide needed information.
      3. Promotional Strategy
        1. For Products (Basic Strategy):
          1. Direct (email) marketing, online marketing (e.g., [internal] banner ads), interactive web catalog and brochures.
          2. Proactive customer service reps equipped with scripts for cross-selling and up-selling products.
          3. Explore “meet-the-author” and other promotional events.
          4. Expand product lines tying all products together and repackaging for different markets.
          5. Press releases to lists.
          6. Retail store locations at ALA’s two conferences and other major conferences as appropriate.
        2. For Subscriptions (Basic Strategy):
          1. Direct (email) marketing, online marketing (e.g., banner ads), advertisements within online newsletters, discussion groups.
          2. Electronic and print media kits to facilitate ad agency placement.
          3. xhibition space at ALA conference for publications.
        3. For Advertising (Basic Strategy):
          1. Managing the editorial calendar to maximize advertising opportunities, such as with special issues.
          2. Seeking out niche advertisers that might not otherwise advertise with the higher priced professional magazines.
          3. Seeking out other associations whose products/memberships may overlap.
          4. Seeking out companies/associations seeking inexpensive advertising opportunities (AN2, ALCTS Online Newsletter) and specialty market (LRTS).
        4. Beyond the Basics...
          1. Create more online promotions through ALCTS site, publications, and lists.
          2. Improve and expand e-commerce marketing program with quicker, targeted, more efficient advertising and product ordering/fulfillment.
          3. Experiment with email blasts.
          4. Carefully cultivate international sales via the web site and technological innovations regarding electronic transmission and rights management.
          5. Set up co-op website ads at related sites (education sites, publisher newsletters, services, new products).
          6. Develop joint marketing ventures for journals with related marketing operations (e.g., technical services book publishers, LAMA, RUSA).
          7. Expand direct mail/e-mail efforts to tangential markets (library support staff, students).
          8. Increase paid circulation for member-based publications.
      4. Distribution Strategy
        1. Capitalize on cost-effectiveness of smaller targeted and print-on-demand publications.
        2. Capitalize on the technological and competitive advantages of ALA Edition’s outsourced fulfillment and other commercial partnerships.
        3. Move toward quick-to-market production philosophy.
        4. Continue experimenting with print-on-demand distribution, remote printing on demand, whereby we transmit an electronic file and the customer prints on location, and online downloaded content.
        5. Partnerships/licensing arrangements with electronic content distributors.
      5. Marketing Programs
        1. Online banner ads (internal & external).
        2. Rate cards for selling magazine advertising space.
        3. ALA Store at ALA conference.
        4. Target email blasts.
        5. Internal list ads.
        6. Special package rates (subscription for guides, library info/public awareness publications).
    4. Strategic Alliances
      1. Print/electronic alliances with database and library technology vendors.
      2. Licensing educational content to online education vendors.
      3. Member committees and program participants.
      4. ALA Editions
      5. Scarecrow
      6. Other ALA publishing units (RUSA, LAMA)
    5. Milestones
      1. In addition to revenue and expense data available from accounting and finance, Track the following milestones:
        Paid circulation averages

        Average revenue per subscriber
        Renewal rates
        Direct mail response rates
        Number of orders

        Number of orders
        Average revenue per order
        Frontlist revenue ratio
        Returns ratio
        New titles published
        Cost of sales ratio
        Average unit cost
        Inventory value
        Additions to inventory
        Contracts signed
        Web Hits
  5. Management Summary
    1. Organizational Structure
      1. ALCTS Publishing
        1. ALCTS Executive Director
          ALCTS Online Newsletter
          Books (e.g. Series, Guides, Directories)
        2. The Publications Committee is a division committee that is responsible for setting the framework within which ALCTS publishing operates and is also responsible for control of the ALCTS imprint.
        3. Section Publication Committee Chairs are liaisons to the Publications Committee.
        4. Editor of the ALCTS Paper Series is an ex-officio member on the Publications Committee.
        5. The editor of Library Resources and Technical Services is an ex-officio member on the Publications Committee and Publications Committee Chair is liaison to LRTS Editorial Board.
        6. Editor of ALCTS Newsletter Online is an ex-officio member on the Publications Committee.
        7. Web Publications Editor is an ex-officio member on the Publications Committee.
        8. ALCTS Publications Assistant is the ALCTS office liaison to the Publications Committee, Section Publications Committees, and Editors. The Publications Assistant is the primary ALCTS Publishing contact person.
        9. ALCTS Publications will use services, as needed, from ALA Production Services, ALA Graphics, and ALA Reprographics when self-publication is not applicable, ALCTS serves as an agent to ALA Editions (for right of 1st approval) and other publishing houses.
        10. Benson, Coffee, and Associates is ALCTS’ advertising sales representative for its journals.
  6. Financial Plan
    1. Important Assumptions
      1. Economy is expected to slow down in the near term of 2002 and 2003 (Congressional Budget Office August 2001 projections).
      2. Advertising will be hardest hit.
      3. Postal increases will continue.
      4. A new breed of library professional that will be more technology savvy and have a different value set will replace an aging/retiring profession. This will affect their participation and buying behaviors.
      5. Membership will increase and average age will go down.
      6. Number of MLS degrees will remain about constant.
      7. MLS graduates seeking work in non-traditional library settings.
      8. Proportion of professionals to non-professionals will decrease.
      9. Increase in technology/electronic purchases will continue, especially in academic markets.
      10. Increasing globalization.
      11. Subscription levels, and revenues, will continue to decline slightly.