Archive for the ‘Sameer Shariff’ Category

Impelsys exhibits at Society for Scholarly Publishing 2014

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

In May this year, Impelsys for the first time, participated in SSP’s 36th Annual Meeting at Boston. Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP), a nonprofit organization that promotes cross-sector communication among the scholarly publication community, represents publishers, printers, e-products developers, technical service providers, librarians, and editors.

Over the years, Impelsys has forged strong partnerships with leading association and society publishers. The SSP Meeting was a great platform for us to meet and interact with these publishers. There is so much knowledge within this community; it is imperative for them to consolidate all their content and put a digital strategy in place so they can offer it to their members and readers from one single point.

Our conversations with many associations and societies became a good source of information, concerns and insights. The three days of insightful seminars, sessions, and networking opportunities were highly enriching. Impelsys showcased its KnowledgePlatform capabilities and received a great amount of interest and response from the publishers. Developed to meet diverse content requirements, this easily customizable, cutting-edge platform solution combines multiple content assets including books, journals, reference works, multimedia and online courses.

This year’s event was a gala affair, as SSP 2014 saw a record-breaking attendance of over 900 people. The event also saw an increased number of vendors exhibiting, some of whom were new (like us) to the meeting.

The Impelsys team had a great time at SSP 2014 and we hope to meet with all the association and society publishers soon again.

We will also be present at Frankfurt Book Fair in October this year. Hope to see you there!

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How Digital Reading and Adaptive Learning Are Revolutionizing Education

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

A study conducted across the United States revealed that higher education institutions faced instructional and learning challenges—almost 25% of freshmen dropout of college in the first semester.

Full-time students today reportedly studied for an average of 14 hours per week, when compared to students in 1971, who studied for 24 hours per week.

The industry is observing a shift from just books to education. Publishers are looking at ways to offer content that enables highly adaptive learning experiences. The proportion of Americans reading ebooks in 2013 has shot up to 28% from 23% in 2012, paving way for the popularity of e-reading and e-learning.

Now, almost 50% of Americans have either a tablet or e-reader, up from 43% in 2013, and even more significantly from 2012.

With the rise in e-reader and tablet ownership, most users aged 18 and above use handheld devices for e-reading. This has proven to be beneficial for adaptive learning, with students carrying their iPads, tablets, and smartphones to classrooms.

Modern technology is transforming digital education beyond just online learning to a more personalized learning experience. It is expected that over the period 2013-2018, the global eLearning market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.23%.

Adaptive learning is the latest trend to gain momentum in 2013. The concept is moderated and delivered based on the student’s knowledge consumption capability. It includes specifically designed targeted study paths that help enhance students’ understanding of subjects.

This is an expanding area of research and development, which uses sophisticated algorithm technology to continually assess students’ confidence levels, knowledge, and skills. It works in the similar way as that of the traditional form of teaching. Adaptive learning technology offers smart study tools to engage and assist students in their learning outside of the classroom. Moreover, it helps them in understanding the areas where improvement is required. Easily downloadable, it empowers students to drive their learning by this intelligently advanced technology. The system also keeps a track of individual student progress and, based on their performance, periodic progress reports are generated. It also supports instructors’ teaching goals. Many institutions are incorporating this modern method of learning.

Having collaborated with a number of big names in the publishing industry, we at Impelsys have gained insights about various reading and buying behaviors of readers across the world. By putting our wealth of experience and knowledge to work, we have developed our breakthrough platforms – iPublishCentral and KnowledgePlatform. With our platform solutions, we are anticipating a convergence in learning. We will soon be at a stage where through our range of flexible solutions, we will be able to empower publishers and educational institutions to not just deliver books but also deliver an online learning experience.

iPublishCentral offers enriched eBooks with a robust Learning Plan Integration (LPI). Our latest innovation of the LPI with eBooks takes digital learning to the next level. These eBooks empower publishers to offer a great interactive learning experience to readers. This helps readers access content from eBooks to create their own learning plan.

With learners and instructors consuming content online, adaptive learning is emerging as an efficient, flexible, and modern alternative for enhanced learning.

This blog was featured in Digital Book World:

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Frankfurt Book Fair 2013: Digital is Growing Up!

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

I have been attending the Frankfurt Book Fair for many years now. Many of you might agree with me when I say that there was a definite decline in the hustle-bustle during the first few days of the “Messe.” Although despite the calm, one could easily spot the influence of digital publishing everywhere. I believe, we are witnessing a maturity in the industry today – a growth in eBook revenues, widespread acceptance of digital business models and maturity in digital publishing processes. It’s now safe to say that digital is growing up!

PWC’s 2013 reports state that the size of the U.S. eBook market is at a $4.6 billion and the print market has stumbled down to $10.7 billion from last year’s $11.8 billion. This data reflect that there has been a rise in digital consumption and also that more publishers are investing in eBooks confidently. While print is still a large chunk of their business, publishers have implanted strong digital pursuits to meet the growing demands of the industry. The fact that the Fair was calmer than the previous years shows us that publishers are a lot more in control of their digital plans. Everyone has their own initiatives going.

The calm also reflects that the sharp rise in digital that took the industry by storm over the last four-to-five years, has reached a stage of maturity. Digital won’t stop growing but the growth will be a lot more paced now. The slowdown in the manic growth in eBooks along with visible revenue results from their digital initiatives has comforted publishers as they now understand the medium better and are a lot more prepared to tackle digital challenges. What was once a 1%-to-2% share of their total book business revenues has now elevated to 20%-to-30% and in a couple of years from now is expected to be a 50% revenue generator for publishers around the world. This reflects the widespread acceptance of digital as a “must have” business model complementing their book business.

There is a maturity in digital processes as well. What publishers are looking at right now is how to bridge the gap and draw a perfect balance of both – print and digital business models. It’s important for to find solutions that can marry the two in a beneficial, complimenting manner. Within the digital business itself, publishers can open up multiple avenues to best suit their specific requirements. We have been working with some of the biggest publishers in the world and have witnessed the sequential change in their wish-list; starting from doing something ‘digital’ to catering to specific target audiences (retail/institutional) to working with us on innovative ways of promoting their online content and to making their content rich, reachable and remarkable (enhanced eBooks for devices).

All in all, the Impelsys team had a great time at the Fair and we noticed a reduction in digital anxiousness and an evident rise in digital acceptance. We were happy to be recognized as thought leaders and we — along with our customers — are very excited to push forward in connecting with our consumers through content digitally.

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Apple Sets its Sights on the eTextbook Market

Friday, January 20th, 2012

On January 19th, Apple set off shockwaves in the educational publishing world when it unveiled its new iBooks 2 software platform. The latest version of iBooks made headlines because it represents Apple’s initial foray into the world of eTextbooks.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, made the company’s ambitions crystal clear during his remarks at the Guggenheim Museum in New York: “We want to reinvent the textbook,” said Schiller. He explained that all eTextbooks sold through the new iPad app are priced at $14.99 or less, a huge contrast to the high-priced paper books that currently fill college bookstores.

Apple’s announcement of their entry into the eTextbook market – in which they are initially partnering with leading publishers Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin – has created a wave of speculation as to what it means for everyone involved in the textbook market. What is clear is that it will create a surge in the adoption of the iPad, which will put it further ahead of its rivals in the tablet space. More importantly, Apple’s move has raised the bar by addressing users directly with the creation of a highly rich and interactive reading experience at a low price point.

Just as the emergence of the Kindle accelerated the adoption of eBooks for the trade publishing market, we see this initiative as having a massive positive impact on the adoption of eTextbooks within the student community. Publishers now have a huge opportunity to enhance their content and optimize their delivery to the iPad, thereby tapping into the fastest growing market in 2012.

We anticipate that there will be a surge in demand by publishers to create rich textbooks in the iBookstore and to scale production cost-effectively. We also believe that publishers who create iBooks 2 will want the same functionality across all other mobile devices. Moreover, Apple’s announcement will create another significant channel for eBook sales. Publishers should look to be present in all possible sales channels and continue to build direct relationships with their end users by delivering their eBooks through their own platforms – ideally, platforms that are mobile device agnostic.

In response to this rapidly emerging growth opportunity for publishers, we will soon be announcing a comprehensive service offering for publishers who are seeking to leverage this additional channel on the iBookstore. We believe that our 10 years of experience building eTextbooks and related multimedia applications for book publishers ideally position Impelsys to support iBooks authors and publishers so they can realize the full potential of this new software.

This is an extremely significant initiative by Apple and represents a tremendous opportunity for publishers globally. For more information on our thoughts regarding iBooks 2, our services and how we can help you, please email me at

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Books on the cloud

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Over the years, the Internet has grown into a large repository of data and information that can be accessed from anywhere through multiple devices. Today you no longer need to be seated at your personal computer to read your e-mail or book movie tickets. Instead you could be on the beach, at the playing field, at the airport or in another country.

It has been our vision that books, like all digital products should be accessible and available all the time. We have worked hard to build an infrastructure that ensures that we can provide this to our publishing customers, who in turn can ensure that their books reach their readers anywhere and at all times. We watch with confidence as the market takes shape and as this vision of books being on the cloud turns to reality in the months to come.

There are three main reasons why books on the cloud makes sense and I have outlined them below:

Consumer is King

Consumer expectation is to have services available all the time - from Webmail, to Google docs, to salesforce, to Evernote consumer expectation is that they will have their services accessible from anywhere and from any device. Companies that understand this and create this access entry point are guaranteed success. An example for me is a note taking service. I have used several note taking applications; I put notes on my mac, on my blackberry, my iPad too has a few note apps. And then, a few months back I discovered Evernote. This amazing web application, wins over every other note taking software as I can confidently use it knowing that I access all of my notes at anytime from any of my devices, no matter where I am.

Muti-device accessibility
with the speed at which technology is advancing, it is difficult to judge whether our lives are getting simpler or more complicated. Today, we use multiple, multipurpose devices, to stay connected. I have my laptop, my home desktop, my smartphone, my blackberry, my iPad and I work and live my daily life going between all these devices. For convenience sake I EXPECT my applications and software to work interchangeably between all these devices. While I might be an early adopter of technology, a few years down line, this just like e-mail being available everywhere will be a norm for most people.

Follow the Leader(s)

Amazon recently announced that they are launching the web based kindle. With this version, Amazon is now ensuring that their customer can access their eBooks from anywhere and on any device. I use a kindle and I expect to read my books on my iPad, my kindle or on my iPhone. As the market leader, Amazon is establishing a benchmark in the industry by providing this experience; a benchmark that all customers like me will expect to have when using books in the eWorld.

These norms will push publishers to deliver their content on the cloud, needing sophisticated technology to achieve the same. The good news is that there are companies like ours who can provide this infrastructure. This is just the beginning, once books are on the cloud; the opportunities for the publisher are innumerable. Publishers need to realize that this is the future and start implementing their cloud strategy immediately.

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What my 4 year old taught me about the iPad

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

The iPad has been around for more than four months now and after using it extensively for a multitude of purposes, here are some of my observations…

To start with, the iPad is not just a passing fad. Instead it is the birth of an entirely new category of devices; devices that, in the future, are going to be a majority. Steve Jobs has once again wowed us with more than just a beautifully designed product backed by meticulous marketing. He has in fact created a global phenomenon, one that everybody wants to be a part of.

Till date, Apple has sold over three million devices with millions more to soon be sold in countries all over the world. Citing a Forrester Research Report; Tablet PCs are expected to replace netbooks by 2012 to become a strong segment in the global PC market, and nearly one-fourth of personal computers in the US market will be tablets by 2015.

The second distinct feature of the iPad is its ability to instantly appeal and interact with almost anyone. Be it a 4 year old, a teenager, a grad student, a working professional, or a 74-year-old grandmother, the iPad appeals to everyone. The other day, I was at home watching a game on TV while my 4 year old daughter was clambering all over me, wanting to be entertained. Me, too involved in the game and not wanting to be distracted, opened up my iPad and tried to get her busy with one of the word building apps I had downloaded. Soon enough she figured she’d do better without my help and ran with my iPad to the far end of the room, sat herself in a corner and was engrossed in the game for the next 20 – 25 minutes.

This is just one example that further proves how fantastic this device is. Any device that can hold the attention of a 4 year old for more than 20 minutes is truly the future. The device finds its way into the lives of almost every individual and has an app to cater to almost any interest.

Third is the ease in which its intuitive touch based user interface facilitates interaction. The manner of interacting with this particular device takes us back to the basic, the natural dynamics of using our hands and fingers to interact with an object as compared to using mechanical devices such as a mouse or stylus to navigate.

Fourth is that this is a everything device. For me it’s a book, a magazine, a newspaper, a piano, a map, a video game player, a note pad, as an additional screen and much more. With the increasing number of apps, the functionality of the iPad is only going to increase, making it a necessity in our everyday lives. Fifteen years ago, no one imagined that cell phones would be such an important part of our everyday lives. I think this would be the case with tablet computers like the iPad too. Ten years down the line, we probably may never leave home without them.

Moving closer home to gauge the impact that this device has on publishing and the publishing industry brings me to my fifth observation. As technology partners for many leading publishing houses, this could be the device we have all been waiting for. The iPad allows us to do justice to our product offerings, taking learning and reading to a whole new level of engagement and interactivity.  It facilitates convenience for purchase and the ability to make impulse buys. Over the last month, many of the books I have bought have been the result of discussions and conversations with friends who have recommended a particular book or article and me buying the book then and there. An added advantage is that I have all my books and magazines in one place, and knowing that I can access all of my content at anytime, anywhere

This new category of devices is getting us closer than ever to the tipping point. We now have the device in place, information search in place, distribution through apps and eBookstores in place, as well as, the ease of payment through well established payment systems and infrastructure. For those of us in the Publishing industry - I’d say - The future has arrived.

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Crossing the finish line

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

On April 11th, I ran the Paris Marathon. An event that I trained for over the last six months.

As I was running the marathon, my mind went through all the effort that was needed to get ready for the race. Running 42 kilometers is not easy and it takes a toll on your body. The only way to be ready for it, is the preparation that is required months before the race. The preparation and the discipline to maintain your training schedule allows you to compete and potentially complete the race. My race was going well and I was on pace to get to my 4 hour goal when I hit the wall during the 38 km mark. My legs gave in and I was in severe pain. Physically my body was telling me to let up but mentally I knew that I could not stop because the finish line was so close. The last 4 kilometers was a mental vs. physical battle to get to the finish line. At the end I crossed the line achieving my time goal and gaining a personal victory for myself. Crossing the finish line was an incredible feeling of pure and unadulterated joy!

I realized while running the marathon that what we are building at Impelsys is also like a marathon.  We, at Impelsys have a clear goal in becoming the leader in supporting the global book publishing market to deliver and market their electronic content.  We are passionate and determined to get to the goal and win, not only for ourselves but for our publishing customers.  Our training in the “marathon of business” has been the effort that we have put over the last several years to study the transition of the publishing industry, to understand what traditional publishing was all about and to use this understanding to help them adapt and succeed in the electronic world.  In turn, helping them add revenues through new and previously unexplored business models and building the content delivery infrastructure for the online world.  Just as my marathon training required extreme discipline, achieving this vision too requires discipline, determination and an ever thirsty passion to succeed.

Our industry is a dynamic, ever-changing, ever-evolving one, where almost every day there is something new out there, something more that customers want and something better that someone else is doing.   In today’s competitive business world the secret ingredient to success is in having your consumers win. We have built our capabilities and dedicated our vision towards helping our clients’ win, by ensuring that their customers in turn win. We are determined and confident in getting to our finish line.

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TOC 2010. Everything I learned.

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

It’s been a month since the conference, and I still haven’t gotten over the whole “TOC experience”. My mind keeps going back to all the discussions we had, and I find myself constantly pondering over opinions expressed, predictions made and in general, visualizing what the outlook of our industry might look like few years down the line.

Having worked closely with the publishing industry for over a decade, it was both inspiring and exciting to see publishers from all around the world come together with the realization that change is here to stay. Encouraging, was to note how earnest publishers were towards understanding this change and the focus they have towards preparing themselves for the future.

In this blog, I would like to share a few anecdotes, and what I thought was especially interesting and defining for the future of our industry.  For the past ten years we have studied the dynamics of the publishing industry, its trends, changing reader habits and one session that struck an instant chord with me was by Peter Collingridge from Enhanced Editions. He describes the work he does as “tailor-making books for the iPhone, and the challenge that they set, on how to translate a book to a device in a way that creates a valuable new user experience and adds to the content. He highlighted the fact that the app was being offered as an ‘optional experience’. To quote him, “You don’t have to listen, or read and listen, or watch. Its how the reader wants it to be. We can build stuff around it and online – but the reading should be left between the reader and the content. The app is all about engagement with the content.” The key to their success here is their understanding and empathy towards the reader. His insight into reader behavior is an important lesson for all of us in the content business. The sure win sales strategy is to give your readers the content that they want.

Over the past couple of years we have seen the lightening quick pace at which the industry is evolving and this experience has helped us build innovative solutions such as reporting and data analytical tools that are helping publishers the world over take their publishing to a whole new level. As Tim O’Reilly mentioned in his session, today publishers have a better understanding of their markets with the help of data analytical tools and are building direct relationships with their readers. These tools enable publishers to put reader habits under the microscope, and use this information to tailor make content to suit the readers need. This and the ease through which they can convert their content into digital formats and deliver it through custom built platforms enable them to cash in on the opportunities that the web offers.

This year at TOC, I too had the opportunity to share my thoughts on ‘The new dynamics of publishing’ at the keynote and at a focused session on the ‘Next generation of ebooks’. Publishing has evolved, and now more than ever publishers need to focus on their core area of expertise - Content. Yet, understanding and exploiting the advancements in technology and reader demand and consumption habits could very well be the key factor that defines success. My belief is that in choosing the right strategic partners, publishers can remain focused on their core business, while still being able to implement the right technological strategies that keeps them at the top of their game.

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From Pong to Grover

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Last Tuesday, we proudly announced that Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind Sesame Street, has partnered with Impelsys to convert as many as 900 of its over 5,000 published books into eBooks. The deal got tremendous coverage in the media, that included a feature article in the Wall Street Journal which ran in the print edition of the WJS and on Impelsys was also featured in the Los Angeles Times, LiveMint, Gizmodo, MediaBistro and on ABC news.

We actively pursued this partnership with Sesame Street for more than a year because this deal represents the direction in which the industry is heading. The Kindle and Nook were important steps for the digital publishing industry, in the same way that Pong was a big step for the video game industry, but I contend that the best technology at the moment for digital books is one that most of us already have in our homes – the computer.

I believe that we can learn a great deal from the evolution of the video game industry. In 1975, Atari released the Home Pong console – a hardware-focused, one-dimensional product that captured our imaginations and helped spawn a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Pong was an important first step but in the end, the machine played one game and we needed gaming systems with more power, flexibility and interactivity.

The hardware (i.e. Xbox, Wii, PS3) remains important to this day, but its genius lies in the software that runs on these systems. For example, the Wii was a big development, but people loved it because we could go bowling in our living room or play tennis with our kids on a snowy day.

Whether playing Halo with a friend from China on PlayStation 3, doing exercises with your sister on Wii Fit or having Grover personally read for your 3-year old “The Monster at the end of this Book” on, consumers want a rich, interactive, 3D experiences, regardless of the gadget it comes in.

This partnership with Sesame Workshop is an important milestone for Impelsys and a great way to end a very productive 2009. I look forward to continuing to push the boundaries of digital publishing and providing publishers and content developers with technologies that enable interactivity and allow their businesses to grow in 2010 and beyond.

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The revolution will not be televised….but it will be available in e-book

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Over the past 8 years, we’ve heard countless reasons why e-books just won’t work. We’ve been advised that digital books will only be a niche market. We’ve been cautioned that e-books will spell the death of the industry.

Despite these well-intentioned opinions, we pressed on; building a platform for the masses and believing that this would be the next great chapter in the publishing industry’s proud history.

After last week’s Frankfurt Book Fair, I am proud to announce that the revolution is over and the future is finally here.

For five straight days, my team and I were in back-to-back (to-back) meetings with the world’s leading publishers talking about digital content delivery. We read innumerable stories about the revolution including the WSJ’s “E-books are hot topic at Frankfurt Book Fair” and the AP’s “E-books gain a foothold at Frankfurt Book Fair.” We even saw China play second fiddle to Google, Apple and Amazon.

Since the launch of iPublishCentral at FBF last year, the publishing industry and iPublishCentral have taken some significant steps forward. Over the past 12 months, more than 350 publishers from around the world, including the AMA, MIT Press, F+W Media, M.E. Sharpe, Marshall Cavendish and Vanderbilt University Press, have signed on to use iPublishCentral.

We’ve added support for content in multiple formats, multiple languages and for multiple mobile devices. We’ve increased reporting and analysis tools and have begun supporting various pricing models, including rentals.

What we’re most proud of is that iPublishCentral enables publishers of any size or in any location to make their content for sale online and to promote their brands and titles across the Web in a simple and cost-effective manner, with minimal up front investments and pay-as-you-go pricing.

I wanted to use this blog entry to thank our customers, our partners and the incredible team at iPublishCentral for their hard work and their dedication to this cause. There remains a great deal of work ahead of us, but the future is indeed bright.

Viva la revolution,

Sameer Shariff

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