‘A relationship with new English language readers’
“China is a key focus for Pan Macmillan,” said PanMac’s international director Jonathan Atkins in a prepared statement, “and we are very excited by the potential for growth in this most dynamic market. This partnership with Trajectory, whose innovative and pioneering approach has opened many doors in China, will enable us to build a relationship with new English language readers and further develop that potential.”
The deal sees Trajectory globally distributing PanMac UK’s English-language ebooks to online retailers, libraries, schools, and to “alternative and other digital distribution channels.”
A key element here is the NLP or natural language processing algorithms that Trajectory has developed as an edge in many international distribution deals, particularly in China. The system “reads” books to analyze their text in terms of myriad “vectors.”
One result: a potential for reader recommendations based not on a customer’s past purchase records but on the actual content of previously read work. Another application of this technology is the ability to deepen the metadata built around titles that are crossing linguistic borders. Thus, a Chinese reader intersted in English-language titles on a given subject can more easily find the right books because the Trajectory system has correlated English-language metadata with Mandarin parallels.
“Trajectory’s Natural Language Processing engine is able to generate keywords in Chinese, Spanish, German, English and other languages so that readers can locate books of interest,” says a statement from Trajectory’s representatives in Boston, “The Trajectory NLP technology is part of the new agreement with Pan Macmillan and key to international digital distribution.”
- Trajectory c.e.o. Jim Bryant and chief content officer Scott Beatty will speak at Frankfurt Book Fair on Friday 16th October (3 p.m.) in a “Hug the Alien” session at Buchmesse’s Business Club, describing the “intelligent network,” as they call it, that the combination of NLP capabilities and ebook distribution channels is creating.
- They’re also on the roster for Frankfurt’s The Markets Conference, on 13th October, during which their specializations in the Chinese arena will factor into their presentations on the trade there.
A ‘multi-channel approach’
In a statement on the PanMac arrangement — among Trajectory’s biggest yet in Big Five trade — Bryant said, “The market in China and the world for prominent titles in English is tremendous. The Chinese eBook market today and other territories within our network are growing rapidly with many readers consuming eBooks on their mobile devices.”
Bryant has been named a senior consultant to the China Ministry of Culture to advise on international digital export opportunities. While at the Beijing International Book Fair, he and/or Beatty will be featured on three panels
For his part, Beatty, who spoke to The FutureBook this week while traveling, said in his statement, “Our multi-channel approach is well suited for Pan Macmillan to reach the international market. China is the second largest publishing market in the world and one that cannot be ignored.
“Reaching readers simply through a handful of ebook retailers is not sufficient.
“A multi-channel, multi-device, international approach serves both readers and publishers in the most efficient manner.”
Beatty likes to talk about 230,000 “digital endpoints” in the Trajectory system, by which he means potential points of sale and/or usage. In some cases, for example, these may be educational settings or libraries, all of them supported by the semantic analysis engines that parse the textual elements of books and compare the results with other books’ features. That analysis-distribution combination has led, for example, to partnerships with the massive Tencent Literature based in Shanghai and the Beijing-based Xiaomi.
By Porter Anderson Follow @Porter_Anderson