Joseph Esposito

I am a management consultant working primarily in the world of digital media, software, and publishing. My clients include both for-profits and not-for-profits. A good deal of my activity concerns research publishing, especially when the matter at issue has to do with the migration to digital services from a print background. Prior to setting up my consulting business, I served as CEO of three companies (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Tribal Voice, and SRI Consulting), all of which I led to successful exits. Typically I work on strategy issues, advising CEOs and Boards of Directors on direction; I also have managed a number of sticky turnarounds. Among other things, I have been the recipient of grants from the Mellon, MacArthur, and Hewlett Foundations, all concerning research into new aspects of publishing.
Joseph Esposito has written 225 posts for The Scholarly Kitchen

An Archaeology of Discovery

How valuable is the brand? It depends on the ecosystem or publishing epoch. Brands were the hallmark of the print era, but with the advent of new publishing paradigms, brands now compete with other useful means to identify materials. Continue reading

Putting Publishers’ Views of Libraries into Context

A presentation delivered to the International Coalition of Library Consortia, the thesis of which is that libraries and consortia have adopted policies that inadvertently marginalize smaller publishers, to the advantage of the largest publishers. Continue reading

The Half-life of Print

Popular discussion of the enduring popularity of print often obfuscate the business issues of managing a company that is transitioning from print to digital. Continue reading

The Enduring Mystery of the Academic Book Market

New research on book publishing shows that ebook usage is growing and that the academic and professional segment is maturing, while still growing at a steady pace. Continue reading

The Ubiquitous Bookstore

There is much discussion now about creating new online bookstores, especially for academic publishers. Some of these discussions, however, are not aligned with overarching trends on the Internet and risk creating something that appears to be out of date the moment it is launched. Continue reading

More Consolidation in the Publishing Business

Rakuten, the owner of Kobo, has acquired OverDrive, a leading library ebook vendor. The implications of this deal will ripple through the industry and require many players to reevaluate their strategies. Continue reading

Getting Beyond “Post and Forget” Open Access

Even open access advocates should support the commercialization of materials that are OA, as such commercialization can lead to enhanced discovery of scientific materials. Continue reading

What We Got Wrong About Books

Lack of information about how books are actually used has resulted in a set of actions that don’t make solid economic sense. Now that more end-user information is becoming available, the book business is likely to adjust its practices. Continue reading

The Context of Scientific Publishing

A presentation to a scientific society on the current environment that STM publishers have to work in. Five issues are identified: regulatory matters, new technology, the structure of the marketplace, competition, and governance. Continue reading

What Would It Cost to Buy Everything?

What would it cost for someone to acquire a full set of all peer-reviewed journals, including backfiles? This question was put to a number of experts, but there appears to be no answer to it. We don’t know what everything would cost. Continue reading

The Elephant in the Room Is a Phone

Publishers have underestimated how disruptive mobile technology potentially can be. We are likely to see an entirely new ecosystem develop with the smart phone at the center. Continue reading

When Is a Feature a Product, and a Product a Business?

Publishers have to distinguish between features, products, and businesses. Not all features can become full-fledged businesses. Sometimes the best business case for a feature is to link it to an established business, where it adds value to assets that are already in place. Continue reading

Big Sister: Some Beneficial Aspects of Collecting User Data

The collection of end-user data is going to become more important for all publishers and may serve to describe those publishers that will be most successful in the coming years. Although data-collection is often thought to be a malignant instance of “Big Brotherism,” it may in fact be benign when implemented thoughtfully. Continue reading

Birds Do It, Bees Do It

We are likely to see increased mergers and acquisitions activity in the publishing world this year, and scholarly publishing is not exempt from this. There are many reasons for this, including such fundamental factors as low interest rates, but one reason is the growth of open access mandates from funding agencies, which is disrupting the way many organizations do business. Continue reading

Making a Case for Open Access

Some professional societies need to be persuaded that open access publishing may be in their interest. The best way to do this is to provide data on the publishing ecosystem, including such things as the number of articles of interest to a society that appear in other venues and the practical implications of not having an OA option for prospective authors. Continue reading

Getting the University Presses Back in the Game

University presses have long had programs in journal publishing, but some of these programs have declined a bit in recent years. There are steps a press can take to strengthen its journal publishing program. Continue reading

Stick To Your Ribs: A Library Card Under the Christmas Tree

Revisiting a holiday classic: ‘Twas the month before Christmas, and by listening hard, you can hear Joe Esposito yearn for a library card. The reasons are simple, yet give publishers pause. No wonder Joe’s only hope is with Santa Claus. Continue reading

Workflow without Strategy is a Dead End

The analysis of workflow is a primary activity for many publishers today, but new workflows can only lead us to where we have already been. We have to get beyond analyzing workflow and focus instead on new product development. Continue reading

Additive, Substitutive, Subtractive

It is often argued that open access will reduce the overall cost of scholarly communications, but this article proposes that OA will be additive to the size of the current market. Continue reading

Researching Amazon and Libraries

Announcing a research project to study how many academic books Amazon sells to libraries. Continue reading

Side Dishes by Stewart Wills

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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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