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 242 posts for The Scholarly Kitchen

MOOCs Rise from the Ashes

The MOOCs seem to have faded from view. In large part this is because they were so relentlessly overhyped when they first appeared. But now various forms of online education have begun to get traction in the marketplace. An essay by Clay Shirky points out how online education is operating today and its implications for higher education. Continue reading

People Make the Difference: Steering a Start-up to Success

A panel at the Charleston conference featured three CEOs of start-ups, who shared their experiences in creating and running a completely new organization. All of these companies are computationally sophisticated, so advanced technologically that it is hard to image established companies taking on their challenges. Another common theme is the importance of hiring and retaining the very best people, a matter in which start-up CEOs tend to be obsessive. Continue reading

Notes on Publishing in an Emerging Economy

Well-intended government policy in an Eastern European nation is having unexpected results on school publishing, some of which are the precise opposite of what policymakers had hoped for. The problem is that those who draft policy have little imagination about how new programs will be taken up–and altered–in the marketplace. Continue reading

Return of the Big Brands: How Legacy Publishers Will Coopt Open Access

Open access publishing has gone through a number of stages. Though different people will classify these stages in diverse ways, one way to view this is to say that since the initial period of advocacy for open access, commercial interests have entered this market and are now prepared to augment their positions by leveraging their elite brands, using them, as it were, to draw manuscripts for a family of cascading products. Continue reading

Libraries and Consortia in the Context of a Publisher’s Strategy

Professional societies are facing growing resistance to place their publications in libraries. This results in these societies seeking arrangements with the largest commercial publishers, whose sway with libraries and especially library consortia is significant. Libraries have demonstrated a clear preference to work with the larger publishers over the smaller ones. This leads to increasing concentration and market power in the academic publishing industry. Continue reading

What Is “Publishing” if Even a Library Can Do It?

Libraries increasingly provide a wide range of publishing activities, but are there some areas where libraries are not active? It appears that libraries are unlikely to play a large role in publishing that is based on end-user demand. Continue reading

Looking to the Future of Narrative

The novelist Iain Pears has produce a book on an interactive app, noting that his work had come up against the limitations of the printed page. What are the implications of experiments in narrative form for other kinds of publishing? Continue reading

Amazon and the Future of Work

Amazon was recently criticized harshly in an article in the New York Times. The piece raises the question of whether the hard-charging culture of the tech industry is what we want. Continue reading

Interstitial Publishing

Interstitial publishing, when paired with interstitial reading, is a new form of publishing that aims to take advantage of what previously was viewed as lost time in between primary events during the day. Interstitial publishing seeks ways to create new users by creating content expressly for those brief moments, which heretofore went unexploited for productive aims. Continue reading

What They Still Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School

A recent article about the publishing industry confuses the various business segments and offers prescriptions that are largely irrelevant to the task of running a publishing enterprise. Continue reading

Summertime and the Reading Is Easy

My nominee for a summer reading book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. This is a humorous book set in San Francisco. It playfully describes the clash between the new technology and the old world of printed books. Continue reading

Thinking about Internet Scale

The Internet operates on a scale unlike anything we have seen before. How must publishing adapt to this scale? This requires more than thinking of the Internet as another format. The scale of the Internet requires us to invite machines into our research and publishing activity. Continue reading

The Gatekeeper  Strategy in the Library Market

EBSCO is now, through the acquisition of YBP, the largest vendor to academic libraries of both serials and books. This is the beginning of a gatekeeper strategy, which will put EBSCO in a position to mediate a large proportion of the arrangements between publishers and libraries. Continue reading

How Does the University Press Remain Relevant?

The university press world is ruminating on its relevance in a broader community that does not always show strong report for press activity. Different presses have identified a number of approaches to the problem of increasing relevance. Continue reading

The Mixed Marriage of For-profit and Not-for-profit Publishing

Scholarly publishing is virtually unique in that it has significant representation by both for-profit and not-for-profit publishers. This alters the very nature of this segment of publishing, making the not-for-profits more business-like and forcing the for-profits to behave at times like mission-based organizations. Continue reading

Connecting to End-Users

Digital media enables us to collect a huge amount of end-user data, far more than we could gather for print publishing. This presentation summarizes the way that data can be used to foster growth and concludes that end-user data is likely to require the creation of a new class of products. Continue reading

Can We Stop Talking about the “System” of Scholarly Communications, Please?

There are countless proposals for a new “system” for scholarly communications, but such plans are typically top-down and overlook all the creative initiatives by individuals working independently. Continue reading

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

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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.
The Scholarly Kitchen is a moderated and independent blog. Opinions on The Scholarly Kitchen are those of the authors. They are not necessarily those held by the Society for Scholarly Publishing nor by their respective employers.

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