We just finished up the first phase of our Paperight project, and are very excited to be moving forward! This is our internal report on the status of content on the Paperight site, and how we hope to grow it in the coming months. As always, we value your thoughts and feedback – so feel free to leave us a comment and say that you stopped by!
In the first phase of Paperight’s development, Project Dagobah, the broad goal of the Paperight content team was to have 1000 products listed on Paperight.com in four months (November 2011-February 2012). The aim was to source and provide valuable product items, which would not only be of value to the Paperight customer, but which would also make the concept of Paperight more tangible to publishers.
The “victory condition” for this aspect of Project Dagobah, then, was that 1000 valuable product items be available on Paperight.com by the 29th February 2012. This goal was officially met on the 28th of February 2012, with 1001 product items (Woo!).
Reaching this target required research of product leads, sourcing of documents, compilation of metadata, and the listing of each product on Paperight.com, in addition to the prepping of documents for sale via the site. A visualisation of the total time spent on each of these tasksets, relative to each other, is provided below.
Research & analysis of product items now listed on Paperight.com
The product items currently listed on Paperight.com are predominantly works that are in the public domain, but do include some exclusively licensed items that we have acquired a license to distribute. The decision to source from free and available content online was one borne out of the need to acquire a substantial database of products within a short timeframe. The table below roughly illustrates the composition of the current Paperight products database, based on year of publication.
The majority of these works were sourced by combing through lists of “popular/top”, “most downloaded”, and “most purchased” lists on various websites which sell or offer free access to public domain works. Other resources used for sourcing product leads included public domain curation and review websites, as well as compiled lists of the “best books of all time”, setwork lists, and the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners’ list (links to each of these resources can be found on the Paperight Wiki). Given that Paperight is only beginning to flourish, it was not practical to attempt market research with bonafide Paperight users. Thus, these online resources have been used as a proxy for potential Paperight users, and have given us a clearer indication of the genres and authors that online buyers have shown interest in. While the Paperight service is an offline one, we believe that there will be similarities and significant overlap between the preferences of Paperight users and those of online buyers.
In further trying to demonstrate to composition of the current Paperight product database, we have created three additional data visualisations. The first provides an overview of the number of books per genre, currently listed on the Paperight website. These genres are also represented as separate and searchable categories on Paperight.com. The second and third charts show the composition of sub-genres within two of the primary genres of ‘fiction’ and ‘non-fiction’.
The Paperight Content Team ‘TA-DA!’ list
As of the 29th February 2012, the Paperight Content Team has:
- Researched, sourced, compiled metadata for, and listed 1000 product items on Paperight.com.
- Designed and implemented the first phase taxonomy for the Paperight website, based on the selected categorization of products on Paperight.com.
- Aided in the production of the first Paperight catalogue poster, including designing of covers, and preparation of Paperight Edition novels.
The graph below shows the current stages of completion of products currently being processed.
Looking to the future
While the resources listed above have provided us with product leads that are highly likely to be valuable, it is important to keep analysing, curating, and growing Paperight’s product database according to what Paperight users instil value in – a mandate which can only be achieved through a close working relationship between the content team and the outlet management and support team.
As we grow the Paperight product database it will be important to continuously ask ourselves the following questions (which apply to the individual product items, as well as the web-content and metadata that describes them):
- Is the product, as well as the metadata describing it appropriate for Paperight, for Paperight users, and for our context? (This applies to method of delivery, style, structure, and substance).
- Is the product, as well as the metadata describing it useful?
- Is the product, as well as the metadata describing it user-centred, and easy for the user to access and understand? Are they spending the least amount of time possible on the site?
- Is the metadata clear, concise, and organised in a way that makes it easy to use? Are we publishing everything we can? Or are we publishing what we have learnt that our users really need? There is such a thing as too much content (in terms of metadata).
- Is the content supported? Content needs to be systematically revised, nurtured, cut-back and maintained.
Keeping sight of these questions as we move forward, and implementing the principles they embody will help to ensure that the products we provide on Paperight.com are what the users want to buy.