Over the past decade, Wiley has taken advantage of the opportunities created by evolving technology to develop accessible and discoverable content and services while addressing different reading preferences and learning styles.
Wiley Online Library hosts one of the world’s most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering the life, health, and physical sciences, social sciences, and humanities, delivering seamless, integrated access to more than 4 million articles from 1,500 journals, 10,000 books, and hundreds of multi-volume reference works, laboratory protocols, and databases. Wiley Online Library replaced Wiley InterScience, which launched in 1999. This year we also celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Online Books offering.
Over the past 24 months, there has been explosive growth in the eBook channel due to the proliferation of better, more affordable smartphones, eBook readers, and tablets. It is clear that professionals and consumers value the immediacy and portability. Wiley is meeting the demand for eBooks with approximately 23,000 titles available in a range of eBook formats. When this year’s holiday season saw eReaders and tablets as the “must-have” gift, we were ready, converting thousands more backlist titles to eBooks, available across all renditions. The success of this project has proven the enduring demand for our deep backlist, which is a Wiley hallmark.
WileyPLUS is our next-generation online teaching and learning environment. It replaces the print text in an online environment by re-formatting the content into learning paths for students, and it integrates tutorials, self-quizzes, and instant feedback on homework and practice. In addition, our Wiley Custom Select service enables instructors to create their own custom print or eBook textbooks online by choosing chapters from our textbooks and lab manuals and adding their own material. Responding to strong instructor interest, we have added the ability to select sub-chapter level content and edit publisher materials.
The increasing shift to knowledge-based economies, rising investments in research and education, the growing emphasis on outcomes-based learning, the escalating need for professional development and certification, and the growth of new and emerging markets as a source of revenue and content are fueling an even greater need for Wiley’s brand of refined content and services.
Many of the changes in our markets create opportunities to extend our leading brands into new products and services. Our core strategy continues to be offering professional and lifelong learning communities the expert knowledge they need in the format they want, print or digital, wherever they are. One way we do this is through vertical Web sites providing a concentrated experience with multiple products and services for software developers, travelers, HR professionals, and others. We are developing further vertical Web sites in subject areas such as finance and accounting, architecture, technology, and leadership.
Wiley is serving the growing emphasis in higher education on outcomes-based learning. An efficacy study conducted last year in collaboration with the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Assessment and Evaluation found that students using WileyPLUS at two-year institutions improved their results by a full letter grade, and their counterparts at four-year institutions improved theirs by a half-grade. WileyPLUS also helps less-prepared students catch up to their peers.
The launch of Wiley Online Library last summer dramatically improved user experience, functionality, and search and elevated Wiley to the position of second-most-visited academic publisher on the Web, according to the Alexa Web traffic metrics service. Wiley Online Library’s searchable, browseable online formats enable scientists, researchers, academics, and professionals worldwide to discover and access the information they need, whenever they need it, wherever they need it.
Because no one can predict the exact direction or pace of change, our short- and long-term strategies enable us to keep up with the demand for print while investing in innovative technology-enabled products and services and production and distribution capabilities that allow us to do what we can’t do with print on paper.
Years of developing and selling books have established successful, print-driven practices. The new online products and services we are developing are not simply digital facsimiles of print books; they require unique processes from end to end. We have accommodated changes in the past decade or so by modifying our existing processes and systems to support our growing digital and global business.
We are now engaging in a business support transformation initiative to implement a global, scalable, platform-neutral infrastructure that will allow us to enable multi-output, digital-first publishing, more customization, and flexible pricing models. It will prepare us to engage directly with our authors, readers, and partners; meet their needs; and feed their hunger for technology-enabled products and services.
Our increased focus on publishing in a digital environment has led to the development and employment of colleagues with technological capabilities. We have been investing heavily in talent development throughout global Wiley, and those investments are enabling us to transition from a print publisher to an online content publisher providing content and services in multiple formats across multiple platforms to customers around the world.
While much of Wiley’s growth will be driven by digital products, we are not projecting a decline in prints sales, at least not in the short term.
Changes in the product lifecycle of our print business are yielding benefits to customers, colleagues, and Wiley’s bottom line. Advances in print technology allow shorter print runs, enabling us to keep titles in print indefinitely. Management of printing on a global as-needed basis and optimal inventory management enable us to fulfill orders to customers’ exact specifications and deliver products quickly and efficiently.
Not only is this good for business, it’s good for the environment. By being more strategic about where we print, how much, and when, we’re able to better control inventory and minimize potential waste. File sharing and printing closer to a warehouse or the customer mean we can reduce packing, shipping, storage, and, ultimately, our carbon footprint.
The attributes that have made Wiley successful over the past two decades — our focus on meeting the needs of our customers, the power of enduring and collaborative relationships with stakeholders, our deep reservoir of high-quality content, our performance-driven culture — continue to be vital to our future.
Wiley-Blackwell’s position as the premier publishing partner for scholarly societies is the result of a combination of our powerful worldwide resources and a strong service culture that helps more than 750 societies better serve their members and their communities, especially through opportunities presented by advances in digital technology. We offer a suite of services that cover far more than traditional publishing, including consultation on branding/franchising, new products/services, e-engagement strategies, and more.
A key strength is our multi-channel distribution strategy, through traditional bricks and mortar, online retailers, our own and third-party Web sites, and into libraries and higher education. We do this around the world. We continue to explore new channels and work closely with intermediaries to ensure we have the marketing and merchandising strategies in place to make all our products and services discoverable and accessible.
We have always prided ourselves on our commitment to our customers and truly understanding their needs. A new version of WileyPLUS is launching this fall with major enhancements that were guided by an extensive student workflow study and are designed to more effectively engage students and reduce their anxiety. We have broken the content into smaller chunks, with learning objectives, customized learning paths, practice tests, progress evaluations, and a calendar to track course due dates.
Wiley’s able and talented colleagues around the world continue to be connected by a robust and admired culture, a culture that has produced a new generation of leadership.
Wiley’s new leaders are all products of the Company’s professional development and succession planning programs. We are now in the process of offering leadership training to 250 high-potential colleagues utilizing a customized version of our market-leading Kouzes and Posner’s The Leadership Challenge with its online Leadership Practices Inventory instrument.
On May 1, 2011, Stephen M. Smith became Wiley’s 11th President and CEO, succeeding William J. Pesce, who retired after 22 years of service to our Company. Steve has been with Wiley for 18 years and in that time has led our Asian, Australian, and European operations and our worldwide publishing business.
Mark Allin, Steven Miron, and Joseph Heider assumed the leadership of Wiley’s Professional/Trade; Scientific, Technical, Medical, and Scholarly; and Global Education businesses, respectively, over the past year. All long-time Wiley colleagues, they have played key roles in developing Wiley’s strategic direction.
Our investments in people, technology, and new content, products, services, and capabilities will help us continue to fulfill our important mission to contribute to advances in knowledge and understanding around the world.
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