INterview #1: Wizard Publications

One of the best parts of working at INscribe is the incredibly smart, business savvy client base we have.  We’ve always noted that it would be phenomenal to have a cocktail party where our clients could share great ideas with one another.  In that spirit, we are going to be posting some interviews with our clients:  I think you’ll be as impressed with your INscribe cohorts as we are! – The INscribe Team

We’re kicking this off with Lisa Pollak from Wizard Publications, the publishing house of the most popular Hawaii guides in the US.


What is your name, the name of your publishing company or agency, and what is your role within that organization?

Lisa Pollak, Wizard Publications, Inc. I am Director of Marketing.

What distinguishes your company and makes you proud to work there?

Our company publishes guidebooks, ebooks, and apps about the Hawaiian islands. What makes us unique is that we all live here and live our books. We present material to travelers in an unbiased fashion without any advertisers or agendas. We research everything there is to see and do in Hawaii (as well as the history) so that our readers can plan their best vacations—ever.

What excites you about the world of digital publishing?

Digital publishing for us has been exciting because we can use fewer resources to generate and distribute our books. That means they leave a smaller footprint on the environment.

What advice would you give to a new publisher or agent in this space?

Dive in, but do your homework, and don’t assume that what works in print will translate to digital directly. Our books use extensive graphics and references. We had to change our format and make sure the reader had at least the same experience, or better, using our digital products.

Where did you get started in converting your titles?  How did you decide to tackle your full list: in small groups, or all at once?

We started by tackling new editions of our books. It made the most sense to us because we turn editions so often. We are currently converting our last title over now.


 What services (conversion, scanning, distribution, marketing) have you utilized through INscribe and how have they been?

INscribe handled contacting conversion houses for us. That allowed us to make the hard choices for formatting and then hand it over to someone who could make it all work. They also handle our digital distribution to channels.

How has your workflow changed with eBooks?

We are in the process of looking at that now. It’s hard to make changes when you have done things one way for so long. We have looked at doing our books from a manuscript first format, but gave up that idea because our books are so layout heavy. So now we convert back to manuscript format for the digital versions. It allows us to put all the photos and references in the most logical order for our readers.

What are some the characteristics that you value most about the INscribe team?

Inscribe is very responsive. If there is a problem, which is common in the digital world, we just hand it over and they deal with it. We had conversion problems and they kept looking for different companies to work with us. They don’t give up and they change with the industry – almost daily.

Tell us about the titles that you have pushed through INscribe (series? hits? back catalog?) What exciting books are on the horizon?

Currently we have 3 titles with Inscribe: The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook, 8th edition, Maui Revealed, 5th edition, and Hawaii The Big Island Revealed, 6th edition. We are going to be handing over Oahu Revealed, 3rd edition shortly.

What are you looking forward to the most in the next few years of digital publishing?

One area where digital publishing can improve, is by enabling content owners to take advantage of graphic layouts in a more user friendly way. PDFs just don’t cut it for this new media, but they maintain the integrity of the design. The loss of good design is one area where digital media fails. Books should be more interactive and yet still look good. We have lost the ART of books for the moment to technology. Hopefully, technology will catch up and the readers will allow formats that are as interesting as websites have become.

Thanks, Lisa!


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