Humanities E-Book
The Online Collection
Developed By Scholars

ACLS Humanities E-Book recently attended a presentation put on by the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers. This presentation, “Disruptors in Professional & Scholarly Publishing,” discussed the factors driving disruption and change in the industry and the new models and technology emerging from these trends. David Crotty, the Editorial Director of Oxford University Press Journals and Bill Deluise, the VP of Society Strategy and Marketing at Wiley, each presented on these topics.

Here are our five biggest takeaways:

  1. Publishers need to move away from their content being the end point of value; rather than simply selling content, publishers must think of themselves as selling services. Crotty mentioned  a comment made to him, that “the metadata may be more valuable than the content itself.”
  2. The driving forces of changes in the industry are the growth in the amount of research being produced and the shrinking of library budgets. This is prompting a move to efficiency and a decline in price per download.
  3. During this era of consolidation, the big publishers are getting into every area of research, no longer classifying themselves only as publishers but as service and information providers.
  4. Publishers can no longer be complacent; rather than reacting to threats to the industry, publishers should focus on creating a better user experience.
  5. Publishers need to understand the need of the communities they serve in order to be of value to their readers.


Though much of these presentations focused on publishers of science, medicine, and technology, we found that many of the takeaways still applied for us here at HEB. We care about creating a better user experience, which is why we are working with University of Michigan to refine our new platform, Fulcrum, for easier use and accessibility. We have heard the needs for change in the platform and we are responding with features like chapter downloads, reflowable text, and annotations, all of which will make each user’s experience better.

HEB also recognizes that library’s budgets are shrinking; we provide the greatest value by keeping our subscription costs low while providing over 5,000+ works in our curated collection that is accessible 24/7 by multiple users along with excellent customer service. Our collection houses titles that users will not find anywhere else and we are continuously adding to and improving our collection. Finally, HEB started out as an innovative project over 15 years ago and has maintained that innovation as we adapt and respond to changing needs and shifts in the professional and scholarly publishing industry.