Candidate Statement - Liisa McCloy-Kelley


Nomination for IDPF Board of Directors, November 2011 election

Liisa McCloy-Kelley - Random House
Dear IDPF Members:
I would like to respectfully submit my nomination for the IDPF Board of Directors.
The development of eBooks was not my planned career, but was something that like many of us, I was very naturally and passionately drawn to. My professional career started over 21 years ago in the Art Department at Ballantine Books after having studied marketing and design. I have been with Random House, Inc. in NYC for all of that time and have worked in variety of areas including Design, Production, Desktop Publishing, IT, Operations and now in Digital Product Development. This has given me a wealth of experience with nearly every facet of our trade publishing business and a deep knowledge of publishing practices across my organization and our competitors.
More than 10 years ago, based on my experience with the early development of the ONIX standard, I was selected to represent Random House on an AAP eBook Task Force that several publishers had gotten involved with. Our goal was to set standards for identification, metadata and formatting for eBooks. Even in those early days back in 2000, publishers were starting to see how formatting standards would help us to be able to serve the same content to many providers in a fast and efficient way. At the time, the AAP partnered with the OEBF (Open eBook Forum) to develop these areas and I chaired the Metadata Committee within the group. I also worked within my own organization to develop standards around how eBooks were produced and those efforts got us started down the road of making books while the sales inched along slowly.
Over the past four years as eBook sales and interest has grown exponentially, I have led Random House to build what is arguably the most advanced eBook production team in trade publishing. As a small team, we worked in 2007 to establish our own subset of the DocBook XML spec that we then used to establish standard EPUB files. Along with other members of the AAP, we committed to adopting the new EPUB format and moving from production of five formats to producing one file that was optimized for the needs of every reading system. Since the beginning of 2008 we have produced more than 10,000 new eBooks for Random House and have retooled every existing book that was in the market prior to our conversion to EPUB. I think that development of excellent quality eBooks is a core capability of publishers for the future. I have pushed my own organization to recognize the fine balancing act between acting quickly and/or inexpensively to take advantage of market conditions and creating expertise for a sustainable publishing program of great digital books that will help us continue to build and grow this market.
In my current role as VP, Director, eBook Production Strategy & Operations, I have built up a team of nearly 30 in-house production mgrs./specialists who are working to take every new genre of content and push it to the boundaries of what is possible with each reading system. In the last year, this team has produced over 1000 new “complex” titles- books that no one would have tried to produce as eBooks just 18 months ago. We are constantly working with our design and editorial teams across our publishing divisions to develop new features for our authors and their books to take advantage of digital publishing platforms and delight their readers. We try to determine features that are not just technology for technology’s sake, but will help to bring people to books in a new way that will help us sell more of them and improve the experience. I also have worked tirelessly with the engineering teams of various retailers to understand their needs and priorities and to help them understand publisher needs for our authors and content as we push to include more app like functionality in the titles that would benefit from it. Even as I work to drive forward thinking and strategy in my organization and manage a large and varied product development schedule, I always find time to continue to flex my own coding muscles so that I can stay fresh in discussions about how and why and what would best suit our needs.
Over the years I have been a speaker at many trade shows, IDPF events, a regular speaker at internal RH sessions and I have taught on digital publishing at both NYU and Yale. I am described as being a very approachable and understandable speaker who can bring simplicity, clarity and sometimes humor to some pretty technical and dry topics while always addressing the given audience at the level that they need.
I have long been a big supporter of the IDPF and their efforts to bring technology, accessibility and standards together for the good of the world. I think we’re all in this because we see this time as being pivotal in developing how people will read in the future and ensuring that the codex will have a new and vibrant life as pages are removed from covers and other possibilities for navigation and content experience evolve. I would love the opportunity to bring to the IDPF Board of Directors my skills of being able to understand the technical needs of various parties and translate that into easy to understand needs and requirements so that we can work together to negotiate best practices and standards that will work for all.
Liisa McCloy-Kelley
VP, Director eBook Production Strategy & Operations
Random House, Inc. 

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