Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

Looking ahead to 2010

12/29/2009

Like everyone else, we’re considering how we’d like the new year to be different than the last one. Following are the areas that we’re tackling right now. (I won’t call them “resolutions”—that just means plans, with little guaranty of actions.) We’d love your input: what’s missing from this list? And are we doing enough in each area?

  • More Books: Remote Research (by Nate Bolt and Tony Tulathimutte) will go on sale in January, and we’re expecting these additional titles to go on sale by the middle of 2010: See What I Mean (by Kevin Cheng), Storytelling for User Experience Design (by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks), and Search Analytics (by Louis Rosenfeld and Marko Hurst). That’ll put us at nine titles total (with, of course, more on the way). For us, that feels significant, but for you, it might not seem like many. We’re grappling with the challenge that many new businesses face: should we publish new titles at a faster rate? Would doing so risk quality? Will the community of UX practitioners grow fast enough to support many more titles? And, of course, what new books do you need to help you design better user experiences?
  • More Ways to Get Our Books Outside the US: We hope we’re adequately repaying the patience of our European customers by finally getting European fulfillment in place (out of Belfast, Northern Ireland). This means we now can ship more quickly and cheaply to European addresses, as well as make it easier for you to purchase via retailers like Amazon.co.uk and Lehmanns, the German bookseller. It’s been extremely challenging to get to this point, but we hope it will be well worth it. If you’re in Europe, we’d love to know if you’re noticing a difference; if you’re in other parts of the world, please let us know how your experience is and we can look into serving your region more effectively.
  • More Ways to Buy Our Books: We’ve been asked many times if it was possible to purchase a subscription for the next year’s worth of RM books. Not quite, as we’re never sure how many books will come out during a given year. But we are working on a way to bundle—at a good discount—the next four books we publish as a package, whatever they might be. We’ll also begin selling the entire Rosenfeld Media library as a package, and also at a nice discount. Expect both of these to become available by March. We’re also developing partnerships with companies like Optimal Workshop, Lime Chile, and Usabilla to package our books with subscriptions to their wonderful software services.
  • More Ways to Use Our Books: Many of you would like to purchase a PDF of our books that you can print on your own A4 or letter-size printer paper. We’re in the process of making that an option for all of our books; look for this to be done in Q1 2010. Additionally, regarding mobile devices, we’ve thrown our eggs into the EPUB basket, and are hoping that all of our books will be available that way by Q2 2010. We’re finding more interest in MOBI format for the Kindle, but still believe the large majority of our customers are using other readers, like the iPhone. Are we wrong? Let us know; the beauty (and curse) of having a digital publishing strategy is that you can (and must) change it every six months.
  • More Ways to Read Our Books: Through a partnership with InSight Books, many of our books are being translated into Korean (Web Form Design and Mental Models are now on sale via InSight). We’re about to finalize plans to partner with a Chinese publisher so our books will begin to be translated into Mandarin. And we’re in discussions with a potential Japanese partner; are there other languages for which we should be seeking a translation partner?
  • More Ways for Us to Engage: As a publisher that exclusively serves the UX community, we really hope to create better opportunities for engagement between our books’ readers, authors, UX thought leaders, and, ultimately, Rosenfeld Media itself. This is easier said than done. We now realize that book blogs alone are insufficient, so we’ve been sharing our authors’ posts via Twitter as well as RSS. We’ve also worked with two of our authors to create Ning communities. We’re investigating making our books more engaging by making them—and their indices—more searchable. And, working with Infinity Plus One, we’re dramatically revamping UX Zeitgeist, fixing the broken parts and looking to make it much easier to suggest UX books and topic ideas. Yet, it never feels like enough. We want to create conversation and, ultimately, learning about UX topics, but always feel like we’re not quite there. If there is single area where we could, um, engage with you best, it’s this one. So: how can we engage with you better?

That’s what we’re up to, and where we’re looking to move forward in 2010. We appreciate your support in getting us this far, and would love for your suggestions as we move ahead. Many thanks and best wishes for a wonderful new year!