Search This Blog

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore

As I had promised Ms Quek Tze Guek, Senior Librarian/Asset Management from NUS Libraries who was the co-ordinator of the visit to pen down my thoughts, I think it is good to have it written now with some photographs extracted from the LAS Facebook album.

Mike Fenton, VP and Director of Global Operations, Executive Director 
gave an overview of the company

Dexterine Ho and LAS group listen with interest on John Wiley Europe and John Wiley Asia deal with issues related to the Privacy Act of Internet Data.

LAS group re-entering the reception area.

LAS members engaged in a discussion with Mr David Fisher, Director, Sales and Marketing, Asia.

Photos credits: Courtesy of Library Association of Singapore (LAS)
Source: LAS Facebook Album

Our visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore in the month of October was organised by the Programmes and Social Committee, LAS. The details were as follows:

John Wiley & Sons Singapore
1 Fusionopolis Walk
#07-01 Solaris South Tower
Singapore 138628.

Date of visit: 31 Oct 2012 (Wednesday)

Time: 2.45 to 5.30pm


2.45pm  to 3.00pm -
Access via level 1, main lobby for security check, then proceed to level 7 for attendance to be taken by LAS representative.

3.00pm to 5.00pm -
Presentation by Wiley staff and walk around office
Content covered: Introduction of Wiley, Wiley's role in publishing, education and research.

5.00pm to 5.30pm
Quiz and "High Tea"

Our registration started in early October via 

Maximum no. of participants: 25

Non-LAS members were welcomed, however, priority was allocated to LAS members. From the actual number of participants which was close to the maximum number of 25, I think there was overwhelming response at the time of registration and latecomers probably had to be turned down to keep the number manageable. If LAS is holding a second visit to the same site, I would strongly recommend those who missed the first visit to sign up for it.
How to get there:

Maps for directions to Wiley:

Details were given so it was not hard to locate the site, although there was heavy rain that afternoon, not many participants were late.
The car park rate for Fusionopolis (by sgcarmart) was also provided for members who drive:

Mondays to Fridays: $0.50/30min from 6am to 6pm.
A reasonable rate indeed!

An Overview
The visit to John Wiley & Sons Singapore provided me with valuable insights. I gained a lot of from the briefing, guided tour and the interaction with the Wiley staff on site.

I am grateful to many staff of John Wiley & Sons Singapore, who spared their afternoon hours to share with us their in-depth knowledge of book publishing.
They are:
Mr Mike Fenton
VP, Director of Global Operations, STMS & Executive Director,
John Wiley & Sons Singapore

Mr David Fisher
Director, Sales and Marketing, Asia

Ms Ho Sze Ein
Marketing Manager
Professional & Development

Mr Trevor Armstrong
General Manager
Global Education

Mr Thecla Teo
Director, Global Institutional Marketing
Scientific Technical Medical and Scholarly 

John Wiley & Sons Singapore occupy three floors in Solaris South Tower. I like the reception area where we can read about the long history of the company.

It was a raining day, I was a bit late yet most of the participants was there before me.

I think I had never see so many staff briefing visitors in any of my LAS visits.  That was warm hospitality and unique welcoming way from John Wiley. I think they were about 8-10 of them supporting the two briefing sessions, one before the tour, one after it. 

The tour of the new office premise over 3 floors of the Tower took about 30 minutes.

Most of the LAS participants enjoyed the talks by Mr Mike Fenton (VP & Director of Global Operations) and Mr David Fisher (out-going Director, Sales and Marketing for Asia) about Wiley’s publishing role in Asia and Singapore.

I like the last talk on Wiley's marketing strategies and we are able to meet many of the staff who were in charge of different division.

Throughout the two sessions, there were the representatives from Professional & Development, Global Education and Scientific Technical Medical and Scholarly division to support the various speakers.
The last part of the afternoon was Q & A, and we asked many questions to clear our doubts and issues on publishing pertaining to copyright laws, customer surveys, e-books, etc.

We were all very impressed by the detailed answers Wiley staff given us. The visit end with some quiz and I was being lucky to be one of the three sporting librarians who bagged a token for answering correctly during quiz time.

The question I answered is:
Q: What is the first Title of John Wiley Dummies Guide
A: DOS for Dummies

Though, the event ran slightly beyond the scheduled hour, many of us still stayed on for informal chats with Wiley staff during the networking session.

Some additional notes:

This was my first visit to a book trade company.  I think LAS  Programme Committee would be encouraged by the reception of our host and response of participants which made this event a memorable and successful one!

For those who did not have a chance to visit this time, the web links may give you some information:
Wiley Empowers Teaching and Learning
Offering quality, variety, and value to serve all learners

Resources for Librarians:

Some Highlights of the office tour:

Being a knowledge creation company, John Wiley's office is extremely quiet. When we toured the three floors, we hardly have a chance to talk or interact with any staff in the first ten minutes.

Toward the end of the office tour, we were fortunate to have a Q & A session with the marketing manager and gained some insights into Wiley's marketing operations. The cheerful marketing manager gave us a detailed narration of how John Wiley Europe and John Wiley Asia deal with issues related to the Privacy Act of Internet Data.

In Europe, in order to comply with the law in European countries, all the email alerting services are opted-in by customers. In Asia, most are opt-out. Databases of customers' preferences are kept individually in different regions/countries and global communication is still not at the touch of one screen. It is de-centralised and keeping up with changes and updating of databases in each country is not an easy job for marketing staff.

Following the tour, we have another presentation session in the seminar room by Wiley staff. Content covered included: Introduction to Wiley, Wiley's role in publishing, education and research.

The information in the presentation gave us a better understanding of the wide subject coverage of John Wiley's publications in Printed and E-format etc and how John Wiley satisfies customers all over the world.

My reflections after this visit:

* I see John Wiley as a great "manufacturer" of knowledge, and myself, an ex-librarian, a trainer and assessor now (LAS/WDA courses for support staff of the libraries), as a minor knowledge cataloguer and secondary knowledge disseminator.

* We, librarians or lecturers/trainers/assessors, play a minor role in the knowledge chain. John Wiley & Sons Singapore, or the publishing industry at large, are shouldering the main tasks of knowledge collection, knowledge creation, knowledge packaging and knowledge distribution.

* A librarian's role in disseminating knowledge is not at the first tier, and sometimes, not even at the second tier. Nevertheless, being a professionally trained librarian, the significance of our job in the world of learned institutions and the world of knowledge is well recognised by the readers and users we serve. On the other hand, publishers' work and contributions may not be recognised as they are seen as a profit-making commercial entity.

* Many of us view publishers as commercial entities, generating profit through publishing, and so treat them as library "suppliers". A win/lose game is played when we negotiate with publishers for better discounts or good rates for journal subscriptions.

* To librarians, publishers charge a lot for journal subscriptions and academic publications and librarians have a difficult time balancing collection development and the library budget.

* With this visit, my mindset has shifted a bit and now I will view the relationship from a different angle. As I gain some insight into publishing work, I can understand publishers really need well- trained professionals to get the job done. Most of the staff they engage are qualified professionals, and the job is not easy to handle, from a librarian's perspective.

* We think books and journals should be made more affordable and accessible for the library and the readers. Yet, nothing good comes cheap...

* If librarians who perform a relatively minor task of disseminating knowledge are getting good and reasonable returns in salary, publishers need to pay editors, contents management groups etc who go through difficult tasks, a handsome remuneration package.

* John Wiley, and many other publishers, need to justify their expenses, rewarding their staff and keeping their business going. Hence, the publications, especially good academic ones will not be low in pricing. Even publishing e-books is not a low-cost operation.

* Being a reference librarian for many years before I took the teaching and training path, my work is just a small inter-link in the world of knowledge chain. It is not as significant as the role of the publisher.

* If there were no publishers who publish books and "can" all the knowledge in the printed or e-format, we have nothing convenient to bridge the knowledge gap and serve our readers. We are a go-between, and have no role to play if there are no knowledge products created by publishers.

* The publishing industry anchors their role in knowledge creation. Without their hard work in sourcing for good authors, getting good manuscripts, editing good content and publishing books at affordable or not so affordable prices, knowledge is not easily accessible.
* John Wiley & Sons Singapore, is a giant in the publishing industry and I view my role, be it as a Cataloguer, Serials Librarian, Reference Librarian or Lecturer in Poly/NIE or Trainer/Assessor for LAS WDA courses, as a small cog in the knowledge world.

My notes at the end:

This is the first time for LAS members to visit an internationally renowed publisher and book trade company.  The organizing committee was encouraged by the response of the member and the keen interest shown by members in this visit.

Cheers to our host too, for making this event possible and successful!

A big "THANKS" to all the staff of John Wiley, who made an efforts to be with us throughout the whole afternoon!  Their general sharing and enrich our understanding on book publication and distribution. Their warm reception made our visit a memorable one and now when we think of John Wiley, we think of them in person, and not just a commerial brand name!

This activity is eligible for Professional Development Scheme (PDS)

This activity attracts 36 points under the Industry Knowledge
Development (ID) category - "Participate in product/services briefing
and demonstrations by vendor organised or approved by LAS"

No comments: