Dr. Albert Cruz
INF 620: Management of Information Systems
March 25, 2013
McGraw-Hill: Primis Custom Publishing
McGraw-Hill Education is a unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, a worldwide information services provider that boasts over 350 offices in 33 nations. Headquartered in New York City, New York, its revenue topped 4.5 billion back in fiscal year 2001. In 1989, with the creation of Primis Custom Publishing, the company set out to address the problem college professors encounter when they search out supplemental materials to use with traditional textbooks. McGraw-Hill’s lengthy history of catering to the academic needs of educators and students along with the desire to improve its offerings to professors, in particular, was what led to this system of customizing college textbooks (Adobe Systems, Inc., 2002).
According to McGraw-Hill, the traditional route to publishing textbooks to be utilized in higher education is one that is a long, linear process that involves authors who must write content prior to a panel of instructors reviewing it. Then a layout is created by a designer, which highlights methods of instruction. Along the way photos are researched, permissions to use information is then requested, and art programs are set up. The material is further scrutinized to insure its accurateness before the final content is approved. Thereafter, the compositor is able to produce the book, one page after the other. Subsequent to a second proofing of material to be published, printing must take place. Presses roll at the printing plant while publishing officials make contact with faculty to inform them of the latest which the company provides in traditional textbooks, as well as to bring finality to the text adoption process for the upcoming term. At the plant, the completed texts are cataloged, stored in warehouses and ultimately shipped. This is essentially the way textbooks were produced before Primis (McGraw-Hill MIS Video Clip, 2005).
The problem with the traditional model is that text organization and content could not be modified or made specific for each course. It was an editor at McGraw-Hill back in 1988, which first got the idea to delve into custom publishing. The fact that the company failed to make predictions as to the content many professors may require, the editor decided the time had come to do something about it. Thus, he came up with the concept of custom publishing textbooks that allowed professors to tailor content according to their individual course needs. By this time, McGraw-Hill had been in the publishing business for years and had accumulated a great deal of experience. With much textbook content to work with, the only issue that was before the company was what form the output should take. After consideration of custom publishing, approval and funding were granted. As a direct result, Primis, the custom publishing division of McGraw-Hill was started (McGraw-Hill MIS Video Clip, 2005).
After it had been decided that Primis would be funded, the project team began detailing those things that would be necessary to bring the custom publishing idea to fruition. Cathleen Mattura, Manager of Custom Publishing who has been a part of the McGraw-Hill since 1987, states that some considerations included questions surrounding sufficient funding, the technological means, and the justification of such a new kind of project. It was evident that arriving at a wonderful idea and seeing it through to the end were two separate things. Other considerations included ways to keep content fresh and whether the company would be successful at printing whole textbooks on demand. Pricing and the overall quality of custom published textbooks were other concerns. Hence, the Primis team immediately used the systems approach into action to solve the problem...