Metabooks: MVB partners with Mexican publishers association

Technology and information provider expands international database business and announces the launch of a digital books in print catalogue in Mexico together with CANIEM and Frankfurter Buchmesse

The principle behind the technology export has proven its worth: Three years after the launch of Metabooks Brasil, technology and information provider MVB has announced the next step in its internationalisation strategy. By the end of the year, a Spanish-language version of Verzeichnis Lieferbarer Bücher (VLB), the catalogue of books in print used in the German-speaking world, will be supplying the Mexican book market with standardised metadata. A cooperative agreement to this end was signed today at Frankfurter Buchmesse with Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana (CANIEM), the Mexican publishers association. The new Metabooks system is scheduled to be launched at the book fair in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the end of November. The metadata database will be operated by a joint venture in which MVB and Frankfurter Buchmesse will hold equal shares.

Mexico is Latin America’s largest Spanish-speaking book market and has been growing steadily for years, with total sales of roughly 1.8 billion dollars. Some 27,000 new titles are released each year and the current number of active titles is approximately 120,000.

“The Mexican book market is currently at an important turning point. Several major publishing houses, the publishers association and, in particular, the large bookstore chains are looking for a suitable metadata solution. We therefore spoke with all key market players over the past three years, enabling us to gain solid insights into the relevant local infrastructure. We used a Spanish-language demo version of the Metabooks system, which made it possible to collect data for future operations. Our main strength is our comprehensive service for connecting customers technologically, which we actively use to support the change process taking place in the market,” explains Ronald Schild, managing director of MVB.

Until now, manual or highly decentralized processes have been used to maintain Mexico’s metadata, reducing its quality. Since Latin America has no general data-exchange standard such as ONIX, publishers and booksellers usually maintain their metadata in Excel spreadsheets. Machine-based processing is not possible given the different formats in use.

“The effort involved is enormous. The distribution of metadata to various retailers can be quite time absorbing. In addition, the entire workflow is highly susceptible to errors. There have been repeated cases of two titles having the same ISBN. Visibility is another problem. Smaller publishing houses sometimes have to wait for a long time until the metadata on their new publications is entered into the systems used by booksellers. Having an effective database is therefore not about prestige, it’s an urgent necessity if we want an efficient book trade. We are very pleased to have MVB and Frankfurter Buchmesse, two expert and reliable partners, on our side for this important undertaking. Metabooks will allow Mexican publishers to share the information of all their titles, both new releases and full catalogue, with retailers and distributors with an automatized and easy process, so the manual work on both sides of the book chain will be significantly reduced,” says Juan Luis Arzoz Arbide, president of CANIEM.

Juergen Boos, director of Frankfurter Buchmesse, adds: “The cooperation between MVB and Frankfurter Buchmesse in Brazil has proven very successful, so it’s only fitting that we are working actively together on the Mexican market as well. Frankfurter Buchmesse has had close ties to Mexico’s publishing industry for many years. CANIEM and Mexico’s publishers have been longstanding participants at Frankfurter Buchmesse, which, in turn, has had an ongoing presence in Mexico through its participation at trade conferences such as CONTEC México and its organisation of German collective stands at Feria del Libro in Guadalajara. Together with MVB’s technological expertise and the support provided by CANIEM, we will quickly be able to professionalise the management of metadata in Mexico.”

At the start of the international book fair in Rio de Janeiro in September, Metabooks Brasil, the Portuguese version of VLB, announced that its database now includes more than 100,000 active titles. Another 20,000 archived titles are available for research purposes. Almost 500 publishing houses and imprints use the platform’s standardised metadata to present product information on their books. That is equivalent to a market share of 75 percent, as measured in sales.

MVB has also announced it will introduce another of its products to Brazil: Pubnet, its North American EDI community for the book trade. The market leader in Canada and the US organises ordering processes between publishers and booksellers using the electronic data interchange (EDI) format, a global standard. In 2017, the system processed more than ten million book-order transactions.