I’ve followed iFactory, which recently released PubFactory, since its inception as a multimedia service agency, going back to my days wearing the editor’s hat at eMedia Professional.  Here’s a company that has spent its youth wisely.

PubFactory is a digital publishing platform that emerges from iFactory’s many years of solving their clients’ pressing Web publishing demands, alongside iFactory’s habit of throwing in a few extra-demanding capabilities of their own.  They’ve taken what they’ve figured out and rationalized the process into a platform, and the platform is impressive.

PubFactory is content online publishing platform “built from the ground up to support books, reference works, and journals in a variety of XML formats, with full support for PDF, images, and other rich media.”  Sounds, good, but not unique, right?  Here’s what I really like hearing about: “…management tools for librarians and administrators, and a full suite of back-end controls for publishers to control their content and manage relationships with their customers.”

The range of options that are oriented to a publisher’s customers is impressive, and includes such things as flexible ecommerce, access models, social media, analytical metrics, to name the big ones, and the flexibility in publishing control is also smart, with strong search and browsing, DOI and various library-specific support, customization, and, basically, push-button PDF and ePUB creation.

This last feature is showing up more and more, as in SharedBook, a multi-source/community/blog-content ebook/pbook generator, to name only one.  The biggest surprise about PubFactory, however, is its sheer scalability.  Using PubFactory, and slated for release in late spring 2010, Oxford Dictionaries Online (part of Oxford University Press) will present modern English dictionaries, thesauruses, and usage guides.  Not exactly a chapbook.

Of course, real-world use is the real test, but iFactory’s decade-plus efforts suggest a good passing grade out of the gate.  I’m looking forward to seeing iFactory’s Director of Publishing Tom Beyer’s PubFactory demonstration at Tools of Change, next week.

Need me to look up a word for you?  If so, or if you want to know more about our upcoming study, A Blueprint for Book Publishing Transformation: Seven Essential Systems to Re-Invent Publishing, drop me a line.