Buyer's Guide: Ebook Conversion Strategies Buoyed by Vendor Partnerships
This article is from the Book Business Buyer's Guide which is a publisher's reference on emerging technology in the book industry. You can find other Buyer's Guide Sections here:
Back in the day, books were just blocks of paper, typesetting involved typing, and every step of getting from a manuscript to a book involved handoffs between silos of specialists. Those days are long gone.
Digital technology demands that publishing processes become much more integrated. The author does the typing, and those digital keystrokes now get turned not only into the paper books we all know and love but an ever-expanding set of digital products. (Remember when people wondered whether ebooks would ever catch on?)
Those digital files are now generated, tweaked, and transformed in many ways. Who does that work? Lots of different players. But arguably those that have been most instrumental in making all this happen are the workflow and conversion services you see listed in this section. Why? Because doing digital well requires expertise in areas quite separate from that required by traditional print publishing.
The way most digital publications were initially produced was post-print. The publisher provided the final print PDF files to a conversion service, who converted them to the required digital format: a PDF optimized for the web, an EPUB that works most everywhere, and a Mobi file for Kindle being the most common three.
The next stage involved workflow. Many of the vendors who provide conversion services also provide upstream services like prepress, typesetting, and even editorial and project management services. These vendors can often help publishers make the technological and organizational changes needed to optimize digital-first workflows, which enable publishing to a plethora of platforms to be truly scalable.