Open Enrollment | Subscribe to Book Business HERE
Connect
Follow us on
Advertisement
 

COVER STORY : Inside the Ebook Test Kitchen

A look at what's cooking on the cutting edge of ebook technology.

September 2012 By Brian Howard
Get the Flash Player to see this rotator.
 

It doesn't seem so long ago—and that's because it wasn't—that referring to "the cutting edge of ebook technology" was redundant. Ebook technology itself was the cutting edge: File-based delivery of tomes was the driving force behind all of the messy disruption in so many publishing houses in the last 10 years.

Now, of course, things have changed. We, as the previously disrupted, might even take a little perverse pleasure in the fact that PDFs and other forms of flat file delivery are now being disrupted by a new wave of ebook technology. (If, that is, one can feel Schadenfreude for a file format.) Apps, EPUBs, walled gardens, HTML5, web readers, agile publishing models and online learning environments are banging on the doors, crashing through the boarded-up windows, and generally wreaking havoc in a publishing landscape already in upheaval.

After centuries of relative stability since monastic scribes had their metaphorical cheese moved by block printing, change has come quickly in the book's digital era. And this change, like all change, has had winners and losers, advances and retreats.

Scan the publishing news and you'll see Apple, Amazon and Google pop up as often as (some weeks much more than) the vaunted "Big Six" publishers. Books are now the domain of technologists as well as publishers, which has led us to a fascinating time in the history of publishing. The establishment, the guardians of tradition, are tussling with device manufacturers and futurists over books, items that hold a uniquely exalted place in our culture.

The things we can do with a book, the things a book can tell us about a reader, what a book is—heck, even the nature of text-based information exchange—are all very much in flux. Interactivity, analytics, immersive experiences and feedback loops are driving this change.

While it's impossible to know which way this will all break, what the ultimate benefits and consequences will be, it's a safe bet that because of what's happening today, things will be very different in some not-too-distant tomorrow.

With an eye toward divining what the ebook future might look like, we talked to some of the companies driving this change, and asked them about what they're doing to move ebook technology forward, and what they see on the horizon.

 

COMMENTS

Click here to leave a comment...
Comment *
Most Recent Comments:

MORE ON E-BOOKS & DIGITAL PUBLISHING >>

FROM THE BOOKSTORE

In How to Succeed in the Publishing Game, Stringer reveals the secret to her success and unveils countless valuable tips and steps on how to become successful in the world of self-publishing: 

• Utilize creative means of generating start-up capital 
• Build winning relationships with editors, typesetters, graphic designers, printers 
• Ensure that your book will flourish in the hands of the right distributors, wholesalers, bookstores 
• Develop a steadfast marketing plan, brand and image that will sell itself 
• Utilize the complete guide to dependable references and resources 
• Harvest the benefits of a best-seller! 






"Ms. Stringer has entered the slightly more rarefied precincts of book publishing. And she's getting rich." 
<b>- The New York Times </b>

"Mainstream publishers wouldn't touch her book. So Stringer printed 1,500 copies and took to the road. The book became an underground hit, and bookstores began to stock it." 
<b>- Newsweek </b> How to Succeed in the Publishing Game

In How to Succeed in the Publishing Game, Stringer reveals the secret to her success and unveils countless valuable tips and steps on how to become successful in the world of self-publishing: • Utilize creative means of generating start-up capital • Build winning relationships with editors, typesetters, graphic designers, printers...

ORDER NOW

Publishing is a rapidly changing business, and this comprehensive reference is right in step—covering operations, finances, and personnel management as well as product development, production, and marketing. 

Written for the practicing professional just starting out or looking to learn new tricks of the trade, this revised and expanded fourth edition contains updated industry statistics and benchmark figures, features up-to-date strategies for creating new revenue streams such as online marketing and sales and e-book publishing, and provides new information on using financial information to make key management decisions.

More than <b>two dozen highly practical forms and sample contracts </b>for immediate use are also included.

"One of the best references available today . . . providing a solid foundation and answering every question.” —Jan Nathan, executive director, Publishers Marketing Association 


“Vital to doing the business of publishing well.” —Independent Publisher 

"A remarkable book and a must-have volume for anyone interested in the business end of book publishing. Everyone in the book publishing business should have a well-thumbed copy on their desk." —David M. Hetherington, adjunct professor, Pace University, Graduate School of Publishing 

"No matter what your size, Publishing for Profit is an essential tool for growing your business. The book is about as close to an operations manual for a book publishing company as can be found." —Dominique Raccah, president, Sourcebooks, from the foreword 

"Publishing for Profit was immensely useful in helping me understand some of the subtler business challenges of a small press . . . Your advice is practical and immediately applicable." —Perry Donham, president, KidPub Press 

“The bible of the industry.” —Associated Press 

“Solid nuts-and-bolts advice for everyone who wants to run a publishing business, no matter how large or small. Forms and illustrations help make this manual crystal clear.” —Judith Applebaum, author, How to Get Happily Published 

“Publishing for Profit is a great book. It sits on my nightstand. I often pick it up and read parts of it again.” —Rod Colvin, president, Addicus Books Publishing for Profit

Publishing is a rapidly changing business, and this comprehensive reference is right in step—covering operations, finances, and personnel management as well as product development, production, and marketing. Written for the practicing professional just starting out or looking to learn new tricks of the trade, this revised and expanded fourth edition...

ORDER NOW