What's On Line?
Another way to draw the crowds is to offer free downloadable dictionaries and encyclopedias in the reference centers on large portals that get hit by thousands of surfers daily (Versaware does that through deals with Lycos, XOOM.com and MyBytes).
Commenting on the up-and-coming developments in how book publishers and authors are tapping into the online markets, Ravitz suggests that: "People would want to customize their own books and get information from various sources." For example, she says, if you're planning a vacation in one particular region of Italy, instead of buying a travel guide that covers the whole country, you may want to gather information from many guides about that region. Similarly, Ravitz predicts that users will also be able to customize parts of books by changing their layout, size and fonts to their liking.
Another wave of the future, says Ravitz, is the selling of subscriptions to archived electronic versions of documents, books and periodicals. This way, she says, if you have been dreaming of getting hold of that cranberry sauce recipe printed a year ago in some magazine, you'd know where to turn.
"Having an array of materials and a mechanism that enables you to customize them as you need your information is going to revolutionize publishing," she predicts.
Evidently, we will also see more of the "simultaneous" publishing of books in electronic and traditional forms. The 1stBooks Library (www.1stbooks.com), which now offers more than 3,000 e-books in PDF format, just released an electronic edition of the new book "The Y2K Personal Survival Guide" by bestselling author Michael S. Hyatt from Regnery Publishing (the printed version is currently sold in bookstores nationally). Coming soon is "Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise" by George Gilder, Gilder Technologies, to be available in both PDF and RocketEdition formats.
"Both titles are examples of books from conventional publishers who are now distributing through companies like 1st Books," says Dan Snow, director of communication and planning. Snow's own book on self-publishing, "U-Publish.com," which he co-wrote with Dan Poynter, will be coming out as an e-book through 1stBooks at the same time the paperback version is scheduled to hit the bookstores.