Michael Ross

On the heels of a fabulous BookTech East 2001, take pause to reflect on the new opportunities afforded by budding technologies It seems somewhat redundant to say these are exciting times for the book publishing industry, when clearly this is not a new phenomenon. Technologies supporting the digital publishing process are virtually spewing from R&D labs like molten lava. There's a lot of hot stuff out there from which to pick and choose. And to raise the industry's temperature even higher, the business is abuzz with tales of publishers taking bold leaps of faith with new media business models. New stuff Just a few

It's not often a decision about the legality of downloading a free digital track belonging to Metallica affects publishing at-large, but when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Napster, the controversial online file sharing provider, it sparked questions about digital publishing's overall shelf life. This week's 58-page ruling requires that Napster stop trading copyrighted content online—in the U.S., at least. But whether content is downloaded for free or for a fee, the Napster debate has fueled both kudos and criticism of a system that challenges traditional content rights laws. Thanks to the music market's equivalent of Robin Hood, publishers are learning critical

World Book Inc.'s (WB) book-and-CD products were all the rage back in August 1998 when BookTech the Magazine ran a cover story on this Chicago-based company. WB had just launched the book-and-CD educational series titled Interfact, and its flagship product, the World Book Encyclopedia, was being released as 22 print volumes (comprising more than 14,000 pages) and as a two-disc CD-ROM. Since then, WB took its content to different places, including the Internet, not just carving a niche for itself in the education and general consumer markets, but continually exploring new publishing models, as well. Michael Ross, executive vice president and publisher (pictured at

We asked publishers: "What is your take on the future of e-books? What impact do you think they'll have on book publishing within a couple of years and on the way your company produces books?" John Calvano, editorial operations manager, Time Inc. Home Entertainment, New York City: "Of course, issues such as e-books and our company's impending merger with AOL create an 'open book' with regards to the digital asset of our content. Barring technological hurdles at present, our largely pictorial products are not as well suited for an e-book format as they are for a larger color screen. "They feasibly could be

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