Ebook Conversion: 10 Tips for Finding Your Ebook Conversion Vendor
The process of beginning a relationship with a vendor, in other words, should probably always start with a series of internal questions.
Executive Director, Digital Publishing, Workman Publishing
Look Near and Far: Workman's operational practices are probably a bit unique in the industry, says Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, who runs the house's digital publishing division, because the company consists of seven different imprints, some with their own production and editorial departments. When it came time to convert the company's massive backlist, Workman went with an offshore conversion house.
"From a high-level perspective," Fleck-Nisbet says, "that seems like a great solution, [especially] for managing multiple divisions that are uploading multiple files at multiple times. But I will say it was not as easy as it initially sounded. When you're doing offshore conversions," she adds, "you're always going to run into challenges with the scaling, and with the quality of the content you're getting back."
Her advice? "If you're doing a large batch of content at one time, working with an offshore conversion company is really the way to do it, in terms of scalability and cost. But you absolutely need to have someone on the ground."
And what of Workman's future digital conversion goals? "For any publisher," Fleck-Nesbet suggests, "I would recommend that the goal is always to get to a place where you're handling the conversions in-house. Even if you outsource the print process," she says, "you want to have [the ebook conversion process linked] as closely to the print production process as possible."
Vice President, Solutions Architect, SPi Global
Focus on Value: SPi Global's John Prabhu, a member of the IDPF's EPUB Standards Maintenance Group, says he often sees publishers gravitate toward vendors who offer especially low rates, but who don't bother educating their clients about the conversion process. But the smart publishers, he says, are less concerned about price than they are with the value a conversion partner can create for them.
Dan Eldridge is a journalist and guidebook author based in Philadelphia's historic Old City district, where he and his partner own and operate Kaya Aerial Yoga, the city's only aerial yoga studio. A longtime cultural reporter, Eldridge also writes about small business and entrepreneurship, travel, and the publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter at @YoungPioneers.