Buyer's Guide: The Nuts & Bolts of Apps & Ebooks
It is important to note, though, that exporting an EPUB from DPS does not always yield a clean file and may require tweaks to satisfy different devices or when working with more complex content.
The most sophisticated end of the ebook production spectrum is creating a digital-first publishing system in-house that can push content to multiple platforms. This benefits publishers who have a massive amount of content to manage or a great deal of data in each title, as in a textbook. That data, be it an interactive chart or adaptive learning assessment, cannot be easily converted from page-fidelity design into reflowable EPUBs. Instead, to optimally display this content in digital formats, an XML-first approach is beneficial.
XML (Extensible Markup Language) is a foundational language that can be used to define how different parts of an ebook will be structured for different formats. The goal of using XML is to create digital content first rather than manipulate print-ready files for digital devices. Other XML benefits include the ability to relate similar content in and across ebooks and the flexibility to adapt to emerging device formats.
XML and digital-first production is a heavy investment in both tools and talent, requiring significant workflow overhaul. It may mean investment in XML authoring tools, which allows authors to create their manuscript in an XML editor, or a new CMS that can combine related content to create new titles. "The technology is there," says Mike Rosiak, CMS manager at Elsevier, "But it is really just wrangling the whole workflow to have it done in the right way and with the right care so that your electronic products are of good quality."
3. Partnering With a Provider
An ebook service provider can help a publishers create ebooks in a number of ways, from creating a from-scratch ebook based on a manuscript to enhancing a basic EPUB file with additional functions, such as advanced search or complex navigation. Typically, a service provider is hired when a publisher wants to create something more involved than a standard reflowable ebook.