Gene Therapy: Embracing E-books
In July, Sony announced that its latest Reader model PRS-505 will be able to accept both secure and nonsecure
e-books in the .epub format—an XML-based tagging standard designed to enable an e-book to be readable on any platform. It also will have the capability to reflow standard text-based PDF e-books.
In the race between the Sony and Amazon e-readers, the Kindle retains a user-friendly edge with its wireless download feature. On the other hand, Sony is opening its platform to greater interoperability and, according to Steve Haber, Sony’s senior marketing vice president, “opens the door to a whole host of paid and free content from third-party e-book stores, Web sites and even public libraries.”
The Amazon Kindle
Both the Kindle and Mobipocket (the e-book software package universally used in PDAs, bought by Amazon in 2005) have been designed to make it easy for publishers to get information, to sign up and to submit content, according to Laura Porco, Kindle director and a publishing veteran who joined Amazon eight years ago after an earlier career with MacMillan and Pearson Education. Amazon is eager to add as many titles from as many publishers as possible to its list, regardless of the publisher’s size, she says.
To begin with, you don’t need to concern yourself with platform or format issues unique to Kindle or Mobipocket. In general, if you are creating .epub-compliant files, they will be accepted for conversion to use on both platforms. Otherwise, you can send PDF or XML files, and they will be adapted for the two platforms at no cost to you. If you have already been furnishing PDFs for Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature, once you sign the contract, Amazon can adapt these files for its e-readers. Kindle will also accept hard- copy books for scanning. Publishers also have a chance to check out the Kindle or Mobipocket versions before they go on sale.
Eugene G. Schwartz is editor at large for ForeWord Reviews, an industry observer and an occasional columnist for Book Business magazine. In an earlier career, he was in the printing business and held production management positions at Random House, Prentice-Hall/Goodyear and CRM Books/Psychology Today. A former PMA (IBPA) board member, he has headed his own publishing consultancy, Consortium House. He is also Co-Founder of Worthy Shorts Inc., a development stage online private press and publication service for professionals as well as an online back office publication service for publishers and associations. He is on the Publishing Business Conference and Expo Advisory Board.