How Penguin Random House is Moving Beyond "Ebooks That Mirror Print"
While the majority of ebooks have yet to provide the interactive, multi-layered experiences some technologists have anticipated, ebook technology continues to make significant strides. According to Liisa McCloy-Kelley, vice president and director of ebook development and innovation at Penguin Random House, ebook technology is making content more accessible for people with disabilities, optimizing books for mobile through responsive design, and supporting cleaner page formats. These developments are enabling PRH to create ebooks that are more than "just mirrors of print," says McCloy-Kelley, and she expects even further innovation in the next few years.
McCloy-Kelly will share her insights on ebook development at the Yale Publishing Course (YPC) in July. The course gathers book industry leaders to discuss critical publishing issues with their peers. You can learn more about the program here. Following McCloy-Kelley describes how PRH is improving its ebook development and the technology advances she expects in the near future.
What digital features do readers want to see more of in ebooks?
There isn't a lot of strong evidence of exactly what new features readers might want to see more of in ebooks. We are in one of those phases where the basic reading experience for straight text linear reading is pretty settled and good. We continue to work with our editors and authors to experiment with new methods and strive to make our ebooks "their best selves," and not just mirrors of print.
What type of data is PRH looking at to modify its ebooks?
Penguin Random House is responding to a variety of inputs as we look to develop the next generation of ebooks. We have developed our latest ebook specifications to better address the needs of people with print disabilities and making ebooks more accessible as the education market starts to adopt more digital editions. We have also put a lot of work into making our ebook designs more responsive so that they display well on phones as we see the proliferation of smartphones in the digital reading space.