IDPF Working Group Improving on EPUB Format for E-books
You should bring a book out into the e-book space, do one conversion and out it goes to sales and distribution. That really was the goal of this 2.0 version of the standard—getting down to one file. Starting at the end of 2008, you had Hachette Book Group saying, “Damn it, we're doing EPUB and EPUB only. That's what you're going to take.” Most other publishers are at that position now.
Publishing an electronic version of a book is now one conversion. So the price of doing that is coming down, and that puts the economic decisions on publishers: Is it worth doing more of my backlist since I'm only spending for one conversion? I think they answer yes, so it feeds sort of a virtuous cycle. If the cost is down, publishers can then bring out a wider swath of their titles. That, of course, drives up the amount of content available, and consumers see this e-book thing as, “My god, all the titles are there.” That's a good thing.
Originally, we thought all of this would end up lowering the price for consumers. With the transition to an agency model, publishers are going to be setting the prices now. Over time, prices usually go down with volume. I kind of think so, but I can't say we've definitely achieved that at this point. That's really a goal from the consumer standpoint, but as a trade organization [IDPF], it's nothing that we certainly have direct control over.