Feature: Inside the E-Book Production Process
As the e‑book market evolves, so do publishers' internal processes for producing them. Book Business asked several book publishers to pull back the curtain on how they handle e‑book workflows, from editorial and design through conversion, formatting, proofreading and distribution. The answers are varied, but all demonstrate an ability to make the best use of existing internal talent while strategically investing in additional or outside resources to create e‑books expertly and efficiently.
IN A NUTSHELL: Baker Publishing begins its e‑book production process with contracts and rights consideration (i.e., do they have electronic rights for a particular title?). Conversion is done internally by the design department, and files are sent to the sales team for metadata tagging and distribution.
In the early days of e‑books, Baker enlisted a third-party service provider to convert titles in response to requests from the sales team, according to David Lewis, executive vice president of sales and marketing. "As e‑book sales began to become more significant, and as demand for more content grew," Davis explained, "we enlisted more of the company."
Once the "easily convertible" portion of the front list had been turned into e‑books (those works for which the company held or could easily secure all digital rights), the editorial team set the priority for which backlist works would be converted, and in what order. At this point, staff was hired to bring some of the conversion in-house, and to manage outsourced work.
With front list titles, Mark Highman, Baker's ePub conversion technician, gets notification from the production department that a book is ready to be sent to press, at which point he knows to add the book to the conversion queue. "I use a couple of different softwares to convert that [book] to ePub," he says. "I check [the] ePub on a few different devices—Kindle, Nook and the iPad—so I can evaluate our coding and how things are looking there."