Gene Therapy: Climbing Aboard the E-book Bandwagon
Adding to the complexity for e-reader users, publishers have demanded rigid control over content for fear of piracy and copying. This means that what book readers have come to expect in the aftermarket—the ability to share books and read them wherever convenient—has become more limited in the digital medium because of multiple proprietary platforms and publisher restrictions on transferability from one device to another.
Those restrictions appear to be loosening up, though. Some publishers have discovered that allowing access to e-book versions for browsing, for search inside and, on occasion, even for downloading have boosted sales, and have enabled them to reach customers who they otherwise have been unable to reach through conventional channels.
So now where do we stand? In order to have a viable market, some equivalent must exist of the universal infrastructure that the printing industry built. While there are numerous printing presses designed to achieve production efficiency and quality, in the e-book world, error correction isn’t possible until you have already created a file, displayed it and discovered that the tagging that you have relied on is not working—and moreover, you are not too sure why it is not working. If you are not using the appropriate reader platform, the file will be unintelligible or won’t open at all.
So creating a universal tagging system—or nomenclature—is key to simplifying quality control, and the convenient and economical display of e-book content.
In Pursuit of Standards
One man has relentlessly pursued the dream of a universal tagging system, providing leadership in technology through his firm, and in acceptance through the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF)—Garth Conboy. Conboy is a San Diego native who heads up eReader Technologies, headquartered in one of those charming residential-style adobe structures on Herschel Ave. in the business section of La Jolla, Calif. It is a warren of techies in pursuit of perfecting systems of one sort or another that relate to reading technologies.
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.