35+ Tips for Quality and Streamlined E-Book Production
"Decide your quality control strategy before you start," she adds. "Know the capabilities and limitations of the people in your organization responsible for conversions. Will they need outside help? How many books can they handle at one time?"
The shift toward a true multiplatform approach will happen as publishers move away from an emphasis on backlist conversion and focus more on new titles. "I think publishers need to consider both backlist and new titles as one parameter, and then the level of investment in a given title or set of titles as another parameter," Trippe says. "A backlist title that sells very well deserves consideration for conversion into XML and then into many other formats, where a backlist title that may only move a few units a year probably only needs to be digitized in the simplest way."
"Moving forward," he adds, "at some point, publishers will have digitized all of the backlist they need to, and can focus on really optimizing their production of new titles. A broad range of book publishers can move to a model of producing the digital at the same time as the print, just as many STM publishers have."
Some publishers are already part-way there. "We treat backlist conversions as we do front list conversions—with the utmost care for the final product," Cohen says. "… We've moved away from discrete backlist conversion projects, and integrated backlist conversions into the front list schedule, so regardless of the print book's publication date, the e-book gets the attention any e-book published today deserves."
Market and revenue cues will determine the speed with which smaller publishers move into a seamless multiplatform workflow. "We still view print as our standard and main product," Wilson says. "Therefore, our production practices are still mostly print-centered. … We're starting to have a few of our new titles prepared simultaneously as print and electronic versions, but this is still done on an ad hoc basis."