E-Books and Interactive Publishing

Sony Introduces Third-Generation Reader Digital Book
October 10, 2008

Sony has announced the latest edition of its Reader Digital Book. The new model, PRS-700, will be available to consumers along with the previous PRS-505 model. The new model has the same 6-inch, electronic-ink screen as the previous model, but with added touch-screen capability. Users are able to search terms within a document or book, create notes using a virtual keyboard and highlight text with an included stylus pen. The PRS-700 can store up to 350 digital books in its internal memory, and thousands with a memory card. The new Reader will be available next month for about $400.

Digital Directions: Does Design Matter in Digital Distribution?
October 1, 2008

An important characteristic of digital content is its ability to deliver to multiple platforms simultaneously—to print, Web and mobile channels. Invariably, the same content will look different when viewed on various output devices, and it should. Each device has its own display characteristics, and the design of the presentation should be optimized for that device. I can hear the groans from publishers already. Reach for the ibuprofen now, because it gets worse: Content also varies within the same delivery medium. For example, content may be syndicated on the Web to multiple delivery partners, whose respective delivery models require alterations to the design. Even large-print

Gene Therapy: Embracing E-books
October 1, 2008

As Steve Potash, CEO of Overdrive and president of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), said last spring at IDPF’s annual meeting: The world of digital books is expanding, and there is a steady flow of major publishers and technology providers adopting the .epub standard. What we’re going through now is a ramping-up stage during which it can’t be either/or—nobody is saying that we will accept or deliver only in .epub. Accepting only .epub formats is likely to be the first move that’s made, because the advantage to publishers is that they will have only one electronic book version with one ISBN of which

Perseus Announces New “One-Stop” Digital Publishing Service
September 12, 2008

The Perseus Books Group, publisher and provider of sales, marketing and distribution services to independent publishers, announced this week the launch of a new digital publishing service called Constellation, which will enable independent publishers to offer their content in a variety of digital formats—including e-books, online content sampling services and digital files for print-on-demand—through a number of vendors. The service will be available to all independent publishers associated with The Perseus Books Group, including those owned by the group and joint-venture partners as well as those served by Consortium, Perseus Distribution and PGW. The service already has partnership agreements in place with a number

Biographies of Potential First Ladies Released Exclusively on the Kindle
September 12, 2008

Amazon.com Inc. announced that Kindle customers will have an exclusive opportunity to download and read new biographies of potential first ladies Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama in advance of their print publications. “Michelle Obama: Grace and Intelligence in a Time of Change,” by Elizabeth Lightfoot, was made available on the Kindle Wednesday. The print version is scheduled to be released Nov. 26 by The Lyons Press, an imprint of The Globe Pequot Press. “Cindy McCain: Elegance, Good Will and Hope for a New America,” by Alicia Colon, will be available on the Kindle Monday. However, this book will only go to print if

Gene Therapy: Climbing Aboard the E-book Bandwagon
August 22, 2008

With the advent of electronic ink, or e-ink, the Sony Reader, the Amazon Kindle and the .epub formatting protocols, the era of the e-book in the United States may be on its way. If you are a publisher or book producer, sooner or later you will be delivering electronic versions of all of your titles for distribution through a burgeoning network of electronic channels—if you’re not already doing so. It may be tomorrow, it may be next year or possibly later, but I guarantee the need to do so will be thrust upon you by the marketplace. While it is true that complex

Can a New Startup Profit From Offering Free Textbooks? Flat World Knowledge Co-founder Eric Frank on his new vision of publishing.
August 15, 2008

Nyack, N.Y.-based Flat World Knowledge, which launched this month, publishes free and open college textbooks online, with the option to purchase alternate formats of its content, including print and audio, and other study aids. While offering university-level course material gratis on the Web is not a newfangled idea in the higher-education realm, there are big differences from previous efforts—there’s no advertising within the text pages, nor is there a trial period with hidden fees. There isn’t even any registration required for users. Flat World Knowledge is a publishing company, not an aggregator of other publishers’ titles, says Eric Frank, co-founder and chief marketing officer.

The Book Market: Not an Industry in Decline
August 1, 2008

Despite the rising costs and tight supply of paper, increasing fuel costs impacting shipping prices, and growing pressure to cut inventory and increase turnaround times, among other challenges facing book publishers, two Book Business articles reveal positive news for the book manufacturing industry. In the June issue, the “Top 30 Book Manufacturers” feature showed that revenue for 23 of the 30 book manufacturers listed had grown over the previous year. According to Book Business’ 2007 ranking (in the June 2007 issue), just 17 book manufacturers had reported revenue increases. In this issue, in Book Business’ first compilation of leading digital book printers

Marketing Interview: The Move Toward Fluid Content
August 1, 2008

The Web is an ever-changing animal. Keeping that in mind, the most successful online marketing executives must think in the future tense: coming up with inventive, original ideas to help publishers stay ahead of the game. Jeff Yamaguchi, associate director of online marketing for Random House Inc. division The Doubleday Publishing Group, is one such innovator, and he fills us in on a little secret—that the future tense is not enough. In June, Yamaguchi launched Doubleday’s newly revamped Web site, which uses a WordPress platform to simulate the look and usability of a blog while maintaining Doubleday’s integrity and standards as a

Sony’s Reader Digital Book Will Support .epub Format
July 25, 2008

Sony announced yesterday that starting next month, its Reader Digital Book model PRS-505 will support books in the .epub format, the International Digital Publishing Forum’s XML-based format for reflowable digital books and publications. This makes Sony’s Reader the only e-book reading device to support the format. “The Reader is an open device, and we will continue to explore formats that will provide the widest variety of content for Reader users,” says Steve Haber, senior vice president of consumer product marketing for Sony Electronics. “The upgrade opens the door to a whole host of paid and free content from third-party e-book stores, Web sites and