Web Development

The Cyberschool Challenge
February 1, 2004

With few electronic textbooks to choose from, cyberschools are forging ahead with efforts to develop their own courseware. Traditional textbook publishers stand to lose. New book markets are emerging on the Internet that don't require readers 18 and older. Among them: education. The explosion of 'cyberschools' (also known as 'e-schools') is revolutionizing how educational materials are manufactured and distributed. Cyberschools have been growing in size and scope since they first appeared in the late 1990s. The Distance Learning Resource Network, a non-profit agency dedicated to improving education, pegs the number of students in online classrooms between 40,000 and 50,000 for the 2002-03

E-books' Impact on ROI
January 10, 2004

After several reboots, e-book publishing is seeing signs of growth. Recent sales figures compiled by the Open eBook Forum (OeBF) have given publishers an indication of what the future holds. And that future might be now. For the first quarter of 2004, e-books posted double-digit growth (28 percent), and though revenue is projected to be a modest $13 million for the year, sales are rising, and the OeBF, an international trade and standards organization for the electronic publishing industry, began tracking sales of trade titles via a monthly bestseller list in March. Given all the optimism, publishers have taken a harder look at their

Hands Across the Water
May 1, 2003

Integrated Book Technologies Inc. (IBT Global), a leading U.S. digital book manufacturer, is partnering with Biddles Ltd., one of Great Britain's top book manufacturers. The companies hope pairing their organizations will provide multinational marketing advantages. The cost of manufacturing and shipping short-run books overseas is around $2.50 per unit, decimating a title's earning potential. And the costs of managing unsold overseas copies make expenses even more onerous, says Mark Tracten, director of American operations for Crown House Publishing Ltd., in the U.K. Tracten was IBT Global's first customer, when he owned and operated publishing company Brunner/Mazel Inc., in the U.K., a decade ago. Tracten

E-Books Check Out
May 1, 2003

Public libraries are embracing e-books, thanks to technological advances that solve rights management issues, and soothe publisher fears. In March, the Cleveland Public Library, in Ohio, became the first public library to offer an e-book system. About 1,000 books, ranging from new releases like Michael Crichton's Prey to classic literature, are available as e-books. They can be checked out exactly like non-electronic titles. The service is available inside a library branch, or over the Internet. It lets readers download publications onto personal computers and digital assistants. New digital rights management (DRM) software is managing the downloads. After two weeks, the downloaded e-books expire, and

Consumer of Acceptance of E-Books Grows
January 1, 2003

A new consumer survey finds 70% of readers are ready to buy electronic books if they can read them on any computer. The survey also finds 67% of consumers are ready to read electronic books, and 62% would borrow e-books from the library. The research was sponsored by the Open E-Book Forum (OEBF), an industry trade association that promotes e-book technologies. But if consumers are ready to thumb through electronic pages, sentiment among leading book publishers hasn't changed. They believe consumers and retailers still aren't ready for e-books. Publishers are also wondering how to integrate e-books into manufacturing and distribution workflows originally designed

Web Sites That Propel Books To Another Level
May 1, 2002

Last summer, a book retailer on the Lower East Side of Manhattan produced a window display to promote Weekend Utopia, written by noted architectural columnist Alastair Gordon. It was a stunning display—dozens of copies produced a sea of sepia, orange and pastel blue. "How inviting," I thought. This beautifully stylized book by Princeton Architectural Press was not only an instantly successful seller, but laid the foundation for a modernist architectural renaissance. How did this happen? Was it due to the appearance of the book? Not entirely. Gordon credits the initial success of the book, in part, to the creation of

Finding Independents
March 1, 2002

"Finding Independents," is a new column that focuses on the issues affecting smaller and independent publishers. In the inaugural article, humorist Laurie Notaro discusses the success she found with iUniverse.com and its print-on-demand (POD) offerings. Rebecca Churilla: How did the idea for the Idiot Girls Adventure Club come to you? Would you have been able to publish the book had it not been for the capabilities offered by POD? Laurie Notaro: I wrote Idiot Girls seven years ago. It's a collection of first-person narratives, all true stories, that I wrote for my weekly humor column at Arizona State University's student newspaper, State Press.

Anything But Boring
September 1, 2001

Rich Gold modestly takes the podium at BookTech West. His keynote task is challenging. The mission? To talk about reading. With this crowd of book publishers and manufacturers, it may have seemed a little like preaching to the converted. Gold is the director of the artists-in-residence program, RED (Research in Experimental Docu-ments) for Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Center), and three years ago, he was asked to choose a research project topic and enact a technological revolution around it. Gold chose reading. Rich in meaning Gold recalls that when he unveiled his chosen quest, his colleagues were a little underwhelmed. A few sarcastically asked,

Parallel Universes
July 1, 2001

Just as the print industry belabored over the CTP (computer-to-plate) dilemma for more than a decade, e-book debates will undoubtedly continue to wage for years. Indeed, the births of these two phenomena mimic one another in several ways. The evolution of a revolution As we look back, the dawn of CTP led to a great deal of speculation on the print producer's part. Many openly scoffed at CTP's validity; others simply avoided the topic, as if skirting its discussion would deny its very existence. It took several years—and the growing support of industry standards groups—to bolster an acknow-ledgement that CTP was our destiny. The

Caught Napping
February 20, 2001

It's not often a decision about the legality of downloading a free digital track belonging to Metallica affects publishing at-large, but when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Napster, the controversial online file sharing provider, it sparked questions about digital publishing's overall shelf life. This week's 58-page ruling requires that Napster stop trading copyrighted content online—in the U.S., at least. But whether content is downloaded for free or for a fee, the Napster debate has fueled both kudos and criticism of a system that challenges traditional content rights laws. Thanks to the music market's equivalent of Robin Hood, publishers are learning critical