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Showing posts from June, 2007

Adobe's epub format and reader

The Adobe announcements last week were very interesting, but not for the reasons most people seem to think.Here's the real story: The most important producer of print publishing tools is backing an XML-based format for electronic delivery, by making it a (relatively) painless option after preparing something for print. This means the new electronic format can come out the kind of editorial process publishers are already using. With all the limitations that this XML format has, it's much more in reach of publishers who can't afford to change all their editorial processes in a single go.There's been a lot of concentration on the idea that a standard format will speed ebook reader adoption. This is something that vendors like Sony are realizing is important. Is this their first open format use in electronic media?. And indeed for the long-term future, I think that this is an important issue for vendors. For publishers and businesses right now, though, the focus on new rea…

The importance of XML is real, but practicality of PDF gets short shrift

Publisher's weekly seems to have missed a key part of my message during Rebecca's and my backlist tutorial, which is that the long-term term payoff of XML is sufficiently expensive and disruptive that it can't happen quickly for publishers with significantly smaller resources than Thomson's, and that image based solutions like PDF can meet a lot of needs very quickly, for publishers that don't want to postpone full entry into online markets another 2-5 years.
The Adobe announcements (especially integration of new e-book formats into print-oriented production tools) seems to present a more practical way for smaller publishers to change their workflows than the "big-bang" conversion project. But that kind of incremental strategy leaves existing PDF and image backlists just the way they are, and means that PDF will be a key part of all solutions for online marketing and product definition for the foreseeable future.
Sometimes the future's so bright that …

Pure Coolness

I have seen far from all the talks here, but from what I've seen and the buzz that I've heard the winner of the "coolest presentation award" was Manolis Kelaidis. He showed a paper e-book device that he's been prototyping. By means of conductive ink traces, a person touching a button on the page can trigger an action by an embedded processor.  He had a book where pads on the page triggered actions on his laptop: going to web pages, playing songs on iTunes, and so forth. It  was a hand-bound Bluetooth book!There's clearly a huge expense still involved in platform building and so on, but everything he did is compatible with contemporary printing technology, using inks that are commercially available (not experimental). Other developments in printable circuitry play into this as well: printable batteries, printable electronic components,  printable speakers.Of course this is a technology, not a solution, and there's a huge chain of associated requirements --…

Start of two waves?

The first wave is a wave of posts. I've arrived at the TOC conference, and gave my tutorial yesterday. I expect that the conference will give me ideas for several blog posts over the course of the conference. I've also got some stored up ideas that came from preparing the tutorial that should come out in a while...I have hope that the second wave will be a wave of action. I was gratified to hear that Digitizing Your Backfile was the tutorial with the highest registration. I'm sure there's selection bias at a conference like this, but it said to me that perhaps people are getting ready to act on projects. I hope that the good tutorial attendance means people are ready to act, not just test the waters. The water is great, and it's time to swim!I do have the sense that after a pause for a deep preparatory breath, online publishing is now heating up rapidly, and this time it's heading for action, not just interest. As people act, I'd like to be sure that they …