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  • Digital Publishing At The Gates of Horn & Ivory

    Books used to come off the printing press and anyone could pick them up and read them—the reader requirement was literacy. With digital, it’s different. You can’t read the book you’ve created or purchased until you have the right device to read it on. It’s a new layer of complication, even if it’s elegantly designed, between text and target.

    Sure, there’s the excellent work of Scribd and other online reading services, but to pick up a flowable text ebook that works smoothly in mobile for the largest market of readers and charge them for it, you need to create customized files and go through a digital distributor.

    The device limitations and file types means that distributors have the power in the digital world—publishers are making digital books, first and foremost, for distributor devices. All questions of design and reader experience have really come secondary to file limitations, something that obviously wasn’t an issue in real-world book production.

    In digital publishing, everyone serves the device first.

    The digital book world is a dream half realized. When digital books can reach readers as easily as handing off a physical book today, entirely new opportunities will open up for customer relationships, audience building, information sharing.

    Smart players (take a look at what Mark Cuban’s done with the eBook produced through Vook) are moving fast to work with what’s possible now when it comes to expanding a book’s availability. Next week, I’ll be interviewing one of our users who’s already sold more than 300 copies of her Vook-created eBook directly to users on her Website. And that’s not a PDF, but a flowable text eBook file.

    Digital books are still half realized as a medium, maybe even less than half realized. In the physical world, we already have the platonic form of the book—a near perfect object. If we could create that experience in the mundane world subject to so many physical laws, we should be able to pull off something just as impressive in the limitless reality of digital.

    Related posts:

    1. Choose Your Own Adventure Meets Digital Publishing
    2. Constantly Publishing and Constantly Updating
    3. iBooks 2 and iBooks Author: Another opportunity & headache
    4. Four Whip-Smart Digital Publishing Projects
    5. Digital Book World Recap

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