Ok, this morning brings a panel, moderated by Abe Murray (Google, Inc., tech lead for Google Books), with panelists
Bill Godfrey (Elsevier), Rich Rothstein (HarperCollins Publishers), Andrew Savikas (O’Reilly Media, Inc.). Most of these folks say that they’ve been producing e-books for 10 years.
If you had one publishing wish:
- not to have to worry about how content is rendered
- Be able to start with a single XML document and produce as many versions as needed
- for Amazon to adopt ePub3 :)
- I wish people wouldn’t steal our content, worried about putting books in the ‘cloud’ as Google has done
- ePub is good but there are different rendering quirks even among ePub readers
How has digital publishing changed since you started?
- The Kindle; just like the iPod, it has been the catalyst of making e-books a real part of the publishing marketplace.
- Getting closer to XML as the source, so that different ways of interacting with content, different visualizations.
How will digital publishing change in the near future?
- The book is not going away in any of its forms, more device-specific content presentation will create a richer world
- Authors will be more involved in creation, graphics and interactions part of the texts.
- Margaret Atwood’s model: publishing means taking an idea from an author and seeding it in the minds of people (yikes!).
- Book experiences across devices
When is a book not a book anymore?
- We’re not close to finding that, but getting there. So far e-books have been different only in terms of “DVD extras” (and very few people look at the extras). We’re approaching the tipping point. Some e-books are enhanced just to see if a higher price can be charged.
- There will be a split between stuff that works well in long form text and material that works better as interactive UI; O’Reilly has moved away from short reference works because Google and Stack Overflow are better for that.
- Whatever it is, the idea of a book will be useful, even if they are more like apps. One of the best examples is “A History of Jazz.”
- Book is becoming less of a product, more part of an overall offerring including subscription content and other ways of having ongoing relationship between creators and readers.
- When it doesn’t have Digital Rights Management (copy protection) :(
How are book publishers the same or different than magazine/newspaper publishers.
- Very different today, but ultimately these will be the same. There will be ads in e-books, and people will buy magazines in longer form.
- I’m not convinced ads are part of any publishing business in the future, rates are being ruthlessly driven down. Ads have not been a good part of what has happened with newspapers.
What is advice for people wanting to make fully illustrated e-books and not apps?
- Apple iPad standard for picture books, and proprietary B&N standard.
- Print an actual book :)
Who is building the development platform so that every publisher doesn’t have to engineer it themselves?
- ePub3 is a step towards it
- Web development is the closest thing to it, the skills are the same and the technologies for the web are the closest thing to a platform we have