The E in Publishing
"All an e-book is—it's a PDF with rights assigned," said James Alexander, director of e-books at Adobe. Alexander, along with fellow e-publishing experts—Texterity CEO Martin Hensel and Director of Acquisitions for Burnham, Munger & Root, Richard Nash— addressed the fate of e-book publishing at BookTech this week in New York City.
"e-Book is the poster child for networking publishing," continued Alexander. "By mid-September, there were books about September 11 that were only available by e-books. Nothing can work so quickly." He explained that by using the immediacy of the publishing tool, users and manufacturers of e-content have the opportunity to harness the benefits of print-on-demand online. Particularly, educational publishers, such as Oxford University Press, are already utilizing e-book technology to repurpose content into multiple formats via Adobe PDF e-books. "If you're doing e-textbooks," he said. "Having a desktop solution is very important. Otherwise it's very expensive to produce a textbook and spit it out in various formats."
Anderson also explained that the definition of cross-media publishing, whether content is bound for the Web, print, video or wireless device, is virtually the same. "It's the output that's different," he said. Three categories he considers to be especially important in the e-publishing realm is creation, management and delivery. He said, "Tools, tagging the assets and getting content to users is e-publishing."
Nash further analyzed the theoretical basis behind e-publishing, specifically the wealth of information available online for educational publishing purposes. He said, "The ideal situation is to succeed at e-content in ways that are mutually compatible." Nash insisted, "Reference publishers are making money doing e-content right now" in an industry that has also been second-guessing the success rate of e-books in general. "Instead of trying to read tea leaves," added Nash, "it's best to look at e-publishing from the supply side." In other words, conversion control, PDF archiving and secure content distribution are important issues already being addressed by technology providers, such as Texterity's Hensel, who have invested in e-books as a valid means of not replacing print, but supplementing it.