The Race Against Publishing Technology

racecarOf all the problems publishers face today, one of the thorniest is the struggle to keep up-to-date with the latest technology.

Start-ups with novel ideas for content, marketing, distribution and much more. Established vendors rolling out new systems and features. And outside players coming in and changing everything with the release of a new device (read: Apple in 2010). It’s either the most exciting time ever to be in publishing or the most frustrating.

Just yesterday, we saw Flipick release a new version of its ebook production tool, Sumbola launch a new social reading platform for mobile and the Web and YUDU add features to its textbook conversion tool. Yesterday wasn’t even particularly busy when it comes to these type of announcements.

But it doesn’t end there for publishers. Between content management systems, marketing systems – even things as simple as storage, hosting and even email – there’s always technology to upgrade. DBW’s own parent company F+W Media just signed a new content management system deal with Librios. And, guess what: In less than a year’s time, it will probably have to find more new technology solutions to meet the challenges of the ebook era.

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The rest of the day’s top news:

Harlequin Lawsuit Dismissed (DBW)
In case you missed it from late last night, a judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit filed against Harlequin by some of its authors alleging unfair practices around ebook royalties. More from paidContent.

Amazon’s New Cover-Creation Tool for KDP (DBW)
Amazon is beta-testing cover designing software for self-publishing authors on its KDP self-publishing platform. The tool will give authors the ability to update covers instantly and access to a database of thousands of royalty-free images.

Agency No More in UK for HarperCollins and Hachette (Good E Reader)
The price for ebooks is no longer “set by the publisher” for HarperCollins and Hachette ebooks in the UK.

Ebook Production Tool Flipick Releases v0.2 (DBW)
The EPUB3 production tool has been updated to support text wraps, tabs, tables and other features. A plug-in is now available for InDesign versions 5.5 and 6.0. Details.

New Social Reading Platform (DBW)
Sumbola has launched a new cloud-based social reading platform for the Web and mobile devices. The company says that it is offering a next-generation reading experience and is inviting authors to upload their titles for its soon-to-come authoring tool. Details.

YUDU Adds New Features to E-Textbook Platform (DBW)
It’s simple stuff like more highlighting options and better note-taking. Details.

Wiley Sells Remaining Trade Assets (Pub Lunch)
The grab-bag of assets, 1,500 titles in all, is going to Turner Publishing. The acquisition doubles Turner’s list of 1,000 titles. Previously, Wiley had sold its Frommers travel brand to Google for $22 million and other assets including CliffsNotes and Webster’s to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for $11 million.

Digital Public Library of America Set to Launch (paidContent)
The project, which seeks to make materials from libraries, museums and other archives freely available digitally will launch on April 18.

Curious George 2.0 (DBW)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has launched, a multi-platform incarnation of its beloved children’s brand. The site will feature ebooks, games, apps and more.

Ebook Revolution Building In Germany? (Pub Perspectives)
Ebook is apparently no longer a “dirty word” in Germany after this year’s Leipzig Book Fair. Ebooks as a percentage of overall sales doubled in Germany in 2012 versus 2011, albeit on a small base.

Petition to End Used Ebook Returns (
The petition platform at has probably been used for more noble causes than stopping Kindle ebook returns freeloaders.

Amazon Won’t Publish Cornish Ebook (Techdirt)
Cornish was recently recognized as a living language and someone wants to publish an ebook in it. Despite using the same alphabet as English, Amazon won’t publish it because Cornish is not a language it supports.

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