Many trade publishers fall asleep at the mention of standards. Support for EPUB3—just to name one—is still far from universal, and there are few signs that that’s changing quickly.
But outside trade publishing, standards arguably garner more urgent attention from digital content developers, distributors and their partners.
W3C, a web standards group, secures the approval of two international standards organizations to recognize MathML 3.0 as an official markup language for representing mathematical content. That won’t impact most trade publishers, but it does nod to the wider debate about the role of standards in digital publishing.
There are some who see standards in general as a hindrance to innovation more often than an accelerant. But others say trade publishers have plenty to learn from their counterparts in ed-tech and STM publishing, where MathML is widely used.
To get all the ebook and digital publishing news you need every day in your inbox at 8:00 AM, sign up for the DBW Daily today!
Harlequin Launches Reader Reward Program (The Bookseller)
A new customer loyalty program offers readers signed copies of select titles, Skype chats with popular authors and other perks in exchange for buying books and sharing book-related content online and via social media.
Related: Publishers Leveraging Reader Engagement for Marketing and Discovery
More Calls for Better Terms for Authors (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Late last month the Authors Guild launched a program designed to help authors press for more equitable contracts and push back against clauses the organization sees as especially “draconian” in the digital age. Now the Society of Authors, a UK-based group, lends its own voice to the campaign for contract reform, adding that authors should be compensated for public appearances.
Why EU Regulators Are Stifling Digital Innovation (WSJ)
A Wall Street Journal editorial argues that recent legislative and judicial actions by European authorities in the digital space represent “bureaucratic hostility to the private innovation that has fueled the digital economy in the U.S. and elsewhere.” Regulatory efforts at building “a vibrant digital marketplace,” in this view, are fated to fail.
Book Publishers Coming around to Fact-Checking (Vulture)
In book publishing, the onus for verifying the accuracy of facts and how they’re presented in nonfiction titles tends to rest on authors, and the economics of most book contracts doesn’t encourage factual rigor. (As one commentator puts it, “The rich get richer; the poor and the duplicitous just get printed.”) But the latest spate of factual controversies is leading to change in some quarters.
Related: Shifting Sands of Investment and Outcome in Author-Publisher Pacts
What Twitter Learned from Amazon (MarketWatch)
As Twitter develops an e-commerce strategy, it’s cherry-picking certain elements from the likes of Amazon and Pinterest. As one observer writes, Twitter is hoping to “create a more immersive experience for online shoppers, compared with the lone buy button that is attached to promoted tweets currently,” a function the social platform has been testing since late last year.
ComiXology Signs New Publisher, Updates App (PW)
The Amazon-owned digital comics platform adds Dark Horse Comics, a leading independent comics publisher, to its content offering, in a deal that brings Dark Horses’s complete digital catalog to ComiXology users. The platform also rolls out an update to its app for Android, iOS and Kindle Fire devices with a number of changes geared toward improving the user experience.
Sizing up Markdown as a Digital Publishing Tool (Science 2.0)
According to one tech expert, “there is now a push to create a superset of markdown that can handle the creation of ebooks and PDFs,” which is how the publishing platform Leanpub operates, for instance. Here’s a cursory look under the hood at that process, and here’s a thorough case for using markdown in digital publishing broadly speaking.
Amazon Echo Goes on Sale (CNet)
Amazon’s “voice assistant” is now publicly available for preorder, retailing at $180 and shipping out to customers on July 14. One analyst wagers there appears to be significant consumer demand for such devices.
More Crowding in the Cloud (Re/code)
The software company Oracle broadens its cloud computing business in a move the company frames as a direct salvo at Amazon, widely considered the leader in the space, with which Oracle says it plans to compete on price.
Related: Amazon Pitches Cloud Offering to Young Users
Publishing Resources Where You Want Them, When You Want Them (DBW)
Digital Book World recently relaunched our popular membership program in order to make news, analysis and educational resources for publishers more robust and convenient to access. Learn more about the latest additions and how to take advantage of them.