There are those who question whether EPUB is the optimal format for publishers to adhere to in producing digital content. Indeed, some argue that standards themselves hold back innovation.
In the meantime, there’s disagreement among ebook developers who work in EPUB whether to generate an individual file to deliver to all retailers or to create separate ones for each of them.
As digital production expert Joshua Tallent sees it, the advantages of the latter approach still outweigh those of the former.
But in order for single-file EPUB workflows to be efficient, Tallent says, developers must create “well-formed EPUB files with semantic, accessible HTML code and solid CSS that doesn’t rely on a lot of complex tricks or formatting irregularities” right from the get-go.
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Google Pushes into Mobile E-Commerce (WSJ)
In a bold strategic shift that push it into closer competition with Amazon, Google will soon introduce ‘buy’ buttons on certain sponsored search results that it serves to mobile users.
Related: The Mobile Future Is Now—Three Key Stats
What’s a Publisher, Anyway? (PW)
These days, that’s more than just a philosophical question. The evolving array of options authors find themselves confronted with can be dizzying to evaluate. Surveying the current terrain, industry veteran Jane Friedman judges that “it’s become nearly impossible to categorize certain publishers and services; some wish to avoid being labeled altogether.” Here’s Friedman’s guide to sizing up so-called the services offered by so-called ‘hybrid publishers’.
Related: Balancing Risk and Reward in Author-Publisher Partnerships
German Publishers in Contract Quarrel with Audible? (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
A recent report claims Amazon’s audiobook business is in tense contract negotiations with German publishers, replacing terms that awarded publishers more lavishly for higher-selling titles with a model based around flat rates. There’s talk that the publishers might complain to German authorities, but one observer wagers that threat, even if true, is just a negotiating tactic.
Kensington Expands Ebook Imprint (PW)
Kensington Books acquired the digital-first publisher Lyrical Press last year. Now it adds two additional lines to the imprint, Lyrical Shine and Lyrical Underground, focusing on romance and thriller/horror ebooks, respectively.
Amazon Makes More Goods Eligible for Prime (Re/code)
The same week news arrives of Wal-Mart’s bid to compete with Prime, Amazon says it will let some merchants’ goods qualify for its subscription-based two-day shipping program even if they don’t house their inventory in Amazon warehouses. The change in policy is meant to expand the selection of goods available to Prime customers.
Giving Illustrators Their Due (The Bookseller)
Nielsen’s BookScan reports on retail sales so far don’t separately identify the illustrators of illustrated titles, an omission that some have called on Nielsen to correct. Nielsen says it welcomes the debate, which brings to the fore questions about the relationships between authors and illustrators and the ways publishers distribute data about their own titles.
New Publisher Wants in on the YA Boom (PW)
The school and library nonfiction publisher ABDO launches a new division called EPIC Press, which will publish an inaugural list eight six-volume young adult titles, in hopes of getting young readers hooked into a narrative world and encouraging them to blow through lots of content very quickly.
Good, Old-Fashioned, Analog Book Piracy (HuffPost)
With recent talk of an ebook piracy problem in Google Play Books and contentiousness around proposed changes to copyright statutes in the UK, it can be easy to forget that protecting copyrighted work has been a battle authors and publishers have waged for a very long time.
Digital Publishing Finds Ways around Iranian Censors (Guardian)
The Iranian government’s censorship practices are struggling to adapt to the digital experiments some authors are undertaking in and outside the country order to get their work into the hands of readers.