Why Ebook Developers Should Share Tools

EPUB ebook production Sigil FlightDeck Goodreads AudibleOne possible reason why many tools for ebook developers are “still decidedly sub-par,” as digital production expert Laura Brady sees it, is the lack of runaway growth in the market.

With print and digital production practices sometimes shakily finding a balance, ebook developers are often left to choose among limited resources to produce high-caliber work.

But something as easy as “opening up our respective toolboxes and sharing tips of the trade is one good place is start,” Brady writes.

Here are ten ebook production tools currently on the market that Brady herself endorses, plus an invitation for other developers to weigh in on what they use and why.


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Author Income Disparity Yawns Wide in UK (The Bookseller)
A UK study concludes there’s a “huge inequality” in terms of what authors earn, with 58% of the total income earned by professional writers in the country going to just the top 10% of them. In a refrain familiar from research conducted over the past few years by Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest, the report’s authors find that “writing is a profession where only a handful of successful authors make a very good living while most do not.”

What Does Self-Publishing’s Mainstreaming Mean? (Good E Reader)
Nodding to the greater prominence many self-published authors are gaining in the book world—and particularly how that’s being reflected at the major trade events—one observer notes how the indie-traditional divide is steadily collapsing. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that “there’s never been a better time to be an author or a reader” as a result (see above); some authors are still contending against a tough market despite those changes.

Goodreads Offers Free Samples of Audible Audiobooks (DBW)
Goodreads introduces a “Listen” button providing free access to samples of 180,000 digital audiobook titles available on Audible, plus an optional 30-day free trial of Audible itself.

Kindle Unlimited Adds Audiobooks in Germany (Ink, Bits & Pixels)
Amazon gives subscribers to its Kindle Unlimited program in Germany access to 2,000 English and German audiobooks in addition to the roughly 850,000 ebooks already on offer. That expansion pales beside the more than 9,000 digital audio titles Penguin Random House added to Scribd’s now 45,000-title audiobook catalog last week, but it’s another recent instance of audiobooks ebooks rubbing elbows in the subscription space both in the U.S. and overseas.

Four Insights on Kids’ Devices and Literacy (EdWeek)
Preliminary findings from four independent new studies of the children’s device market and literacy instruction all track the inroads digital reading platforms are making in classrooms. While we await those full results, check out this complementary report on kids’ and families’ e-reading behaviors outside the classroom, from Digital Book World and PlayScience.

Oxford University Press Buys Translation Site (InfoDocket)
The publisher acquires bab.la, a multilingual translation resources platform that will be integrated into Oxford Dictionaries, the free consumer dictionary operated by Oxford University Press.

E-Reading on the Rise in China (XinhuaNet)
A recent study finds that 58% of adults in China read digitally last year, and nearly 52% of respondents did so on a mobile device. The share of Chinese readers who read an ebook in particular rose nearly 3% in 2014 over the previous year.
Related: The Global Mobile Picture for Publishers

Australia Weighs Broader Copyright Laws (Techdirt)
Lobbying efforts are intensifying in Australia to enact copyright legislation that would compel Internet providers to block foreign sites that enable or abet certain forms of digital piracy. Opponents argue the move could threaten more benign systems, too, like virtual private networks (VPNs) and digital storage lockers.


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