I got into the ebook development game when a typesetting client was seeing terrible results from their machine-made ebooks. Content was garbled and the books were ugly. It was impossible to open a book and tell what you were reading. So it became my mission to create ebooks that were nice-looking individuals, just like their print counterparts.
You hear a lot from those who read on devices that they miss the feel of paper and the sensation of turning pages—of knowing where they are in a book and how many pages are left.
Ebook design certainly cannot recreate the print experience; running heads, page numbers, blank pages between chapters, and even drop caps are all print technology features. But in my opinion, ebook design can fill some of those functions, even provide some new experiences.
Here are a few things I do when possible.
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!
Is Agency Pricing the Right Solution to Combat Amazon? (Mike Shatzkin)
In the past week, I’ve had conversations with leading executives at two of Amazon’s competitors in the ebook space. They had strikingly different takes on whether the agency pricing regime, which is now in place by contract with all five of the biggest trade publishers, helps keep competitive balance in the ebook marketplace or prevents it.
Mike Shatzkin, E-publishing Guru: A TeleRead Q&A (TeleRead)
Leading up to Digital Book World Conference + Expo, there was a person I had hoped I would be able to catch up with. I’ve heard him talk at events, I read his blog, and he always gets me thinking about what’s ahead. That person is Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company. He has been part of the publishing business for 50 years.
Amazon’s Bookstores Should Be Celebrated, Not Feared (Guardian)
You could describe it as a troubling development in publishing: someone comes along with no real knowledge of the book business, a brash salesman who sells books cheaply, undercuts established rivals, and drives them out of business. Then he moves into publishing as well, and allows people to publish themselves without recourse to the gatekeeping tastemakers. But I’m not talking about Jeff Bezos and Amazon. I’m talking about James Lackington, who turned the book business upside down—at the end of the 18th century.
Pinterest for Publishers (BookMachine)
Change is certainly the only thing that is constant among all social media networks. You can’t afford to grow comfortable with the way things are because today’s Facebook may look different next year—or even next month. The same goes for Pinterest. The founders keep arguing that this website is a search engine, but everyone else keeps calling it a social media network. Whatever you call it, Pinterest has changed as well. If you haven’t been using Pinterest, this post will help you to get started. If you’ve been on Pinterest for some time, you’ll learn about changes that have recently occurred.
Snapchat for Publishers (BookMachine)
Although Snapchat has been around since 2011, it has recently become one of the top ways young people communicate. However, Snapchat is not exclusively used by YA tweens and it is time that publishing took note of the platform. The latest data reveals that 71 percent of Snapchat users are under 34, and Snapchat has potential to reach far more audiences than the YA market.
2015 Was a Bright Spot for Bookselling (PW)
Preliminary estimates released on February 12th by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that bookstore sales rose 2.5 percent in 2015 over 2014, the first annual increase since 2007. Bricks-and-mortar bookstore sales were down 36 percent in 2014 from their 2007 peak, due to the Great Recession, the surge in ebook sales, and the jump in online retailing. (The census figures include revenue from all retailers “primarily engaged” in selling new books which includes outlets other than indie and chain stores.) During that same period, the number of chain and independent bookstores—as measured by outlets operated by Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Borders and ABA member stores—fell by 18 percent.
Native Ads at a Mecca for Millennials (Pub Perspectives)
Have you heard that that nobody’s making money at Wattpad? Yeah, no, that’s not true. Last year, says Head of Content Ashleigh Gardner, the site paid out more than $1 million to writers on the platform. “And this year, we have even more branded work going on,” she says, “so I’m confident that one-million-dollar figure will go up. Whether it’s a book or perfume or candy or a film,” she says, Wattpad has become a place for brands to have their stories told by Wattpadders to Wattpadders. And advertisers are being creative with their approaches.
Pearson Closing the Book on Difficult 2015 (Pub Lunch)
Pearson reported full-year results for a rough 2015 that are line with their previously-reduced guidance, and their January announcement of plans to cut 4,000 jobs and take restructuring charges of £320 million in 2016.
E-textbook Sales Surge at JS Group (Bookseller)
The JS Group has reported a surge in e-textbook sales, with digital now accounting for 13 percent of the academic retailer’s book revenue. E-textbooks have so far been slower to catch on in the academic market than the trade market, but the JS Group’s latest financial results suggest that this trend is shifting, with its digital textbook sales rising 1,090 percent and accounting for 13 percent of its book sales for the year June 2014-May 2015, from 0 percent the previous year.