A self-appointed “Save the IDPF, Save EPUB” committee has recently formed to publicly attack the IDPF/W3C combination plan and announce a campaign of its own with the goal “to keep the IDPF going as a standalone trade organization.” This group sees the combination as a “threat to the long-term health of the ebook industry.”
Their communications contain significant misinformation about IDPF and our plan to combine with W3C (IDPF sets the record straight here). But the concerns they raise about the future of EPUB within W3C underscore EPUB’s critical role in today’s ebook value chain. While IDPF is not a book industry only organization, and EPUB is not just an ebook format, I think it’s useful to examine the question of what the combination will mean specifically for the book industry.
EPUB will be in the mainstream, not a silo
The primary motivation to combine IDPF with W3C now was to ensure that EPUB’s future will be well-integrated with, and in the mainstream of, the overall Open Web Platform (on which EPUB is fundamentally based). The world needs an accessible, mobile-ready portable document format, not one stuck with a paper-replica model. EPUB has successfully delivered on this but has not yet been widely adopted across all parts of publishing. Meanwhile, W3C has been working for more than two years on a concept of “Portable Web Publications” and continues to be supportive of enhancing publishing features throughout the Open Web Platform.
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Sargent: Even As Ebooks Shrink, Data Will Drive Better Publishing (Pub Lunch)
Macmillan CEO John Sargent told you all you need to know about the state of digital publishing and the evolution of the Digital Book World conference when he opened the show in New York on Tuesday by answering pre-submitted audience questions. “Why isn’t he speaking about digital?” Sargent said at the top. “Because you didn’t want me to,” with submitted questions addressing broader and cultural issues.
Nielsen Estimates 16 Percent Decline in 2016 Ebook Sales (Pub Lunch)
In a set of very fast-moving overview slides, Nielsen Book global managing director Jonathan Stolper said the company is estimating that ebook unit sales for 2016 for the twenty plus companies that provide their data will show a decline of 16 percent, with unit sales of 177 million. (So far PubTrack Digital has compiled and published data only through September 2016.) That estimate for 2016 compares to 210 million units in 2015, 234 million units in 2014, 242 million units in 2013, closer to the 165 million units recorded in 2012.
Nielsen Book Releases New UK and US Metadata Reports (Pub Perspectives)
Charting the importance of proper and timely use of metadata, Nielsen Book’s twin studies from the US and UK markets may be motivational updates for publishers.
Q&A with Pronoun: An Increasingly Competitive Ebook Distributor (Jane Friedman)
Do you remember the digital publishing startups Vook? Booklr? Byliner? All of these services/companies have been folded into an ebook distribution service known as Pronoun, which was launched in fall 2015 and later acquired by Big Five publisher Macmillan.
4 Book Formatting Mistakes to Avoid (BookWorks)
Looking at the actual files that are used to print books is often quite revealing. Book formatting mistakes abound, many of which can be avoided. I get sent a lot of files for various reasons. They might be the files from a self-publisher who thought they would design and lay out their book themselves. Faced with a very steep learning curve, and not getting the result they want, they send me the files to “fix up.”
A Few Words with DBW’s International Fellows (Pub Perspectives)
From Greece, Norway, Iceland, and the UK, the 2017 Digital Book World Fellows speak about their successes, their challenges, and why they’re traveling to the conference.