Digital Production & Technology

Resources and information on the cutting edge of ebook production and design plus insights on the digital technologies that are redefining what’s possible in publishing.

idpf

Save the IDPF. Save EPUB.

We, the members of the “Save the IDPF. Save EPUB.” campaign committee, are reaching out to the publishing community to update you on our work and ask for your help. We believe that the International Digital Publishing Forum’s (IDPF) reckless transfer of assets to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is a threat to...

google, apple, amazon, digital, content, ebooks

Here’s Another Way Digital Could Complement Print

As I’ve said before, the publishing industry needs to get beyond the current “print or digital” mindset and instead explore ways for one to complement the other. Plenty of industry stats show that most readers are comfortable with either format and that many prefer the convenience of switching between the two (e.g., reading the...

content, publishers, marketing, discovery, books

‘The Content Trap’ Is the Must-Read Book of the Year

A recent trip to a local brick-and-mortar bookstore helped me realize that even the best algorithms and email campaigns can’t replace in-person product discovery. On this trip, I noticed a book called The Content Trap sitting face-out on the shelf and couldn’t resist picking it up. Great title. Intriguing outline. Normally I’d make a...

amazon, rapids, ebook, app, reading

Amazon Rapids and the Dumbing-Down of Reading

At first I thought it was a “Saturday Night Live” parody about ebooks for kids. We’re so addicted to info-snacking, seemingly less able to (and interested in) focus on long-form reading, so let’s create a new platform that helps foster even shorter attention spans for our kids. Amazon Rapids is nothing more than a series of...

ebooks, apps, reading, games, books, audiobooks

Do We Really Need to Innovate the Reading Experience?

Reading a book used to be considered a fairly straightforward experience. You opened the book (it was a print book) and you started reading. Today we have ebooks and audiobooks, which, to varying degrees, have changed our reading experiences. With an ebook, we can read that same print book on our phones, on our...

curation, publishers, books, readers, consumers

The Power and Limits of Curation

We’re all drowning in content. From long-form writing on LinkedIn and Medium to snackable content in our Twitter and Instagram feeds, to the explosion of self-published books, we’re inundated with options. Eliot Peper said it well: Blogs made everyone a journalist. Self-publishing made everyone an author. YouTube made everyone a filmmaker. Itunes made everyone a...

google, google play, ebooks, data, amazon, kindle, apple, ibooks

Google Experiments and Fails with Book Discovery

Even though you probably never stray from Amazon’s Kindle reader app, I’d like to encourage you to expand your horizons. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on Apple iBooks and Google Play, for example, to explore other platforms and keep Amazon honest. After all, Amazon’s need to innovate diminishes if ebook platform...

publishers, customers, data, service

Big Data’s Power to Innovate Content and Enhance Reader Engagement

Consumption habits across industries, spanning different products and services, are evolving dramatically in the digital era. And the book publishing sector is not immune to these winds of change. Like film, music and other forms of content, books, too, are undergoing a major transformation in terms of both development and distribution, thanks to rapidly...

machine learning, publishers, data, metadata, bestseller list

Machine Learning and Bestseller Prediction: More Than Words Can Say

There’s been much recent conjecture on whether book sales can be predicted by text analysis alone. My company, Kadaxis, has dedicated the past few years to machine learning research and product development for the publishing industry. In our early days, we set out to build an algorithm to predict bestsellers, and tested it in...

data, big data, publishers, books, sales, customers, readers

Is It Possible to Predict the Next New York Times Bestseller?

The upcoming book The Bestseller Code is getting a great deal of buzz, forcing many of us to ask the question, Can one genuinely predict what kind of book will become a New York Times bestseller (typically considered the most prestigious bestseller list)? The promise of a formula for predicting a bestseller is getting...

audiobooks, authors, books, indie authors

Authors, Can You Afford to Produce an Audiobook?

One of the first questions that indie authors and small- to mid-size publishers ask me about audiobook production is, “How much does it cost?” My answer is always, “It depends.” Producing an audiobook is like building a house: your choices dictate your final cost. Each recording is custom-made rather than mass-produced. When people contact...

seo, publishers, google, search, content

5 Traffic-Growing On-Page Optimization Techniques for Publishers

If you’ve read my previous article on keyword research, you’re probably ready to put your optimization efforts into action. Quite possibly the most important part of SEO is content creation, and the optimization of that content. In this article, I’m going to offer some insider tips on how to optimize your content and prepare...

sara nelson, harper, harpercollins, dbw, digital book world conference

What Agents Should Know About Ebooks Made from PDFs

Agents, here’s what you should know about ebooks made from PDFs: they’re not perfect. Knowing this will put you in a better position to protect your authors’ work. While an ebook made from a PDF is almost certainly better than one made from a scan (OCR), don’t fall into the trap of thinking that it...

audiobooks, print books

Why Audio Is Better Than Print

I’m always surprised by the hesitancy with which some people approach audiobooks. Despite their ability to offer consumers a uniquely beneficial experience with the text, the format is frequently met with reservations. Last month, Daniel Berkowitz discussed some of those misgivings in his piece “Audiobooks Make Me Feel Like I’m Cheating” for this publication....

books, publishers, search, discovery, metadata

Topic (Keyword) Research & Analysis Insights for Publishers

In this article, you’re going to get an insider look at how to effectively research and analyze keywords for print and online publishing. The data that you have at your disposal is incredible, and it’s vital that a publisher extract all the knowledge it can from understanding how its target audience seeks out topics...

big data, machine learning, chatbots, Digital Book World

What Can Publishers Learn from Pokemon Go?

Long considered nothing more than a gimmicky fad, it turns out that augmented reality (AR) is actually alive and well. At least that’s the case when it’s associated with a brand as large as Pokemon. By now you’ve undoubtedly heard all the Pokemon Go stories, and maybe you’ve even dodged a player or two,...

curation, publishers, books, readers, consumers

Loving the Alien: Machine Learning and Publishing

Over the past few weeks, Mike Shatzkin, Neil Balthaser and Ali Albazaz have debated whether machine learning systems will be able to predict a bestseller (Mike’s initial blog post is “Full text examination by computer is very unlikely to predict bestsellers”; Neil’s response is “Yes, Machine Learning Can Help Predict a Bestseller”; and Ali’s...

machine learning, publishers, data, big data

Yes, Machine Learning Can Help Predict a Bestseller

Last month, Mike Shatzkin wrote a blog post titled “Full text examination by computer is very unlikely to predict bestsellers,” in which he described how the claims of the creation of an algorithm that predicts bestsellers, as outlined in a new book The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel, are impossible. While I...

social media, authors, marketing, books, sales, twitter, facebook

The Importance of SEO Training for Editorial Teams

Search engines typically represent one of the largest—if not the largest—traffic sources for websites and online publishers, in particular. And publishing houses’ editorial teams hold the keys to this traffic, so it only makes sense to align their efforts with a content strategy that is backed by keyword and topic search volume data. For...

audiobooks, books, content, iphone

Audiobooks Make Me Feel Like I’m Cheating

Let’s get this out of the way: I love audiobooks. Since reluctantly trying them earlier this year, I have found I cannot get enough of them. I listen to them all the time. They have become part of my daily routine. But as I listen to more and more audiobooks—sometimes as many as two...

ocr, optical character recognition, ebook, author, publisher, book

What Authors Should Know About OCR

If you published a book before 2008, its ebook edition was probably created using optical character recognition (OCR). And if your ebook was created using OCR, it probably has typos in it. That’s the bad news. The good news: you don’t have to accept this situation. What’s special about the year 2008? Nothing, really....

How Siri, Alexa and Other IPAs Will Revolutionize Publishing

How Siri, Alexa and Other IPAs Will Revolutionize Publishing

For the past several years, I’ve been writing about how containers, such as books, newspapers and magazines, are slowly fading away. They’ll certainly be around for many years, but their relevance will slip into the background as personalized, digital content streams become more important. The more I think about the future, the more I...

audiobooks, digital audiobooks, authors, publishers, self-publishing

The Audiobook Boom: What’s Happening and How Can I Be Included?

Audiobooks have long been operating in the digital space. Well before ebooks were gaining major popularity, digital audiobooks were helping audio publishing grow. With the introduction of the iPod at the turn of the century and the adoption of smartphones over the last decade, audiobooks have been booming: over the last five years, both...