digital production

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Screwdrivers, Hacksaws and Other Ebook Production Tools

Every ebook developer has a favorite set of tools, but according to one expert in the space, not every ebook developer remembers to ask why they use the ones they do. As Keith Snyder puts it, “On deadline, we choose the devil we know.” But one largely neglected software, in Snyder’s view, is a...

Fonts and Nonsense: What Bookerly and Literata Get Wrong

There’s been a lot of hoopla lately about two recent typographic improvements to major e-reading environments, Kindle’s new Bookerly typeface and the Literata font for Google Play Books. Commentators have tossed around celebratory remarks like, “the Kindle finally gets typography that doesn’t suck” and “e-readers rejoice!” But many of us in the cheap seats—that is to...

ebook developers digital production Joshua Tallent`

Understanding Ebook Production (and Why You Might Want to)

With the ebook market basically stuck in neutral, some ebook developers are doing a bit of soul-searching. In one view, the profession may be losing some of its appeal as publishers pare back their investments in digital production and talented coders seek fatter paychecks in other industries. And it doesn’t help that acquiring professional-grade...

ebook developers digital production Joshua Tallent

Seven Ways to Get Ebook Production Training

My colleague and fellow ebook developer Laura Brady wrote recently about the challenging job prospects facing would-be ebook production professionals. As she pointed out, learning how to create ebooks is neither an easy process nor a cheap one. But Brady also noted that there’s still a range of ways to acquire production training—to which...

ebook developers digital production Laura Brady

Do They Still Make Ebook Developers Like They Used to?

Are talented ebook developers getting harder to come by? Some in the field believe that they are. Digital production expert Laura Brady says there are probably several, interconnected reasons for that. For one thing, acquiring the necessary skills can be time-consuming and costly, and candidates who possess them can usually expect higher salaries in...

ebook developers digital production Laura Brady

Are Good Jobs for Good Ebook Developers Drying up?

Lately there have been rumors within the profession that it’s becoming harder and harder to hire a good ebook developer. Is this true? In my personal experience, it is. But I also think there are broader issues at play than just a shortage of talent. A conversation on the subject during a recent #eprdctn...

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One EPUB to Rule Them All?

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...

EPUB digital ebook production workflow

The Pros and Cons of Single-EPUB Workflows

Many publishers and ebook creation companies strive to create a single EPUB file they can deliver to all of the different retailers, rather than producing different files for each one. While there are pros and cons to this approach to ebook production, my own view is that the pros outweigh the cons. But first,...

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How to (Really) Plan for Digital

“When was the last time you invited an ebook developer to an acquisitions meeting?” digital production expert Laura Brady asks. Inviting ebook developers to the table early in the publishing process isn’t about scrambling the production-editorial circuit. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. “The in-house crew responsible for the ebook will have a perspective...

Ebook Developers Need a Seat at the Planning Table

When was the last time you invited an ebook developer to an acquisitions meeting? I venture to say that it’s the rare publisher who thinks that far in advance. The in-house crew responsible for the ebook will have a perspective that’s different than the editor’s, the sales manager’s, or the marketing team’s. Planning for...

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Why Ebook Developers Should Share Tools

One 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....

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Ten Great Ebook Production Tools

There are many ways to get at the insides of an EPUB—many of them idiosyncratic and unique to the particular needs of a given ebook developer. And not all tools are created equally. So while this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, it’s a quick guide to some of the best tools for...

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Print Habits Die Hard

It’s difficult to fault publishers for focusing their production workflows around print content. For one thing, it’s a reflection of the current market. With ebook growth slowing down and print holding strong, “typesetting for print is still a primary skill-set publishers need to maintain,” says leading ebook developer Laura Brady. But ebooks too often...

print digital ebook production workflows publishing

Twelve Ways to Update Print Production Habits

I was reading a novel today on a Kindle Paperwhite—or “dogfooding” as some would like this habit to be called. Despite the engaging content, I kept getting jarred out of the ebook by its low production quality. The formatting wasn’t even so horrible, but small mistakes kept punching me out of my immersive experience....

How to Build Rich Navigation in EPUB3

EPUB3 is no longer all that new, but there still seems to be some reluctance among digital publishers to make the final move to a full-fledged EPUB3 workflow. In just the last two months I’ve been asked several times about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of making the switch. And I’ve offered my opinion, unasked,...

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Barnes & Noble Spins off College Division

The bookseller announced yesterday it will separate its retail and ebook businesses from its college books business, with plans to set the latter up as a standalone education company by the end of August. That raises the question of whether Barnes & Noble’s plans for Nook Media have changed. While the company has said...

To Markup or to Markdown?

Many digital publishers agree HTML5 is one of the best mediums not only for outputting ebook content but for authoring it, too. Personally, I’m not so sure. At this year’s Digital Book World conference, I attended a panel session titled, “In Publishing’s Multi-Tech Future, Is HTML5 the ‘Magic Bullet’?” The main debate was centered...

Vital Source Launches Interactive Content Tools for Education Publishers

[Press Release] Vital Source Collaborates with Metrodigi to Enable Production of Interactive Content Initiative Gives Publishers Tools to Create Interactive Course Materials, Available through VitalSource Bookshelf eReader ORLANDO, FL –Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Content Group’s leading digital textbook solution, and Metrodigi®, the leading global cloud-based content creation software company, today announced a collaboration...

New Ebook Production Tools Heighten Focus on Quality

Changes in ebook production and conversion technologies are opening up new opportunities when it comes to digital content. But that expansion is also creating a handful of challenges for those who use such tools, and quality assurance methods will need to adapt to keep pace. On its face, the ebook management app Calibre’s recent upgrade doesn’t appear to concern...

The Future of Fixed-Layout Ebooks

How ebook designers can impact what comes next, Amazon widens cloud storage access and gains support for drone delivery, Audible gets into discovery, digital opportunities in Latin America and more.

Forging a Way Forward for Fixed-Layout Ebooks

Fixed-layout digital content has remained a stubbornly niche format in the broader ereading marketplace, and it always may. But their prevalence could soon be expanding, and according to Laura Brady, ebook production expert and Principal at Brady Type who joined Digital Book World for a live webcast yesterday, the Adobe Creative Cloud’s June update to InDesign represents a big step in...

New Ebook Production Tools

Getting acquainted with the new production technologies, weighing the future of digital content development, Rosetta Books moves to reinvent print models, Amazon's campus expansion and more.

ebooks, children's publishing, books, physical books

Before You Make a Fixed-Layout Ebook: Five Things to Watch Out For

So you want to make a fixed-layout ebook? For starters, are you sure? Publishers aren’t yet convinced that the format is much more than a niche market. But as technology evolves and ebook developers get better at producing more sophisticated FXL EPUB content more efficiently, change could soon be nearer at hand. Fixed layout is...

Confronting Digital Production Challenges

In March, we hosted a popular series of webcasts covering three major areas in ebook production today: design and typography, source file preparation and digital workflow development. All three of those sessions were flooded with questions the speakers didn’t have time to answer. So we asked each of them to address the most critical ones. In the...

Production Demands Push Publishers to Develop Software

Publishers aren’t software companies, at least according to digital production experts speaking at the International Digital Publishing Forum at Book Expo America in New York City this morning. But with publishers striving to develop ever more cutting-edge digital products, that could be changing. On one extreme is O’Reilly Media, which built its own digital production workflow...

eBook Architects Pilots Quality Assurance Tool

[Press Release] FlightDeck Tool from eBook Architects Launches Open Beta Firebrand Technologies, a leading publishing industry technology services company, announced today that its eBook Architects team has released a new EPUB quality assurance tool, FlightDeck, into a 2-month open beta. FlightDeck gives publishers and authors clear and actionable information on the quality and salability...