Francesca Zunino Harper is a linguist, translator, and publishing professional. She worked in the British and international academia researching on comparative literatures, translation, and women’s and environmental humanities for several years. She now works in the Humanities and Social Sciences area of publishing. You can follow her @ZuninoFrancesca.
Is 2017 the year you start to read up on the industry and changes sweeping the publishing world? Well we have made it a bit easier for you. Throughout 2016, Geethik Technologies have been bookmarking the very best discussions around ebooks and publishing from across the web, and have compiled them into one handy list for you here. (this blog post first appeared on the Geethik Technologies blog)
An idea to launch an ebook application and platform that support a survey-driven business model – by Joe Wilkert: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/another-way-to-monetize-ebooks/
An interesting review of where ebooks sit within global search, after the IDPF discusses a potential merger with W3C – by Andrew Rhomberg: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2016/will-an-open-web-liberate-reading-data/
Four qualities that will define open and interoperable ebooks of the future – by Sir Tim Berners-Lee: http://www.bookbusinessmag.com/article/what-the-inventor-of-the-world-wide-web-sees-for-the-future-of-ebooks/
Most libraries in the UK lend e-books but the choice of titles is limited. This new ruling could change things – by Glyn Moody: http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2016/11/ebooks-can-be-lent-by-libraries-rules-cjeu/
The IDPF have made it their mission to encourage the uptake of the modern EPUB3 standard. A very neat way for them to demonstrate how modern EPUB3 readers could and should work is by building one – by Ken Jones: https://bookmachine.org/2016/09/28/share-advance-copies-ebooks-without-suitable-device/
Are there any other thought-provoking reads of 2016 that you recommend? Please add them to the comments below.
Geethik Technologies convert over a million pages a year for book publishers globally. UK clients include The History Press, Octopus, Little Brown, Quercus, Faber & Faber, Yale University Press and Pavilion Books. Every ebook produced by Geethik goes through two rounds of in-house proof-reading to get it to the highest possible quality. Ebooks are then validated in-house to make sure they are compliant with the latest devices and ebook retailers.
Geethik Technologies are partnering with BookMachine on the Tech channel. This means that they will be contributing to the awesome updates that appear there, and 50% of all tech-related posts will feature Geethik branding. Basically, we are reminding you all about their great service to help to spread the word!
If you would like to find out more about working with Geethik (ebooks or typesetting), then click here
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Back in 2010, working at a scholarly publisher, I had a bet with our Production Director that half our revenue would be digital by the end of 2013. I lost. (We weren’t too far off, in my defence – scholarly publishers generally migrated their library revenues to digital faster and more fully than trade publishers have managed, but still.)
What he realised six years ago and I didn’t was the way that print as a technology suits us as humans so beautifully. For most of us, reading a book is more than simply translating the author’s brain output into our brain input. And reading on a flat screen, with the whole distracting noisy internet just one click away, is a very different technological and sensual experience. Not worse, necessarily, but different.
This week in The Extraordinary Business Book Club I spoke to Dr Tom Chatfield, author of the gorgeously tactile Live This Book. It’s a highly designed series of provocations: invitations to explore our own minds rather than bringing our questions to the internet to find out what everybody else thinks.
We talked about the role of the print book in an increasingly online world, and how it can work for both writer and reader.
‘This is a book that you write in, that you carry around with you, and I guess the genesis of it was the fact that I’ve done five books exploring technology in society. I love this idea of trying to use technology well. More and more as I spoke and wrote and consulted in this that I found people saying that their time, their attention, their focus was this incredibly scarce resource that they were really having enormous trouble keeping under control, and I became very interested in the kind of art and science of concentration, attention, and focus, and how actually a physical book and the physical act of writing on paper is an astonishingly good tool for kind of carving out a small amount of time each day for introspection, for planning a different type and texture of quality of time that you might not otherwise get in terms of working out what really matters, what’s really on your mind, what you’re really planning and hoping and dreaming of, and so on…
‘I’m very interested in getting away from tech bashing and a vague nostalgia for “Weren’t things better in the old days?” Some things are much, much better now. We have astonishing resources at our fingertips, so I’m interested in trying to be precise about this, and what you find if you look at the cognitive science is that resisting temptation, resisting the temptation to click elsewhere, to look elsewhere, to check your email, that burns through a certain amount of mental resource. I think attention management is one of the great skills for the next generation of workers and thinkers, because human attention is spent on our behalf and maybe mispriced by all of the services we use, and the physical tactile object of the act of writing, it lights up your brain in a very different way to stuff on a screen.
‘I’m very conscious of the fact that when I take my wonderful phone or my wonderful Kindle out, everything is in competition with everything else, and I’m dealing with suffusion, and so I think in a way to try to build different kinds of time into your day, and people, I think, are doing this more and more anyway in that nobody wants all their time to be the same kind of time. As human beings, we need difference and variety if we’re going to make the most of our mental resources. We need to sort of put things in boxes, have differentiation. Otherwise, in a way, we risk doing everything as if we were machines, as if we had a limitless data capacity and a limitless memory, and we’re not… We need interpersonal contact. We need things to have friction and texture. Really, memory and understanding are information plus emotion, if you like, and I think to make things stick in our minds, to make things really belong to us, to work out what we mean rather than just what is out there in the Web of information, this is becoming more and more valuable as we’re lucky enough to have more and more information at our fingertips.’
That phrase, ‘friction and texture’ summed it up for me: this is what print provides and a white screen does not. There’s a permanence and a fitness to the words on a printed page that is simply not there with a screen that will show something entirely different the next second.
I’m no less in love with digital books and their possibilities. I love having instant access to my entire library, being able to access a new book immediately, searching for and rediscovering half-remembered phrases. But I better understand now why print is so resilient. I’ll continue to be ambidextrous, reading in print or online as the inclination takes me, knowing that both serve me in different ways. It’s all good.
Alison Jones (@bookstothesky) is a publishing partner for businesses and organizations writing world-changing books. She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers. www.alisonjones.com.
In the run up to Publishing: the next 5 years, BookMachine will be featuring a number of opinions about what might be next for the industry. Here Kristina Radke (BookMachine host) interviews Thea James, speaker at BookMachine NYC.
Samantha Missingham is Head of Audience Development at Harper Collins Publishers. Here Stephanie Cox interviews Sam about her career so far, the impact of social media on publishing, and the various roles she has held.
Sure. I’ve spent the vast amount of my career working in magazine publishing. I started at a very small company that published financial technology titles. I learned a huge amount working in a small business with a very entrepreneurial boss. He taught me a few simple but important things – everyone in the company should be able to answer the phone & give a decent answer to any question about the business, also, pretty much every call coming into a business is a sales opportunity – if you understand everything that you sell.
I then worked at Centaur on many of their B2B magazines, including Marketing Week, Creative Review and New Media Age. I launched their community site MAD.co.uk (for marketing, advertising & design professionals). This is where I learned about building audiences/communities and the various ways you can get people to pay for content. And yes I was MAD Marketing Manager for a while 😉
In a move that defies every NSFW comic stereotype, the German Publishers & Booksellers Association has been told by the country’s Youth Protection Authority that all digital publications aimed at an adult audience can now only be sold between the hours of 10pm and 6am, effectively instating a watershed comparable to the transmission of adult material on British television after 9pm. When submitting ebooks to digital stores, publishers will now be met with a metadata entry field asking them to specify if the book should be classified as being specifically for adults. If so, the title will only be visible on digital retail sites between the designated hours.
Jeremy Trevathan, Publisher, is responsible for the shape, direction and profitability of the adult publishing lists at Pan Macmillan in the UK. This includes Macmillan, Pan, Picador, Mantle, Sidgwick & Jackson, Boxtree, Bello and the recently launched Bluebird. His authors have included bestsellers including Ken Follett, Jeffrey Archer, Max Hastings, James Herbert, Wilbur Smith, Peter Hamilton, China Mieville and Roy Jenkins to name a few. He began his career working in the Production Departments of Oxford Univeristy Press and Penguin Books, before transferring to the Subsidiary Rights Department at Penguin. Stints at Time-Life Books and Reader’s Digest Books in editorial roles preceded his arrival at Pan Macmillan in the mid-1990s as Subsidiary Rights Director. In 2000 he became Publisher of Macmillan.
The biggest change in the market since I became a publisher at Pan Macmillan has been the ebook. Amazon’s emergence in the late 1990s led to the growth of this format in publishing in the UK. During the 1990s Amazon quickly made all physical books available to all readers, which was pretty transformational in itself. There was no more need to wait 2 weeks for the arrival of a backlist title from a retailer.
This is a guest post from Sarah Blake. Sarah is a part-time librarian and current student on the Publishing Masters at City University.
Relating all the things I’ve learned on this course would take a long time, so for now I’ll elaborate on some of the most pertinent points that have cropped up over the year:
Today sees Readership – a new digital publishing platform – open for submissions. Writers seeking publication can upload extracts of their work to the site, where readers can cast a critical eye over the opening line, the first chapter and/or the second chapter, then decide if they’re interested enough to read more.
This is a guest post from Evie Prysor-Jones, Digital Publishing Executive, Blackwell’s Learning platform. (host of next month’s BookMachine London)
On New Year’s Day in 1879 Benjamin Henry Blackwell opened the doors to B.H. Blackwell’s, a 12-foot square bookshop on Broad Street in Oxford. On Tuesday 8th April 2014 Blackwell’s announced to the publishing industry that it was building a digital learning platform for students and academics, and on Monday 15th September 2014, we turned it on.
Julieta Lionetti has more than 20 years experience in the book industry. An international trade publisher until 2007, she has embraced the digital (r)evolution from its inception. On Wednesday she’ll be speaking at BookMachine Barcelona “On How Freakin’ Techies Taught Me To Love Literature Again”. Fabrizio Luccitti interviews Julieta for BookMachine.
Having seemingly realised that the market for this kind of thing isn’t going away any time soon, Pan Macmilan Australia’s digital imprint, Momentum, has launched another new imprint, Momentum Moonlight, dedicated to publishing romance, erotica and new adult titles (the new adult titles presumably falling on the grown-up Twilight, less-chaste epic romance end of the spectrum than the post-adolescence Hunger Games, where there’s no time for love what with all the dystopianism). Around the imprint, it also aims to build up an online community of romance readers, centred around a blog to which community members can contribute.
Arantxa Mellado is our top speaker at BookMachine Barcelona on 3rd July. Amongst other things she is CEO of the Spanish Digital Link and Director of Actualidad Editorial.
Arantxa will be talking about globalisation, and how she thinks that this is the best way to succeed in business in the digital age. We wanted to find out more, ahead of the event.
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