Category Archives: EPUB

IDPF Conference on eBooks

On May 11 – 12th the IDPF will hold its Digital Book 2009 Conference in NYC.  The theme is “an eBook Stimulus plan for Publishing.”  More information is available on the conference website.  Looks like there will be some sessions on DRM, ePUB, XML, and a presentation from Google on the Book Search program. Anyone attending?  If so, consider posting your comments here on the blog.

Digital Book 2009: An eBook Stimulus Plan for Publishing

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Michael Smith Executive Director International Digital Publishing Forum 905-235-4373 msmith@idpf.org

Digital Book 2009: An eBook Stimulus Plan for Publishing

NYC Conference to focus on booming eBook business and winning commercial models

New York, NY April 06, 2009: The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reported last week that eBook sales represent the fastest growing segment of the industry while US book sales are in decline across all major book publishing markets.  To promote eBook commercial success for booksellers, publishers, authors, and distributors the International Digital Publishing Forum (www.IDPF.org) will host its annual spring educational seminar on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at the McGraw-Hill Auditorium in New York City.  Added to this fast-paced “best practices” conference will be a half-day workshop to be held on the afternoon of Monday, May 11, 2009.   Please see www.idpf.org/digitalbook09

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Tim O’Reilly: Kindle needs open ePub-style standard to survive, from Teleread.org

Tim O’Reilly: Kindle needs open ePub-style standard to survive
www.teleread.org – Posted: 23 Feb 2009 08:40 AM CST
“Unless Amazon embraces open e-book standards like ‘epub,’ which allow readers to read books on a variety of devices, the Kindle will be gone within two or three years.” – Tim O’Reily in Why Kindle should be an open book, in Forbes.

The TeleRead take: It’s hard to tell how things will shake out, but Tim persuasively summons up a little history—Microsoft’s failed attempt with the Microsoft Network publishing platform. By contrast, O’Reilly got on the Web early with the Global Net Navigator and in time was well rewarded for the experience it gained with an open approach.

The point is, closed standards are a pain in the rear for e-book-lovers and other users who inevitably will want hardware or content that isn’t compatible with MegaCorp’s system. This disillusionment is a little akin to decaying Web links. At first, people buy into Mega’s plans and think that its  proprietary product line will endure forever. Only later do the hassles emerge.

E-book lessons from Oprah’s past
Remember how Oprah touted Gemstar e-book readers some years ago? But then consumers rebelled against a limited choice of books. Even now, following her backing of the Kindle, Oprah fans are finding that many O-blessed books are missing. Last I knew, she wasn’t doing a K version of her O magazine. Her fans may also have been put off by the complexities of the technology, to which proprietary formats can add.

While Jeff Bezos can talk of offering every book in E, he’s jeopardizing his own version by aiming for exclusives. What happens when other giants step in and start bidding wars—not just for temporary exclusivity but in time for the permanent variety?

The score that really counts in book-selling

More importantly, Jeff should also remember that the most meaningful score in the book-selling isn’t market share but healthy growth of earnings. Closed standards like the Kindle’s will slow down the rate of e-book adoption, as people find that his supposedly universal solution isn’t one at all.

What’s more, with Kindle-type DRM, all kinds of nasty issues emerge, such as the inability of readers to own their books for real. Jeff was smart enough to set up a music store without DRM. He should consider the the same for e-books, using social DRM, if need be, in place of “real” DRM. Publishers could still have the option of using DRM, but I suspect that market pressures would encourage back off from this consumer nightmare. DRM is especially nasty in that it turns nonproprietary e-formats into proprietary ones.
Technorati Tags: Tom O’Reilly,O’Reilly Media

eBooks I: Business Models and Strategies, OReilly TOC

The OReilly Tools of Change conference is underway in NYC, with many presentations and discussions about ebooks.  One that caught my eye was a panel discussion of eBook business models and strategies.  The presenters were:  Michael Smith (International Digital Publishing Forum), Kenneth Brooks (Cengage Learning), Leslie Hulse (HarperCollins Publishers), Cynthia Cleto (Springer Science+Business Media.  Cynthia Cleto was featured in the NSR audio interview in October, 2008.

The presentation demonstrates various drivers of ebook publishing, challenges, and patterns in user behavior that are driving the market to offer various business models.  It breaks down ebooks into the trade, higher ed, reference, and STM categories providing comparison charts on challenges, strategies, formats, etc.  I was happy to see catch phrases like – epub, DRM not necessary, and sales by the chapter, but unfortunately, they were not listed in each of the four categories.

eBooks II:  Formats, Standards, and Implementation, part two of the series on eBooks, discussed epub, but on the developer side of things.

Reference Publishers Debate Single Platform

On the Friday of the ALAMW Conference, the Independent Reference Publishers Group met for a panel presentation/discussion on using one single platform to host all reference content.  It was an interesting discussion.  I’ve summarized the panel in my notes below.

Independent Reference Publishers Group Meeting

Friday, January 23, 2009

Representatives from the following organizations were in attendance: Choice, CQ Press, Omnigraphics, Sharpe, ifactory, Sage, Salem, Neal Schumann, ABC-CLIO, Rosen, Credo Reference, Serials Solutions, NISO, Booklist, CHOICE, Wright State University.

The theme of this meeting and panel discussion was instituting a single platform for electronic reference content. Sue Polanka from WSU started things off with her wish list and each publisher had a chance to respond.

Sue Polanka – Wright State University

One day I’d like to purchase/license all of my reference content, regardless of publisher, and load it on the platform of my choice for the best cross searching available. This platform could be an existing one, like GVRL, Credo, ebrary, EBL, NetLibrary, etc. or some shareware, something developed by libraries. Benefits to patrons and librarians include: Greater access, more content, single search interface for ease of use and discoverabilty, easy to implement in library instruction and on web sites. These systems need to have unlimited simultaneous use, 24/7 access, with no DRM or other restrictions on downloading or printing, the most multimedia available during today’s expensive economic times and an actual ebook price, up front, would be appreciated.

Todd Carpenter – NISO

One platform has barriers to interoperability and they are bigger than technological, as in political and economic. [barriers shouldn’t prevent us from trying to do this. IRPG would be a good venue to discuss this. Seems like publishers would want to do this for reasons of – more exposure, and less cost of producing pricey interfaces – has anyone ever heard of epub or the IDPF? SP]

Peter McCracken – Serials Solutions

Federated products are often a starting point for research and therefore have an opportunity to have a reference role. The current design doesn’t work best for the patron since they get mostly articles. Somehow relevance needs to be a factor to assign tags to reference and get them to the top. We need to use field mapping more effectively. [I prefer a pre-indexed approach since federated products tend to be slow. Publishers/aggregators should take advantage of all metadata and tag reference items appropriately. If federated products are used, the reference content should be faceted as “overview material” or “background information.” SP]

Rolf Janke – Sage Reference

Publishers still have an infrastructure that supports print publishing.  The infrastructure is a difficult component to downsize in favor of doing more digital publishing. Print is a one size fits all model yet e publishing is not so, publishers have a multitude of business models, interfaces, features, etc.  The concept of a one size fits all platform for all publishers content is way ahead of its time, publishers currently could never agree on a standard business model. Pricing standards could help, but are not likely. [Gee, these must be the political and economic barriers that Todd was referring to? Looks like publishers could learn about collaboration from libraries. SP]

Ron Boehm – ABC-CLIO

Publishers need to invest in new things while maintaining our print production, which is expensive for publishers, particularly in these bad economic times. Right now we need to do both [e and p] or we would lose half of our business. The best strategy for ebooks is to have unlimited access. Ron supports the idea of publishers working with multiple aggregators or distributors to have reference content available in a multitude of platforms, but doesn’t recommend the libraries/consortia maintain their own platform. [Ditto on unlimited access and multiple aggregators. OhioLINK has been maintaining its own platforms for years. It’s a great system when you want to make enhancements and don’t have to wait on other companies or the majority of users to agree. SP]

Cleveland Public Library offers EPUB

CLEVELAND, OH, Jan 15 (MARKET WIRE) –
Cleveland Public Library (http://emedia.clevnet.org) today became the
first public library to offer eBook downloads in the industry standard
EPUB format. Readers at both Cleveland Public Library and CLEVNET member
libraries can check out and download EPUB eBooks from the library’s
download website. The EPUB files are optimized for the Sony(R) Reader and
can also be read on a PC or Mac(R) with free Adobe(R) Digital Editions
software. More than 8,500 libraries powered by OverDrive
(www.overdrive.com) will soon be able to offer eBooks in the EPUB format,
along with more than 150,000 titles in audiobook, eBook, music, and video
formats, many of which are compatible with both Mac and iPod(R).

Patron-defined lending periods will also be available for the first time
today at http://emedia.clevnet.org. The new feature allows libraries to
offer a variety of borrowing options, such as 7, 14, or 21 day lending
periods. Fast readers can now select a shorter checkout time, allowing
them to borrow more titles from their library. Patron-defined lending
periods, EPUB eBooks, and other upcoming enhancements will be
demonstrated at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting 2009
(http://www.ala.org/ala/conferencesevents/upcoming/midwinter/home.cfm) on
Jan. 23-26 (Booth #2042).

EPUB is a reflowable, XML-based format for eBooks and other digital
publications developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum
(www.idpf.org) and adopted by leading publishers and technology firms as
the industry standard for eBooks. OverDrive, an IDPF member company, is
the only library download service that supports EPUB and integrates the
format into a single platform for delivering digital audiobooks, eBooks,
music, and video to library customers. More information on the EPUB
format is available at

http://overdrive.com/resources/mediaformats/eBooks.asp.

“EPUB eBooks are enhanced for mobile reading with reflowable text to fit
any screen and are compatible with the Sony Reader,” said David Burleigh,
director of marketing for OverDrive. “Major publishers such as Hachette
Book Group USA, Random House, and HarperCollins offer eBooks to libraries
in this emerging standard format, so library customers will be able to
enjoy award-winning and best-selling EPUB eBooks with just their library
card and an Internet-connected computer.”

“Introducing the EPUB format in the library market will enhance the eBook
experience for library patrons, as well as accelerate the wide-spread
adoption of this standard for digital reflowable text,” said Michael
Smith, executive director of the IDPF. “More publishers are utilizing
EPUB as they digitize front and backlist titles to provide a greater
selection for digital library patrons.”

OverDrive distributes thousands of EPUB eBooks from top publishers. EPUB
eBooks by James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, David Sedaris, Janet
Evanovich, Elmore Leonard, Lisa Kleypas, and Brad Meltzer will soon be
available to libraries powered by OverDrive. Popular and best-selling
EPUB titles will also be available, including “Dewey: The Small Town
Library Cat,” “Things I’ve Learned from Women Who’ve Dumped Me,”
“Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion,” and “Gossip Girl.”

All EPUB eBook downloads from the OverDrive-powered library download
website are borrowed just like a print book. A library customer can browse
a library’s digital catalog for titles, check out a title with a library
card, and download the eBook to his or her home computer. The titles can
be transferred from the library customer’s home computer to a Sony Reader
PRS-505 (with proper firmware installed) or PRS-700 using the Adobe
Digital Editions software. At the end of the lending period, the file
automatically expires and Adobe Digital Editions prompts the user to
delete the title from his or her computer.

OverDrive powers download media catalogs at thousands of libraries
worldwide, including institutions in New York, Singapore, Boston, and
Toronto. To see if your library is a member of the OverDrive network,
visit http://search.overdrive.com. OverDrive also operates the Digital
Bookmobile (www.digitalbookmobile.com), a high-tech 18-wheeler that
travels coast-to-coast raising awareness about free library downloads.

About OverDrive

OverDrive is a leading full-service digital distributor of eBooks,
audiobooks, music, and video. We deliver secure management, DRM
protection, and download fulfillment services for hundreds of publishers
and thousands of libraries, schools, and retailers serving millions of
end users. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, OH.
www.overdrive.com

Contact:
David Burleigh
OverDrive, Inc.
216-573-6886 x218
Email Contact

NetLibrary titles now available on Sony Reader

Sony teams with NetLibrary to offer digital editions and Readers
By Paul Biba

Sony is continuing to market its reader to more and more outlets. That’s only good for e-books as a whole.

In addition to the deal with Harlequin, Sony just announced a collaboration with NetLibrary:

images.jpgThe program includes a Reader model PRS-505, a collection of titles from leading publishers and all required licenses. Using the library’s PC, librarians can download a mobile collection title or titles from the NetLibrary site to the Reader as necessary.

Libraries that purchase Mobile Collections will be able to offer their patrons the ability to check out Readers for onsite or offsite use, depending on the policy established by each library. Collections, selected by NetLibrary’s collections librarian, include Career Development and Business Self Help (30 titles), Management and Leadership (22 titles), Popular Fiction (29 titles), Romance (19 titles) and Young Adult Fiction (24 titles).

Circulating Reader units through OCLC’s newly established program is just one way libraries are able to offer eBooks to their communities and expose people to electronic reading. Thousands of public libraries in the United States already offer online collections that patrons can borrow, typically for two to three weeks. eBooks are offered in the Adobe PDF format and it is expected that the recently established EPUB format will become common.

Sony Teams with NetLibrary to offer digital editions and Readers

From www.teleread.org

Sony teams with NetLibrary to offer digital editions and Readers
By Paul Biba

Sony is continuing to market its reader to more and more outlets. That’s only good for e-books as a whole.

In addition to the deal with Harlequin, Sony just announced a collaboration with NetLibrary:

images.jpgThe program includes a Reader model PRS-505, a collection of titles from leading publishers and all required licenses. Using the library’s PC, librarians can download a mobile collection title or titles from the NetLibrary site to the Reader as necessary.

Libraries that purchase Mobile Collections will be able to offer their patrons the ability to check out Readers for onsite or offsite use, depending on the policy established by each library. Collections, selected by NetLibrary’s collections librarian, include Career Development and Business Self Help (30 titles), Management and Leadership (22 titles), Popular Fiction (29 titles), Romance (19 titles) and Young Adult Fiction (24 titles).

Circulating Reader units through OCLC’s newly established program is just one way libraries are able to offer eBooks to their communities and expose people to electronic reading. Thousands of public libraries in the United States already offer online collections that patrons can borrow, typically for two to three weeks. eBooks are offered in the Adobe PDF format and it is expected that the recently established EPUB format will become common.

Overdrive Promises more Content, Less DRM

From the TeleRead blog:
OverDrive: ‘Much more content without DRM’ promised for libraries in ‘09
By David Rothman

image Again and again I’ve asked the IDPF to please consider a logo for DRMless ePub books. OverDrive founder Steve Potash is also president of the IDPF, and recently he told Library Journal:

“OverDrive is the leader in bringing downloadable MP3 audiobooks to libraries. [It] is leading the library market in bringing all formats of digital media to readers—including much more content without DRM during 2009.”

I hope that includes copyrighted e-books, too, not just MP3. Like Steve, I’m keen on writers and publishers getting paid, and there are ways for this to happen without DRM. For now, I’ll regard the above statement as indicating at least some flexibility.

Meanwhile check out other comments in the LJ piece, headlined Apple’s DRM News said to have little effect on libraries for now.

(Thanks to Ed Klopek.)

Independent Publishers – Meet Constellation, your answer to eBooks

I think you all know that I love ebooks, particularly in my reference collection.  My main gripe, the small independent publishers don’t have the resources to publish their titles electronically.  Now, there is a solution.  Yesterday, the Perseus Books Group launched Constellation – an eBook solution for independent publishers.

Constellation will convert print ready PDFs into .epub and other formats in order to distribute them to various eBook content providers.  Ebrary and Overdrive are both on the list, in addition to Amazon and Sony.

Librarians, spread the word to your favorite independent publisher.   Check out the press release from Perseus.