A Visit to Encyclopaedia Britannica

Monday, August 11th I stopped by the Encyclopaedia Britannica offices on LaSalle street in Chicago.  I visited Michael Ross, Senior VP of Corporate Development.  Michael gave me a nice tour of the Britannica headquarters and I took some photos to share with everyone.  You’ll see some remarkable similarities between an international publisher and a library.

britannica-001.jpg They have bookshelves AND servers.

britannica-002.jpg 60+ servers in 3 locations as a matter of fact.

britannica-004.jpg No, this isn’t spaghetti, it’s Britannica ONLINE!!  Don’t cut the pink one….

britannica-011.jpg Despite the thousands of wires to support Britannica online, they still have a print library collection.

britannica-009.jpg And they use white boards to sketch out future plans.

britannica-005.jpg I even got a sneak peek at the cover art for the 2009 Almanac!

britannica-010.jpg And they dress business casual, just like me!

Seriously now, Britannica has a really cool feature coming to all of their online products sometime this fall.  Right now it is called “project darwin” but it will take on a new name online.  This new feature will bring web 2.0 features to Britannica online including user comment/feedback areas.    Some other facts about Britannica:

Over one million visitors use Britannica online every day.

Britannica offers multiple interfaces for their products (they manage over 30) – public (free, with annoy wear) , individual membership, institutional/libraries, and multiple foreign language interfaces including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, French, and 2 in Spanish.

They offer thousands of videos too.

Britannica Blog offers daily posts on thousands of topics, by hundreds of writers – many well known.

For more information, check out Britannica Online here:  www.britannica.com

And thanks, Michael, for the tour!

Esquire’s October print cover will be electronic

From Marketing VOX July 28, 2008

Digital Meets Print on Esquire’s Cover

The 75th anniversary October issue of Esquire will feature an electronic cover with flashing words and images. The cover, created with electronic paper display (EPD) technology, will scroll “The 21st Century Begins Now” when it hits newsstands in September, reports MediaBuyerPlanner.

To offset the cost of its digital-meets-print edition, Esquire sold the inside cover ad to Ford, which will also use the EPD technology, according to Folio. Nothing was revealed on how Ford would incorporate the technology into its creative, though the company did say that it will feature its Ford Flex in the double-page spread.

To create the cover, Esquire worked with E Ink, the electronic paper display technologies firm that developed the technology for Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony reader. Hearst, which owns a stake in E Ink, says this is the first time an electronic cover has been done. “The 21st century begins this fall. The entire issue is devoted to exploring the ideas, people and issues that will be the foundation of the 21st century,” editor-in-chief David Granger stated.

Development of the EPD cover began two years ago. Hearst wouldn’t divulge the final price tag for creating a scrolling cover, but Granger said the company hopes to find a way to bring costs to do it again. He believes EPD technology could revolutionize the way magazines are read.

EPUB Standard now on Sony Reader

From Publishers Weekly:

Sony Adopts EPUB Standard for Reader

By Jim Milliot — Publishers Weekly, 7/24/2008 7:16:00 AM

The International Digital Publishing Forum’s epub e-book standard received a big vote of support this morning when Sony announced that effective immediately its Sony Reader will now support the standard. Beginning in August, all new devices shipped will use epub, and right now owners of existing devices can go to http://esupport.sony.com to update their device’s software for epub support.

Brennan Mullin, v-p of Sony Audio, said the company was adopting the epub standard to encourage more vendors, booksellers and publishers to get involved in the e-book market and to broaden the amount of content that can be viewed on the Reader. The move to use epub is a significant change in approach for Sony, which has used its own standards and restricted consumers to buying e-books for the Reader from its own store. The use of epub will allow consumers to buy titles from a variety of outlets and will grow the number of titles compatible with the Reader to well passed the 45,000 now available through its online store. Another avenue for new material will be Adobe: Sony also annouced today that the device will support Adobe e-books with DRM and will also have the capability to reflow standard PDF e-books and other documents.

Publishers, who generally favor the one-format approach made possible by epub, welcomed Sony’s decision. “Sony’s support of epub is an important step forward in the cooperation of publishers and portable digital book manufacturers to create better experiences for readers,” said Brent Lewis, v-p digital & internet for Harlequin. “We’re thrilled with the upgrade.”  IDPF, of which Sony is a member, approved epub as an industrywide standard in an attempt to foster interoperability among e-book reading devices.

Mullin said sales of the Reader have been steady and that sales of titles have increased. Interest in e-books has grown and although reluctant to credit a competitor, Mullin acknowledged that the buzz around Amazon’s Kindle “has been good for everybody in the e-book market.” Amazon, however, has not adopted the epub standard.

In addition to adopting the epub standard, Sony has announced it has started offering the Reader in the U.K.

Future of Reference Publishing – Panel Summary

A View From the Top Panel, ALA Annual Conference John Barnes, Rolf Janke, Sue Polanka, Michael Ross, Casper Grothwohl

For those of you unable to attend the ALA Panel – The Future of Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, there is a summary of the program available on Booklist Online.

We encourage comments, questions, and discussion on the blog.

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.