Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

Technology decisions

Bluntly put: it’s time to get the IT department out of the basement and into a big open-plan office with your designers and editors. Where printed books required book-printing specialists to talk to editors and designers, ebooks require those editors and designers to work alongside technical specialists. Here are some of the key issues they’ll be talking about.

File formats

A few years ago, it was tricky to decide which ebook file formats to work with. Today, it’s the one easy decision to make. You’re making two separate decisions here: … Read more

Data-asset-management systems

As I mentioned earlier, you’ll either be making ebook files (the PDFs and epub files you sell) one by one, or you’ll have a system for generating them on the fly, as they’re needed. Let’s call the first method manual and the second automatic. … Read more

Metadata

Physical books live on shelves and move in packages that are neatly labelled with all kinds of useful information. In the virtual places that ebooks live, those neat labels are their metadata: lists of information about a book. And in the best ebooks, even their parts (chapters, subsections, even paragraphs) have metadata labels. Without them, ebooks are as useful as boxes of books in your warehouse with inaccurate or absent packaging labels. … Read more

Digital Rights Management

DRM is any technical measure that restricts what you can do with a file. Usually, DRM stops you from copying or printing an ebook, as the publisher’s or retailer’s attempt to slow piracy. The industry standard for wrapping ebooks in DRM (neither Amazon’s Kindle DRM nor Barnes & Noble’s in-house variant) is the Adobe Content Server, which can add DRM to PDF and epub files. That DRM then only lets you open those files in an application that supports Adobe DRM (such as Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) or a Sony ereader), and only when that application has been registered with your Adobe username and password. … Read more

Arthur Attwell 16 April 2010
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