Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

How are your book files backed up?

Recently, a client asked for open files of a book we produced many years ago. It was great to be able to share the files with them online instantly. If you can’t access your old files quickly and easily, then your past publishing efforts can be wasted.

Sustainable book publishing is a long game: you need to be sure that the content you produce today is still useful in five or fifty years time. And that depends on good tech choices and good archiving.

At a company I once worked for, doing reprint corrections or a new edition meant digging through cupboards for old CDs. Or calling the typesetter to ask if they had old backups. Or even calling the printer for the film they’d used to create printing plates. Since those early days of DTP, hopefully we’ve all got better at storing content.

Backing up properly takes concerted effort, careful thought, and good technology. Given the pressures of publishing, it’s no wonder that many teams struggle to maintain high-quality backups over long periods of time.

We’ve been making books for clients for thirteen years, and we hold ourselves to a high standard. Everything we produce is carefully archived and backed up online, offline, and off-site.

Each organisation’s backup setup is a little different, I’m sure. Here’s ours:

  • We store files with Dropbox for Business, which gives us excellent online storage, security, and file accessibility.
  • Our code repositories are on GitHub, and every night we automatically sync copies of them to Dropbox.
  • Everything on Dropbox is continually synced to an offsite Synology DiskStation (a machine designed specifically for high-quality data storage) that we own and manage.
  • That DiskStation is set up with RAID, a setup that creates redundant, offline copies of all data. We can then access that data easily, even if Dropbox or our Internet connection goes down.
  • The NAS and its router run on a UPS (a backup battery), just in case we have a power failure.

How do you manage your content storage and backup? If you have tips for great archiving and backup management, let us know, because we’re always learning and improving.

Arthur Attwell last updated 25 January 2019