The Future of eBooks Jake.Hartnell@berkeley.edu
Future of eBooks Research:•Led by Professor Bob Glushko•Dedicated to looking at things likeeBooks, Mass Open Online Courses(MOOCs), and more!•Designing products and opensource solutions for bringing booksto the web.•A lot of the ideas I’m presentingare our ideas—things we’vediscussed a lot in our seminar.
Paradigm Shift• This talk is about a paradigm shift from app- based publishing to truly web-based publishing.
In other words:When conceptualizing ebook delivery on the web, our approachis to publish books that are *of* the web, and not just *on* theweb. We want to use the web as a content delivery platformwhere the concept of content applies on the web level: instead ofdelivering a "book reader" as a packaged app that accesses"book content" and renders it in the context of the app, our goalis to deliver books as web resources.~Eric Wilde, Architect in EMCs "Information Intelligence" Group& Former Berkeley professor
Key questions? • How can we reduce technical strains on publishers so they can focus on the content? • How do we make eBooks more powerful and flexible? • What technologies should we use to make enhanced eBooks?
PROBLEMSWith the current state of things
Problem: Proprietary Formats
Proprietary formats create challenges for developers/publishers... SCHWEET graphic by: Camille VillaIt’s hard to push your content out to a variety of ever- proliferating platforms. (This especially problematic for enhanced formats.)
Not all apps and devices are supported. <-- This cool inkling book isn’t available on Android Devices or Windows 8 Tablets.
Proprietary formats are silly. • Not everyone has an [insert device or app]. • Schools and students are forced to choose devices, and books... • It creates uncertainty in the market. Should you spend $$$$ $ to develop and eBook for one system? • This is to say nothing of the legal baggage/terms and conditions proprietary formats carry with them.
Problem: eBooks aren’t of the web.
Remember this concept:When conceptualizing ebook delivery on the web, our approachis to publish books that are *of* the web, and not just *on* theweb. We want to use the web as a content delivery platformwhere the concept of content applies on the web level: insteadof delivering a "book reader" as a packaged app thataccesses "book content" and renders it in the context ofthe app, our goal is to deliver books as web resources.~Eric Wilde, Architect in EMCs "Information Intelligence" Group& Former Berkeley professor
Problem: eBooks aren’t open• They aren’t *of* the web!• They often aren’t even *on* the web!• Everything is on the web!• They often don’t work cross- platform/cross device.• It’s silly, that I can’t just open up a .mobi file in the browser on my desktop.
Problem: They aren’t searchable (indexed). • EBooks aren’t searchable by the world at large, there is a vast amount of knowledge that is untapped... • Books have great content. • It is a shame to not be able to use this data. • There are missed sales because of this.
Problem: We can’t take advantage of Big Data • I could do a whole presentation just on this. • EBooks present a value proposition for learning about your consumers and how they interact with your content. • An ebook that is "of the web" can more easily interconnect and reuse other web resources.
Problem: They aren’t secure. • Even with DRM the products are easily hacked and pirated. Sometimes, you only have to do a quick google search. • To hack a website is harder. • This is why many applications are moving to the cloud. • DRM prevents users from doing things they have legal rights to do.
Books should be on the web. AndThe format of the book should be non-proprietary.
Because Why reinvent the wheel when we already have a freaking Ferrari? We should make enhanced eBooks withpowerful, open, and proven web technologies!
The Future... Consider the possibilities!!!
Why books on the web?• Visually stunning publications that are well ahead of eBook formats such as .mobi.• From a website you can access APIs to upload the text to Kindle, Nook, Readability, etc. (Single Source Publishing)• Not being forced to sell through the centralized hubs of Amazon and Apple... and their 30% mark-up.
More why?• Control: It’s easy to pirate files. It’s harder to pirate access to websites without a membership.• Easy to update, and make sure your users have the latest version.• Flexibility: the ability to experiment with new ideas of what a book could be.• New business models and opportunities.
Even more why?• We need more capabilities in ebooks and those are best created by an open ecosystem where we can access APIs, "add on," or "plug in."• Social aspects and sharing.• Personalized content.• And you can do much, much, much more. Have you heard of HTML5?
Offline Access• Needed because people don’t always read online. • Example: reading on the Bart.• This relatively easy to achieve thanks to HTML5. • We are working on this at Berkeley. • We plan to add new capabilities... such as being able to set an expiration date to locally cached files. To the rescue!
Responsive Design• They are important for books because they adjust the layout of the screen to fit specific devices.• Yet another reason for books to move to the web.
Distribution• Decentralized model. • Allows anyone to become a distributor. • Bypasses Amazon and the iBooks store. (As well as their 30% markup).• Allows for new and exciting models...
New Business Models• Subscription models.• Licensing, contracts, and membership.• Direct to customer models. (a.k.a. No middleman.)• Something YOU might create.
What is needed? (a.k.a. Opportunities)
Sharing/Annotations • The ability to share something is essential. • Annotations is a BIG area and the current offerings are very weak. • Think of the potential for capturing the comments and highlights of experts, authors, or celebrities and being able to share those. • Check out Hypothes.is
Authoring • We need an open-source iBooks Author! • Specialized responsive frameworks for publishers! To do a better job of handling footnotes, sidebars, etc. • Collaborative authoring and editing has awesome potential. • It needs to get to the point where someone of low technical skill can write a book and put it on the web. • Something like this: http://jejacks0n.github.com/mercury/
This: Why does this not yet exist?For more on this, please join AJ Renold’s Session: The eReading Experience: What Product Wraps a Book and Why is it important?