Making eBooks Profitable: A Case Study
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Making eBooks Profitable: A Case Study

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I’ve got a story for you…and it stars the elusive EPUB format. Once upon a time, I had dreams of taking my books to the EPUB format so we would occupy a private spot on the iBookstore book shelf. ...

I’ve got a story for you…and it stars the elusive EPUB format. Once upon a time, I had dreams of taking my books to the EPUB format so we would occupy a private spot on the iBookstore book shelf. Like a scene from the Godfather, I was “strongly encouraged” to pick from a limited list of approved vendors who would happily take my content to the EPUB format—for a price. I was told that the process was complicated. I should expect it to take a long time, it was going to be expensive, and I’d need to surrender my beloved source content. Or else…

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Making eBooks Profitable: A Case Study Making eBooks Profitable: A Case Study Presentation Transcript

  • Making eBooks Profitable: A Case Study Kevin Siegel IconLogic, Inc.www.iconlogic.com | ksiegel@iconlogic.com Twitter: kevin_siegel
  • Why?
  • Why eBooks? It’s totally awesome to play in the Apple sandbox
  • Why eBooks? International reach Increase revenue Lower expenses Phase out print books Easily update content on vendor sites
  • What We Had… Dozens of books  Developed in Adobe FrameMaker Dozens upon dozens of client books developed in Word Deep knowledge of Adobe tools  FrameMaker  RoboHelp  Captivate
  • What We Needed… Seamless conversion of existing books to EPUB Quick turnaround Ability to quickly update manuals and EPUBs at the same time (Single Sourcing) Valid EPUBs Use tools we already knew  Limit the need for retraining
  • What we were “urged” to do Work with an approved Aggregator Aggregator would happily convert existing FrameMaker content to ePub  Complicated process  We wouldn’t be able to do it without an Aggregator  Validation failure assured unless we worked with the Aggregator  We were doomed!
  • The Aggregators Required… Fee of only 50 cents per page for conversion  Average book: 300 pages  $150 per book Additional fees:  Setup fee: $100 per book  Admin fee: $100 per book Our source files 3-4 week turnaround
  • Fix fix a tyypo? Only 50 cents per page  Average book: 300 pages  $150 per book Setup fee: waived Admin fee: waived (so long as the updates are kept to a minimum) Our source files 3-4 week turnaround
  • We considered… Using the Aggregator Giving up on EPUB  Sandbox, schmandbox Going to the cops
  • But wait… we had Deep knowledge of Adobe tools  FrameMaker  RoboHelp  Captivate
  • Adobe Had Just Announced… Technical Communication Suite 3.5  Integration between FrameMaker, RoboHelp and Captivate  Created EPUBs in seconds Valid EPUBs from existing content Allowed us to update content and quickly update EPUBs  Also allowed for output in web format  True single sourcing
  • The Workflow: All content authored in FrameMaker FM content linked into a RoboHelp project  Using RH, FM content converted to HTML/XHTML/XML for journey to EPUB Using RH, Perform a mapping “two-step”  Disco here, disco there…
  • The Workflow, Part II RoboHelp project generated into EPUB Updates to FM source content = alerts in RH project Right-click > choose Update = Done
  • An Even Smoother Workflow? FrameMaker direct to EPUB via File > Publish > EPUB RoboHelp still does the heaving lifting, only in the background  Direct to EPUB not available in standalone FM
  • No TCS Budget? No Worries! Same workflow is available using Word document imported or linked into RoboHelp No need to purchase the TCS  Standalone RoboHelp includes ability to create EPUBs  Full support for Word TOCs, etc (same as what is seen in FM > RH workflow)
  • ROI To date, more than 100 converted to EPUB using TCS Retail cost of TCS: under $2,000 Total savings (2011) by creating our own EPUBs: $45,000 More savings  15-20% books updated due to typos or required client updates  Another $3,000 saved
  • More ROI… EPUB revenue 2010  $0 EPUB revenue 2011  $10,000 Projected EPUB revenue 2012  $20,000 Projected EPUB revenue 2013  $20,000,000 • Hey, go big or go home!