Navigating the Digital Publishing Landscape
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Navigating the Digital Publishing Landscape

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Creating an e-book, digital magazine, story app or digital guide is a great way to reach an evolving customer base, but getting started can be overwhelming. This simple, to-the-point guide is geared ...

Creating an e-book, digital magazine, story app or digital guide is a great way to reach an evolving customer base, but getting started can be overwhelming. This simple, to-the-point guide is geared toward content creators, marketers and publishers new to the digital publishing space who want to understand how to navigate the expanding e-book market.

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Navigating the Digital Publishing Landscape Navigating the Digital Publishing Landscape Presentation Transcript

  • NAVIGATING THEDIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • INTRODUCTION The digital publishing field is exploding with the rise of a multitude of different devices on which to read and experience content. With more sophisticated devices and evolving customer expectations, the emerging trend is an emphasis on visuals and the viewing experience. To this end, interactive books, story apps and magazine apps now offer new ways to capture readers. E-books can contain audio, video and interactive elements in addition to scaling/reflowing text. New distribution channels such as the iPad Newsstand platform are emerging that make it possible for digital, magazine-style publications to regularly release content and charge readers by the issue or via subscription. The e-book, magazine and story app space is an evolving one. Entities such as Apple and Amazon are spending time and resources developing the platforms, devices and rules that best segment their markets and distinguish their products from competitors. Meanwhile, content creators — independent or large scale — are doing whatever they can to maximize ­­ scales and capture the attention of their audiences. With the rise of possibilities comes a rise of confusion. Content creators, marketers and publishers just entering the digital publishing space need help navigating the digital publishing landscape. This guide will help you start navigating this next great frontier in publishing. NAVIGATING THE1 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • DISTRIBUTION New distribution channels are emerging, and existing It’s important that your content lives in as many places as it can distribution channels are evolving. With the influx of e-books to reach the largest audience. This means having your content masquerading as apps in the iTunes App Store, Apple has been converted into different formats and optimized for different devices. tightening the rules to keep content in the right distribution channels It isn’t necessary to be on every single store in every format, just the and segment its markets. That being said, an iPad or iPhone app is ones that make sense for your content, target audience and budget. still a viable medium for digitally published content, assuming the experience is fitting to Apple’s preferences. An easy way to get a good view of distribution channels is by pairing stores with their target devices, but this can be a bit tricky when you factor in apps as a content medium. Some of the main distribution channels for digitally published It’s important that your content are: content lives in as many iPad | iPhone iTunes App Store and iTunes Books Store places as it can to reach the largest audience. (aka iBookstore store on the device) Kindle Amazon Kindle Store Nook B&N Nook Store and Nook Newsstand Android Google Play Store and Sony Reader Store Sony Reader Sony Reader Store NAVIGATING THE 2 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • TERMINOLOGYAn app is an e-book is an iBookTerminology can mean different things depending upon the waywords are used, the understanding of the digital publishing fieldthat the person has, or the audience the person is talking to.Almost anything is technically an application, including an e-book.Interactive books can be referred to as e-books whether they are in iBookthe format of an app one would buy in the iTunes App Store or theiBookstore. An “e-book” is probably used most often to describea predominantly text-based media that could be used on a devicesuch as a Kindle, but that doesn’t mean that the next time you hearthe word e-book it’s referring to an app — language is evolving too. appAdding to the confusion, e-books can masquerade as apps andapps can masquerade as e-books. Apps that are almost identical toe-books exist in the App Store even though guidelines are tighteningto restrict this from happening. It may have been a fluke — appsthat don’t follow guidelines are sometimes accepted, perhaps on the e-bookwhims of the person at Apple reviewing submissions. In other cases,developers and content creators push the boundaries of interactivityin iBooks, creating compelling, engaging reading experiences thatcause people to question whether something is an app or an e-book. NAVIGATING THE 3 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • HOW TO CHOOSE A DIGITAL PUBLISHING FORMATE-books come in as many flavors as there are devices on which toread them. Devices include the iPad, Kindle, Nook, Nexus, etc. andeach has its own proprietary formats for packaging and distributing AUDIENCEcontent. I won’t focus on every proprietary format, but instead willgive a solid overview of the characteristics and distribution channelsof each major format. As you’ll see, some formats are supportedacross many devices and converting your e-book into proprietaryformats for multiple devices is a feasible option for many projects. BUDGET CONTENTKnow your content, target audience and budget. Knowing yourcontent and target audience is key to selecting a format and will helpguide questions such as: Knowing your budget is also vital in choosing a format. Options Is layout and design a key consideration for my message? such as branded e-book apps may be prohibitively expensive. Your budget may permit you to choose multiple formats or target multiple Does it make sense to release content in issues such as a distribution channels. quarterly ‘magazine’ style publication? Your content and target audience also help inform the decision of What devices do my audience members own and consume which features and distribution channels best fit your needs. Each content on? publishing format comes with its own list of features. There is some overlap in features and distribution channels, but the limitations help to balance the scales and make deciding a lot easier. NAVIGATING THE 4 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • 4 MAJOR DIGITAL PUBLISHING FORMATS1 / EPUBUsing the same technology as a basic webpage, EPUB’s are a widely CHARACTERISTICS & FEATURESused, open (no single company ‘owns’ the format), e-book format.Basic EPUBs don’t have much in terms of looks, as the capabilities Reflowing text allows for readability features such as changing for styling are dependent on the multitude of end devices that will the font size. It also makes for very versatile e-books content read them. Things like custom fonts and colors aren’t supported on simply takes up the available space on the screen.every end device. The EPUB’s strongest feature is its ability to reflow Interactivity is limited and supported differently among text, which makes it easy to read content on any size screen. This devices. No doubt there is lots of room for experimentation, makes the EPUB chief for functionality rather than form. Images are but given that the EPUB was made primarily for basic, reflow- supported but if complete design control is something you want, you able, mostly text publications … why bother?better look elsewhere. Wide device support: computer, tablet and smart phones. Low cost to produce. Since the technology is that of a basic webpage, and room for design is limited, EPUBs are one of the cheapest e-book formats to make. Believe it or not, basic EPUBs can include embedded images, audio and video. PUBLISHING OPTIONS e-book sites Major marketplaces such as iBookstore, Nook Book Store, Sony Reader Store, Lulu, Google play store and Kobo NAVIGATING THE 5 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • 4 MAJOR DIGITAL PUBLISHING FORMATS2 / PDFPDFs are exceedingly cheap to make and widely utilized across CHARACTERISTICS & FEATURESdevices, and since they’re basically multipage images, the design Fixed-layout. Greater control over design. Preferable whencan be as sophisticated as you want. The catch is that PDFs are layout is important to the message.meant mainly for computer screens — PDFs become cumbersomeor unusable on smaller screen sizes. The PDF format is so widely Wide device support: computer, tablet or smart phone (usesupported that most writing or designing software allows you to at your own risk).export directly to the PDF format — as you probably already know Device independent (access is available across browsers).because you’ve used a computer in the last 10 years. Free to produce and share. Includes multi-media (less utilized). PUBLISHING OPTIONS e-book sites Major marketplaces will sell as is or convert into a usable format Self-publishing and selling NAVIGATING THE 6 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • 4 MAJOR DIGITAL PUBLISHING FORMATS3 / FIXED-LAYOUT EPUBOriginally designed by Apple (though really a no-brainer as the natural CHARACTERISTICS & FEATURESevolution of the EPUB format), the fixed-layout EPUB is a specialkind of EPUB that has enhanced design control and capabilities. Limited device support: previously only Apple products suchSupport for full-bleed images and overlapping text and images lets as the iPad and iPhone (use at your own risk), but has now expanded to support other devices including the Amazonvisual-rich content come to life on newer screen-reader devices Kindle and the Google Nexus.such as the iPad. These design capabilities come at the cost of devicesupport and the ability to reflow text. Fixed-layout. Greater control over design. Preferable when layout is important to the message. Medium cost. They take more time and resources than a normal EPUB to develop. The same multimedia capabilities of regular EPUBs and PDFs with the benefit of better control over their presentation. PUBLISHING OPTIONS Apple iBook store. Given the popularity of the iPad, this may likely be your first stop for fixed-layout pubs. Kindle store Google Play store NAVIGATING THE 7 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • 4 MAJOR DIGITAL PUBLISHING FORMATS4 / E-BOOK APP CONCLUSIONThe leading choice for interactivity and deal-breaking features such as No one format encompasses all the features of digitalmulti-issue publications, e-book apps are the leading choice for publishing. Each format comes with its own benefits andcompletely branded, designed experiences on tablet and smart limitations. Choosing a digital publishing format for your projectphones. E-book apps have taken the digital publishing world by should come with careful consideration of your content, targetstorm but aren’t available for everyone. Apps are costly to develop. audience, budget, desired features and desired distributionMulti-issue apps require yearly budget commitments on top of the channels. You may decide that you are able to publish incosts for design and development. multiple formats for your project such as PDF and Fixed Layout (fixed-layout EPUB and e-book app). It’s important to remember that each end device may have its own specialCHARACTERISTICS & FEATURES formatting requirements for e-books. To a skilled publisher or Limited device support: tablets or smart phones. conversion house, these changes may be trivial, but they still Fixed-layout. Ultimate design control. involve extra cost and time commitment. Supports features such as multi-issue publications and Determining which e-book format will work for your project subscriptions. begins with an understanding of your content and target High cost of development. audience, leads to deciding on features and distribution Advanced interactivity and scripting capabilities. channels, and hinges on an understanding of the wide array of e-book formats out there to choose from.PUBLISHING OPTIONS tablet and smart phone stores NAVIGATING THE 8 DIGITAL PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE
  • Start publishing. Contact Silver Square for content strategy andcreation services. 317.569.5977 or raquel@silversquareinc.com. BY DEAN VERLEGER