Cost-effective Development ofEnhanced Content Liza Daly / Threepress @liza
A History of Enhanced ContentI’m going to start with a history of enhanced content
A History of Enhanced Content 2010 -which is necessarily a fairly short story since enhanced ebooks have only been in themarketplace in a signiﬁcant way in the last year.
Introducing the revolutionary Bookbrary 3000™ Call me Ish Text BookBraryOur story always starts with an exciting new ereader product.
Introducing the revolutionary Bookbrary 3000™ Call me Ish Text With magical Smell-o-vision™ Starting at $699 BookBraryand this product has some new feature which sets it apart from the other ereaders on themarketplace. Now this tech company has a problem, which is that they don’t have anycontent for their cool new device, so they contact you, the publisher.
And you say, “Well that sounds great but we’re just learning how to make regular ebooks. Wedon’t know how to make ebooks with Smell-o-vision.”
And the tech company says, “Oh don’t worry about that. Just send us your content...
...and all the enhanced assets, however you’ve got them, and we’ll care of making theenhanced ebooks.”
Moby 2.0 Exclusively for your Bookbrary 3000™ Experience classics of literature as they were meant to smell. By @melville Buy Now $39.99And they do! And it’s great. And it goes on the marketplace and it’s successful andeverybody’s really excited about this great new kind of enhanced content.
Moby 2.0 Exclusively for your Bookbrary 3000™ Experience classics of literature as they were meant to smell. By @melville Buy Now $39.99Absolutelyno refunds!
So you the publisher say, “Fantastic! We’ve got a lot of content we want to enhance, can wesend you more of our raw assets just like the ﬁrst time?”
But this time the vendor says, “Oh no, that was just for the pilot. Now we need you to send usthe assets prepared just like we need.” And they send along a 200 page guide to producingsmell-enhanced ebooks.
oobkAnd just when you’re getting started with that process, another new product comes along.
oobk Call me Ish oobkAnd this one is totally new and different from the old one.
oobk Call me Ish Now with SmellML™ oobkAnd it too supports smell-enhanced ebooks, but it uses its own proprietary technology.
And they say, “No we won’t accept assets formatted for the other company, we want themlike this.”
So what happened? Even major publishers don’t have the capacity to produce unique kinds ofenhanced content for each new device or software platform. Smaller publishers have it eventougher, because they don’t get the beneﬁt of the initial free conversion. Is there a cost-effective solution to this?
Don’t hand over assets Insist on standardsThere is, and it’s called standards-based content development. The purpose of formattingstandards is to promote interoperable content that can work on all kinds of devices andsoftware. This is the only approach that’s scalable.
EPUB3 Editors’ Drafts being produced today Initial support in commercial ereaders already Final version in Q3 2011 3EPUB 2.0 is already known as the leading standard for ebook production, but has primarilybeen used with static content. EPUB3 provides more guidelines for producing multimedia andother kinds of enhanced content, and is already being written. Most of the major decisionshave been made and at this time the outstanding issues are largely details. As a result, someaspects of EPUB3 are already available in ereaders.
Multimedia Apple: “Embed videos or audio using standard HTML5 tags” Amazon: “To embed a video inside a Kindle book add a standard HTML5 tag” B&N: “The following is an example of the video embed tag: <video ...> 3In fact as far as multimedia goes the major retailers are already using the same HTML5tagging...
Multimedia Format Audio MP3 or AAC MPEG-4 / H.264 + Video MP4 AAC audio - EPUB3 spec Jan 22, 2011...but there’s been fragmentation in exactly which video and audio formats are supported.The EPUB3 speciﬁcation simpliﬁes this by requiring support for common media types.Publishers must insist that they will only produce multimedia in the supported formats.
Media Streaming “Video resources, as referenced from Content Documents, may be located in the container or remotely” - EPUB3 spec Jan 22, 2011 3Another new option that’s worth considering is streaming audio or video, which waspreviously not allowed in EPUB and now is explicitly supported.
Media Streaming Low-cost Cross-platform Easily repurposed 3Streaming has a lot of attractive qualities: hosting streaming media can be very inexpensive,it’s cross-platform because the streaming companies already know how to send the rightformat to each device, and you can embed that media in marketing material or book trailersor the like.
Media Streaming Low-cost Cross-platform Easily repurposed Requires users to be online Subject to availability “Authors should prefer locating audio and video resources in the container to allow the user access to the entire presentation regardless of connectivity status.” - EPUB3 spec Jan 22, 2011 3There are disadvantages to streaming: obviously the user has to be online, the streaming sitemay be down or go out of business, and the EPUB spec says that embedded media should bepreferred. But streaming is a worthwhile low-cost option to consider.
EPUB3 enhancementsI’m going to show a quick demo here of a real-life case where using standards-basedenhancements paid off.
EPUB3 enhancementsThis is a demo that I was working on internally for a new product.
EPUB3 enhancementsI took three pages from a public domain children’s book from the Internet Archive. I wantedto try different kinds of enhancements on it. I speciﬁcally wanted to see if I could recreate theAlice for the iPad experience using just EPUB3. While there are no EPUB3 reading systems yet,Apple recently came out with their ﬁxed-layout option in iBooks which is speciﬁcallydesigned for books with precise layout and advanced CSS3. I tossed the existing demo intoiBooks, and it just worked.
For 2011: One (EPUB3) file to rule them allSo this year, keep up with the EPUB3 spec development, and use that as your guideline inevaluating which enhanced platforms to use and how to produce enhanced content.