Introduction to Digital Publishing for Children's Publishers, Writers and Illustrators


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An overview of digital publishing presented to an audience of children's publishers, writers and illustrators at the Spinning Gold conference held in Wellington, New Zealand on 18 September 2009. By Martin Taylor, Director of the New Zealand Digital Publishing Forum.

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Introduction to Digital Publishing for Children's Publishers, Writers and Illustrators

  1. 1. Digital Publishing Workshop Spinning Gold Conference Wellington, 18 September 2009 Martin Taylor Digital Publishing Forum [email_address]
  2. 2. About Me
  3. 3. What we'll cover <ul><li>The drivers of the industry today </li></ul><ul><li>Where’s the money ? </li></ul><ul><li>Special requirements for digital children’s books </li></ul><ul><li>Some examples </li></ul><ul><li>Technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Some (almost) free things to get you started today </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul><ul><li>( Optional ) Techie tutorial –– Under the hood: HTML/XML for beginners PLUS a 5-step, 15 minute D-I-Y website </li></ul>
  4. 4. Where digital reading is at today <ul><li>We’ve been here before </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The rise and fall and rise of ebooks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why it will be different this time </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PCs rule no more : cloud computing and the rise of the mobile web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big players are driving it: Amazon, Google, Sony, Apple … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This time, it’s much bigger than books </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It’s still too hard : not for the faint-hearted (yet) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(But publishers need to start now ) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The e-reading experience <ul><li>Characteristics of today’s ebooks </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small, downloadable files, internet technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simple layouts, reflowable text, typically B&W </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multiple formats (but ePub winning) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copy protection ( DRM ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited availability of titles </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Two markets </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Longer, in-depth, immersed reading </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Casual (“ interstitial ”) reading </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Amazon targets both: a sign of what’s coming </li></ul></ul><ul><li>E-reading doesn’t have to be better , just better for some situations </li></ul>
  6. 6. Ebook readers today Amazon Kindle 2 (approx 500,000 sold, USA only) Sony Reader (400,000 sold, US, UK) Apple iPhone / iPod Touch (30 million sold In 80 countries)
  7. 7. Coming up Colour Will start to feature from 2010 Plastic Logic Large e-ink displays due 2010 with wireless, touchscreen E-ink can be printed onto flexible surfaces Netbooks may become a viable reading platform
  8. 8. Technology adoption lifecycle Rogers bell curve
  9. 9. US consumer technology adoption Source: New York Times 10 Feb 2008
  10. 10. What’s happening in New Zealand <ul><li>Very early days – but the right time to start ! </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Publishing Forum initiative to accelerate development of skills and infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>2010 – Our major initiative will be the 1000 Great New Zealand Ebooks project </li></ul><ul><li>Aims: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Get publishers publishing digitally </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Get consumers trying the digital reading experience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bring essential skills and infrastructure to NZ early </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Where's the money? <ul><li>Around 1% of trade sales in US </li></ul><ul><ul><li>But readers are paying </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Books are 100% 'paid content' </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mobile users have been conditioned to pay </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But opportunities to monetise a bigger market </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pass-along readers = more buyers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More opportunities to read = more readers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Global market opportunity </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Where's the money? US wholesale ebook revenues Source: June 2009 quarter +325% vs prior year
  13. 13. Children’s and Educational Markets <ul><li>Limited existing markets for paid digital content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>CD ROMs (consumer “edutainment” and school/teacher/IWB resources) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Subscriber access to reference databases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web-based model </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competition with “ free ” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Commons movement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Copyright licenses might need to reflect desire for re-purposing/“mash-ups” of content in schools </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Protecting content with DRM becomes a tricky issue </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. DRM or DRM-free ? <ul><li>Some Pros </li></ul><ul><li>Some protection against casual copying </li></ul><ul><li>Controls usage , eg time limits for borrowing </li></ul><ul><li>Some DRM systems can be relatively benign, eg 'social DRM' </li></ul><ul><li>Some Cons </li></ul><ul><li>Can't stop hackers entirely </li></ul><ul><li>Restricts use to particular readers/technology – 'tower of eBabel' </li></ul><ul><li>Reduces consumer demand </li></ul><ul><li>Locks publishers in to DRM suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>Complicates creation and distribution of ebooks </li></ul><ul><li>Restricts sales channels </li></ul><ul><li>Restricts re-use of content </li></ul>
  15. 15. Children’s publishing differences <ul><li>Going beyond today’s limited eBook technologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pictures are often important, more complex design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sound ? Movies ? Interaction ? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Re-purposing of content – “mash-ups” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it still a “book”? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Home vs Classroom use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What devices will children use to “read” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Will smartphones become more important, eg iPhone? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Still a role for PCs in the classroom , though increasingly connected to the ‘cloud’ </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Education – OLPC The next educational computer? <ul><li>One Laptop Per Child building a very cheap, universal computer for children everywhere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>MIT Media Labs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>“ Sugar on a Stick” is its free operating system, runs on most computers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing content community though focus on free contributions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New Zealand project </li></ul>The XO Laptop Sugar Learning Platform
  17. 17. iPhone as a children’s book platform Some examples <ul><li>ScrollMotion ( ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Curious George’s Dictionary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Mobistories ( http:// ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Two versions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MPEG-4 video – iTunes or iPhone/iPod Touch) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>App Store application ( http:// ) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>QBook </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NZ company Kiwa Media ( ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Launching soon – sample </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Multi-platform incl iPhone App Store </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. Technologies behind the digital media <ul><li>Rich content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Video/animation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Adobe Flash </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>MP4 (MPEG-4) – also useful for iPhone </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PDF – still useful in PC-centric environments </li></ul></ul><ul><li>CD ROM – still used, but passing its used-by date </li></ul><ul><li>Internet technologies : HTML, XML, CSS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Both for eBooks and websites </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning Management Systems (LMS) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eg Moodle </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open source </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a huge amount of free, high quality tools and technologies on the web to do all of this </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. Simple steps you can take today <ul><li>Buy an iPhone or iPod Touch ($349) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Install Stanza and start reading </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publish and sell your first ebook(s) </li></ul><ul><ul><li> or calibre ( ) or , Adobe Buzzword </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Get your digital rights in order </li></ul><ul><li>Join a social network and see how they work </li></ul><ul><ul><li> , , </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Martin's eReport blog – </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mark your diary : Internet Marketing seminar, Heritage Hotel, Auckland 2 December 2009 </li></ul></ul>
  20. 23. Thanks! Martin Taylor web: email: blog: ereport