Dynamic Publishing Industry


Dynamic Publishing Industry

The self-editing challenge

Digital publication

How to address the challenges and make the most of the opportunities of today’s dynamic publishing ecosystem? That’s the question put by the International Digital Publishing Forum (idpf) : Transforming Institutional Publishing: Sharing Best Practices (29 June 2015)

Digital publishing ecosystem offers many possibilities to disseminate publications with a non-proprietary file format like EPUB or WEB-APP. Dynamic publishing enables institutional publishers and companies to provides an information that is potentially more then ever up-to-date, relevant, reliable, interconnected and interactive. According to Markus Gylling this is the result of an evolution in three phases:

  1. With Postcript in 80’s and PDF in 90’s we entered in the Print Replica phase.
  2. With the introduction of EPUB 2 (2000) and EPUB 3 (2010) came the Device Adaptation phase (reflow).
  3. Now we are entering in the Ultimate Adaptation phase. It means that the “ultimate” user become an active collaborator able to configure his/her reading experience. “Adaptativity and user centrism are essential”. [1]

This fascinating evolution is the story of an increasing commitment to open standards and the nice friendship of EPUB and WEB-APP format with open web standards. Ebooks have become a normal means of consuming content in United States and soon, in all markets. Today in United States the eBook market count for a third of the publishing market.

A fourth phase: Self-editing?

At DeliberateDoc we are convinced that we already enter in a new phase, the fourth one. If well-established editors understood quickly the potential of EPUB and digital publication for the dissemination, they quickly anticipated something else:

Self-editing – the edition by the author himself.

Self-editing is not self-publishing. If self-publishing is the publication of any media (ebook included) by the author without the involvement of a traditional editor, self-editing is just the step before, the creation of the media. Self-editing includes the authoring, editing and producing the content of a document. An author, a copywriter needs appropriate editing tools to create an ebook. Many editors try to provide self-editing tools to their potential authors, probably because they see self-editing as a way to meet competition with the fast growing self-publishing market. O’Reilly Atlas is a good example. Atlas is an authoring platform for creating books. Atlas builds the output in four formats at any time: Mobi (Kindle), EPUB, PDF, and HTML. Atlas is a great illustration of the “Think Digital First!” approach for an efficient dynamique publishing. The solution puts HTML5 technology at its core. Atlas is still based on a template system. On the vendor side, to take the market of self-publishing, Amazon proposed a non-sophisticated self-editing tool included in their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). But all of these attempts to provide simple editing solutions might turn out to be unsatisfactory: too technical or not sufficiently powerful.

Two frustrating options

Currently there is no easy and user friendly editing system for digitisation. An author always faced with two frustrating options:

  • with WYSIWYG technologies, authors must ensure tasks beyond their skills. Authors are not experts in layout tools and digital publishing. They can lose up to 60% of their useful editing time!
  • with CMS there is an attempt to separate content from layout, but this is through binding templates and with a lack of easy and free adaptation. Again, a technical knowledge is required.

To date, self-editing tools only produced too technical solutions or very simple publications without enjoying the full benefits of EPUB-WEB format and dynamic publishing. This is the reason why, on the B2B market, institutional publishers and companies (business content publishers) are still struggling to take advantage of dynamic publishing promises. The complexity and the costs are unaffordable.

Layout by intention

Back to the evolution of the Dynamic Publishing industry, the self-editing phase will be focused on the authors. Focused on their needs for powerful and accessible tools to edit their content without being distracted from their key skills: content creation and copywriting. We call this kind of solutions templates free CMS and they are based on a layout by intention approach.

The self-editing B2B and B2C markets are waiting for a simple and cost-effective self-editing solution. LibreDoc is the solution the market expects. It gives to individual authors, institutional or company copywriters a full self-editing capability without any technical knowledge and no more layout work.

Yves Monsel
Layout by intention

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