Digital News

While the London Book Fair was home to big news regarding digitization with Random House announcing their further rollout of digital books and Penguin announcing support for the open .epub standard, the IDPF BSIG (Business Special Interest Group) call this week centered around some practical guidelines for going forward with digitization.

A presentation by IDPF Executive Director, Mike Smith offered an overview and next steps for the IDPF while Neil DeYoung, Director of Digital Media at Hachette talked about Hachette’s own experience with the ePub standard.

Some highlights

What is the epub standard?

  • OPS: which handles the content, structure and presentation of a file
  • OPF: handles the packaging, navigation and metadata.
  • OCF: a zip file that allows the content to travel through the distribution channel

The standard addresses some top-level concerns that came out of a consumer survey done in 2006:

  • Price: standard makes implementation cheaper so product will be more affordable
  • Selection: standard ensures many channels available for content
  • Interoperability: standard makes it possible to trade content between devices

Adobe InDesign CS3 can directly export an epub file. For a good reference on digitization check out EPUB Best Practices Guide.

Hachette’s conversion workflow:

  • Indesign file goes to conversion house
  • Conversion house converts to XML
  • Conversion house converts to epub
  • Conversion house runs epub through IDPF validation
  • Conversion house sends epub file to account FTP location

For an exciting conclusion to the call was the news that the AAP is crafting a letter that will communicate that the publishers belonging to the association will only be providing epub files.

This shows the level of enthusiasm around the standard and provides a clear signal to the retailers that they can ramp up support for epub without the fear that no one is actually implementing the standard.