From here it looks like the world is inexorably headed to a time when almost all reading will be of digital text, either alone or in mixed media products. As the numbers come in, ebooks sell more and more compared to other editions. Recently Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com announced that ebooks for his Kindle platform sold more copies than hardcover books in the Amazon store.
Many industry commentators have been predicting a move to ebooks and digital readers for some time, but the tide may be turning under our feet. Changes across the publishing industry are massive and affected by both technology and the recessionary environment of the last couple of years.
Every week we hear announcements of authors “going digital” of publishers abandoning print, and you know that change is afoot.
Self-Publishing in the Digital Age
While book lovers may mourn the printed book as the main unit of text consumption, the growth of ebooks has been a real boon to self-publishers.
Online marketing through social media networks has allowed a whole class of authors to go directly for a readership platform. Their entrepreneurial instincts and willingness to take risks have paid of well for some pioneers.
The playing field has been leveled to an unprecedented degree. Like early bloggers who have built massive traffic online, authors of all kinds of books have the opportunity to find their own audiences, and ebooks just make that whole effort more direct and more efficient.
But it’s still early days on the digital frontier. All self-publishers need to make allowances for their books to be distributed in every format in which readers would like to buy them. Planning for digitization in the various formats required by different equipment is quickly becoming an accepted part of the workflow.
Here are some articles on the “magical” new hardware from Apple that’s changed the landscape for ebook readers and tablet computers alike.
iPad’s ePub: The “Book” of the Future?
iPad, iBookstore, iBooks, iAnticipation
Apple iPad: The Future of the Book Starts Now
Apple iPad: E-Book Reading, Kindle-Killing, Business-Saving Product of the Century?
There are lots of other ebook formats and readers on the market, and you’ll want to find out more about Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and all the others we’ll soon see for sale.
General eBook and eBook Reader
Luckily for self-publishers, there is more information and automation coming to the creation of ePub files. Although as designers we might chaff at the restrictions on typography, fonts, and overall design, we can do a creditable job with the tools we have now.
Creating EPUB Files
You can bet that this is the most dynamic area in publishing and self-publishing right now, and will continue to be crucial for publishers going forward. You can expect to see a lot of coverage on the design, conversion, creation and marketing of ebooks as the months unfold.