The shift to a digital-first model of content consumption is nothing short of a revolution. Publishers unwilling to go digital will face adversity due to this disruption. Digital publishing’s numerous formats and distribution channels make it flexible and lucrative. This blog elaborates on these factors.
Table of Content
- The Need For eBook Creation Services
- The Consequences Of Not Becoming An eBook Creation Service
- The Many Formats Available To Create Enhanced eBooks And Other Digital Reading Material
- Create Enhanced eBooks With Conversions
- In Conclusion
In the digital age technological changes transform companies to adapt to the new digital normal.
The publishing industry is getting carried along by this wave too and has been for some time now. Those looking to ride along by asking questions like “What do Digital Publishers require?” will be safe. The rest will pay the price.
Digital reading material has quickly become the mainstay. Mass adoption of digital devices has shifted the culture to a digital-first paradigm. The pandemic-induced lockdowns accelerated the adoption of eBooks, showcasing their wonders and advantages to many.
So there’s an inescapable need to convert to a digital-first publication model. The following sections will answer related questions.
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The Need For eBook Creation Services
There is a push-pull relationship between two major driving factors that helps create enhanced eBooks: digitization and the drawbacks of traditional books.
Here’s how each is contributing to the transformation:
The Pull: Drawbacks Of Traditional Books
Books have been the primary conduits of distributing knowledge throughout human history. But their heydays began after the invention of the printing press. It brought knowledge to the masses, which continues to this day.
Despite benefits offered by them, like increased access to content, traditional books have some drawbacks. They are heavy, and their portability reduces with increases in size and number.
Children are facing adverse consequences because of lugging heavy backpacks to school. The lack of weight is, in fact, a benefit of interactive eBooks for children.
Traditional books can’t be transported easily across large distances quickly, or at all. They are prone to physical damage and degradation from natural factors like moisture and insects. Their distribution is also resource-intensive and time-consuming. These factors add to their cost.
By being limited to static text and images, they can leave the reader uninterested, especially children. The advent of eBooks has solved these drawbacks due to their properties being in direct contrast to traditional books. This has a pull on the industry to move towards eBooks, answering the question “What do digital publishers require to thrive?”
The Push: The Digital Transformation
Moore’s Law has given us laptops, tablets, cell phones, and eReaders. As this happened, the internet also grew to become the lifeblood of daily life with a myriad of services availed through it.
Combined, they have enabled the creation and dissemination of electronic books or eBooks. Professionals from various backgrounds are now involved with the creation of these books. They have helped overcome the difference between interactive and enhanced eBooks through constant innovation.
These eBooks are cheap to make and distribute, barely costing much bandwidth and data storage. One can carry hundreds, if not thousands of them in portable gadgets. They also save costs for publishers by eliminating the need for expensive and large printing equipment.
With the world going paperless in offices and elsewhere, and gaining its many benefits, eBooks are gaining more ground. They are providing the tailwind that publishers need to go digital. They, thus, provide one of the answers to the question “What do digital publishers require to thrive?”
As these two factors demonstrate, there is no returning to the old ways of publishing. Books of all types, newspapers, and advertisement leaflets are going digital, making it an inevitability.
The Consequences Of Not Becoming An eBook Creation Service
The benefits of interactive eBooks and other digital publishing material have created an increasing market demand for them. Publishers now have to adapt and cater to this demand. Not doing so means not just losing out on profit opportunities, but also potentially facing bankruptcy. Just ask Kodak.
Publishers will face these issues for not going digital and continuing with traditional publishing:
1. Loss Of Ad Revenue
Newspaper and magazine publishers rely on advertising for their revenue. But the digital push is leaving them with ever-decreasing amounts of it. Advertisers are increasingly going digital due to the reach and cost benefits it offers.
Not converting to digital publishing means removing the primary revenue stream. And what do digital publishers require to compete against digital behemoths like Google? Customer interest. It is also what they lose out on by refusing to go digital, ultimately affecting the revenue. Going digital is shown to increase conversions for PPC ads that are the norm in online marketing.
2. Industry Knowledge Lag
Moving to a digital-first setup is essentially an entry into a new industry. You may have to climb a steep learning curve to establish your business here.
This knowledge backlog will remain for long if you don’t go digital. As more of your competitors jump on the bandwagon, they get a lead in learning about the landscape. You will get left behind, making it harder to compete when you step in eventually.
3. Lack Of Market Expansion
More people opting for digital media means a shrinking market for traditional ones. Newer generations have experienced the benefits of interactive eBooks since childhood. They are unlikely to go with traditional media when consuming content.
By not going digital, you risk not capturing this new market. You will continue to bleed present customers over time too. Gradually, you won’t have enough customers to sustain your business.
4. Lack Of Ability To Quickly Update Content
Before the era of radio and TV, the printed newspaper was the only means of obtaining news. One had to wait an entire day before getting the latest stories. This problem still exists with print media.
Be it a daily newspaper, a monthly magazine, or a book refreshed periodically, readers can’t get updated information instantaneously. Digital media has gotten rid of this problem with live broadcasting and internet-based updates.
Even with the difference between Interactive and enhanced eBooks limiting the capabilities of the latter, it beats traditional books in offering the latest information.
News publishers can send real-time updates through their apps and update articles on the fly. Changes made to books can get reflected across digital copies after an update. Both customers and publishers benefit immensely from this arrangement.
5. Archival and Data Loss Issues
Mishaps are rare but not unheard of in the publishing industry. An accidental fire or another calamity can destroy a lot of the equipment and the reading material. It is especially disastrous if archived content is lost.
Archiving physical copies is tedious and space-consuming. They also require regular maintenance to preserve them. More room will need to be made for fresh data, increasing the scale of the operation daily.
There are no such problems with digital publishing. What more do digital publishers require to keep work safe?
6. High Costs
Traditional publishing requires a large space to house the printing equipment, the raw material for printing, freshly printed copies, archived copies, and other aspects. One has to pay for that space and those necessities.
Besides that, there are the distribution costs that would be borne if done in-house. Not to mention the losses from defective copies and returns. The staff required to run the equipment and logistics, the insurance for the same, and miscellaneous charges can add up quickly.
Considering the diminishing returns, these costs will reduce your ROI by ever-increasing margins. One of the greatest benefits of interactive eBooks and other digital reading material is that they eliminate those costs in one fell swoop. You only need computers and an internet connection and you’re set to carry out your digital publishing business.
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The Many Formats Available To Create Enhanced eBooks And Other Digital Reading Material
Traditional publishing doesn’t have file formats to contend with. But with digital, you have to choose the distribution and file format of the publication. The necessity and application determine that choice.
eBooks are the successors of traditional books. Their earlier versions were mere digital replicas of the latter. As technology improved, they started including better, more immersive graphics and animations. These are called Enhanced eBooks.
But the enhancements didn’t stop there. Improving technology has furthered innovation to create Interactive eBooks. The difference between Interactive and Enhanced eBooks is that the former responds to reader inputs actively.
The biggest market for interactive eBooks is children. The interactivity makes reading a fun activity for them. The engagement improves retention of the content while inculcating in them a lasting reading habit. Their learning speed and literary skills improve immensely.
Recording renditions of reading material in audio media have been happening since recording has been possible. But audiobooks have become an industry in the digital area, growing steadily. They complement the benefits of interactive eBooks and offer some of their own.
Audiobooks turn the reader into a listener. Thus, the person can consume the content while performing other tasks. They also help the blind consume content easier than braille; the blind needn’t struggle with marking out each alphabet and number on a page anymore.
The obvious downside is that one misses out on the interactive visual elements prevalent in interactive eBooks. It is also harder to go to a certain section or line unlike turning to the relevant page in a book or eBook.
Cloud computing has offered a level of flexibility that wasn’t possible before it. Now, anyone with access can consume whatever data or information is stored in a remote server.
And web browsers have answered the question “What do digital publishers require to seamlessly let millions access their publications simultaneously?” Their ubiquity is their strong selling point.
They enable even those with basic devices to read the content. For this, the digital reading material is stored in a web-friendly manner. HTML and other front-end web development technologies are used to create the reading material. Backend web technologies handle their storage and other backend support requirements.
The consumer can read the content without the need to download and save it on their device. Providing real-time updates is also easier as the reading material will be a single source of information. They also offer all the benefits of interactive eBooks thanks to technologies like HTML5.
It is the format that news agencies use for their articles as its properties align perfectly with their requirements. The only drawback is that the reader must have access to a network, like the internet, to be able to read it.
4. EPUB and Other File Formats
These are the file formats in which the reading material is created, stored, distributed, and accessed. Some reading devices are particular about the file format they can access while others are multi-format compatible. The formats each have their advantages and disadvantages, so you must select the one that suits your purpose.
EPUB is a very popular file format to create eBooks. It even offers interactivity of content, blurring the difference between interactive and enhanced eBooks file format choices. Its other big advantage is near-universal compatibility. Not to mention that it is a free, open-source format that is vendor-independent.
TXT or text file format is used when a textual matter is the main requirement. It cannot contain images or any other type of medium in it. This makes it light on storage and easy to access. It too has near-universal compatibility similar to EPUB.
The PDF file format is the mainstay of documents in the digital era. What started as a format to just share professional content has evolved into a multimedia one. It is used to distribute eBooks, newsletters, important work documents, technical drawings, specifications, etc.
Earlier, only its proprietary reader could read a pdf file but now even web browsers can open them. It can carry some of the benefits of interactive eBooks like clickable images and text but not audio and video.
Audiobooks can be found in a multitude of audio file formats. MP3 is an evergreen one. Its universal compatibility has made it a favorite among audiobook creators. Its quality issues due to compression do put some away though.
The other popular ones in use are AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), OGG Vorbis, and WMA (Windows Media Audio). Lossless audio formats-those that retain the true quality of the original recording-are plenty too.
FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) is the most popular one in this category. Others include Lossless WMA and WAV. However, what digital publishers do require is space-saving. So it’s likely that the listener receives a lossy audiobook file format.
Video books are also distributed where applicable in a variety of formats. MPEG-4 (MP4) and MOV (Quicktime Movie) are two of the most popular. With the rise of web-based, real-time streaming, web-friendly formats like HTML5 and WEBM have also become favorites.
Creators may also use proprietary formats to protect their content. AAX, for instance, is what Audible, the audiobook company, uses to create and distribute its eBooks. Apple has Apple Lossless Audio Codec (ALAC) and M4A/M4B for its iTunes music and audiobook/podcast material respectively.
Those using Learning Management Systems (LMS) for eLearning tend to use proprietary formats that can only be used by the system. Corporate trainers value this to keep classified company content safe. The difference between interactive and enhanced eBooks can be eliminated by them with the option to turn interactive features on or off.
Create Enhanced eBooks With Conversions
eBook conversion services are in demand among corporate trainers because they can’t lose their already-present physical training material. Many are yet to change over despite the demand and progress made in the field.
Converting existing reading material to its digital avatar saves time and money compared to creating it from scratch. The text and photos can be scanned into the system and the rest worked on by professionals to give the benefits of interactive eBooks.
Besides the format, the layout of the required eBook must also be known. It can either be a standard or a customized version.
Fixed layout EPUB conversion is a popular choice because it renders the content seamlessly across devices. It is also easy since the specifications will be present beforehand.
In contrast, variable layout versions can prove tricky because of the flexibility of content movement. They may not remain within the confines of the screen’s borders. Thus, with eBook conversions, you save resources while keeping end-users satisfied.
There’s even Flash-to-eBook conversion to modernize Flash-based digital reading material.
Check out this blog explaining how converting a children’s eBook to digital makes it more appealing.
The tide of transformation is firmly in the direction of digital publishing. Every day offers a new opportunity for it, which if you miss will cost dearly. There are multiple methods and formats to choose from, making the shift an easy process. So, the answer to the question “What do digital publishers require to succeed?” is will and vision. Some external help at times can be beneficial too to adapt better.
SunTec Digital: The Digital Publishing Partner You Need
At SunTec Digital, we help revolutionize your traditional content through our eBook creation and conversion services. Our years of experience combined with meticulous attention to detail helps make your project a success. We offer outsourcing’s numerous advantages too.
We will guide you in your eBook publication process and aid in other applicable ways. And we do this at a low cost and with a high degree of accuracy. Check out this case study about how we created a custom layout eBook with a 4-column page layout.