e-Book Publishing in a Nutshell

Organizer: Alan Harvey, Deputy Director and Editor-in-Chief, Stanford University Press

In recent months the media has engaged in a rather frantic debate over the demise of print publishing and the emergence of ebooks. This has been fueled by the almost monthly release of a new e-reading device, each claiming expanded features and an easier reading/buying experience. The entrance of Apple into this expanding field has thrown the debate into hyperdrive. But where does all this leave the scholarly publishing community? What does the future hold for the product of university presses?

With the blogosphere alight with postings about hardware and software developments, it ought to be easy to keep abreast of these new business opportunities. But, like any technological advance, this one comes with its own vocabulary and set of technical prerequisites. XML workflow; EPUB format; bundling; DRM; disaggregated content. Many of us are left in the dark, unable to divine the implications for our market sector or chart the best path for our content.

This workshop aims to provide more than just an accessible overview of the e-publishing arena. Presenters will outline processes in action at their press, as well as speculate on possibilities for future evolution. From manuscript to customer access, we will address issues at all stages of the book's life-cycle, even tackling the thorny issues of digital business models. The workshop will close with a discussion of new publishing models — both commercial and nonprofit — where content acquisition takes into account the various distribution modes.

June 17, 2010

9.00 Opening remarks

9.10 Kate Davey -- File Formats
Kate will outline the different file formats for digital content, highlighting the differences and benefits of each. She will also discuss what converts to what, and how. Understanding some of these counter-intuitive conversion processes may help to determine the most appropriate strategy for your content.

9.55 Karen Hill -- Digital Workflow
Can we fold a digital workflow into a traditional university press setting? Karen will outline the research Michigan conducted over the past year to implement their own digital workflow, highlight the choices made and the options available to presses making this transition.

10.40 Coffee break

11.00 Laura Cerruti -- Digital outlets
Now you have your ebooks; where can you sell them? Laura will discuss the business models of the various third-party ebook vendors and intermediaries.

11.45 Alex Holzman -- Mellon funded ebook program
A quick overview of the Temple/NYU/Rutgers/Penn project.

12.00 Lunch

1.00 Re-cap

1.10 Frank Smith -- Business Models
What are the different models we can come up with for selling our own digital products? Frank will focus on the library market, since that is the most developed, and outline various opportunities commercial and academic publishers have created for direct-selling of their digital content.

1.55 Anh Bui – eBook Discoverability, Visibility & Usability
What researchers and librarians tell us about getting ebooks in front of them

This session will cover the importance of thinking about discoverability and visibility in your ebook strategy, principles for increasing both, and what we've learned from interviews with researchers about how they find and use digital book content.

2.40 Coffee break

2.55 Panel Session -- What do you get when you cross an e-book with a university press?
Michael Jensen, Monica McCormick, Frank Smith
If we could throw everything away and build a press from scratch to meet the needs of the new marketplace, what would it look like? And can we get there from here? (or, should we?)

3.40 Wrap-up

3.50 Devices show-and-tell
Several device manufacturers let us play with their wares. Apple. Sony. Amazon.

4.00 Close