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April 02 2012

Books should be as easy to create as websites

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.


There are countless author and book production platforms to choose from these days. So why would you want to use a new one like PressBooks? In this TOC interview, I sat down with Hugh McGuire (@hughmcguire), co-author of "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto" and founder of PressBooks to help answer that question. I should point out that I'm a fan of the platform. In fact, that's one of the reasons we agreed to have Hugh create and produce "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto" on PressBooks.

Highlights from the full video interview (below) include:

  • Start with a web first approach — HTML is a great starting point and allows you to go in a variety of directions for other formats. It's all about making it as easy to create a book as it is to create a website. [Discussed at the 1:30 mark.]
  • Built on WordPress — PressBooks leverages the CMS power of WordPress and will be familiar to a large audience of writers and editors. [Discussed at 3:18.]
  • Putting book content online — The web offers a great way to spread information, but ebooks are typically off that grid. PressBooks allows you to leverage social interactions for a book. [Discussed at 4:15.]
  • Digital first, POD second — Even though PressBooks is an obvious solution for digital publishing, it's not exclusive to that. In fact, "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto" will also be available via POD when the project is complete. [Discussed at 8:10.]
  • The value of "free" — "Book: A Futurist's Manifesto" is and will remain freely accessible on PressBooks. Will that ultimately cannibalize or help promote sales of the paid versions? [Discussed at 9:00.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

The future of publishing has a busy schedule.
Stay up to date with Tools of Change for Publishing events, publications, research and resources. Visit us at oreilly.com/toc.

Related:

March 21 2012

No more book app sifting: PlayTales designed its bookstore within an app

This post is part of the TOC podcast series. You can also subscribe to the free TOC podcast through iTunes.


A quick look at the bestsellers on the iPad indicates that kids books are a hot area. PlayTales is one of the leaders in this space, and I recently got to speak with their marketing and PR manager, Anna Abraham. If you're not familiar with PlayTales, you'll want to check out their free bookstore iPad app in iTunes. In this interview, Abraham talks about what makes PlayTales unique and describes how they've embraced the opportunities in children's ebook publishing.

Key points from the full video interview (below) include:

  • It all starts with discoverability — PlayTales is a store within an app. It's a one-stop option for parents, which helps them avoid the frustration of sifting through the app store. [Discussed at the 1:00 mark.]
  • Going beyond a single platform — Most publishers in this space are focused on iOS and little else. While the iPad is the dominant tablet platform (for now, at least), PlayTales is wisely investing in other platforms as well. [Discussed at 2:01.]
  • Most of their content is digital-first — Repurposing is tempting, but as PlayTales has found, a digital end-product is often best started from scratch. This approach also helps avoid some of the licensing and rights pitfalls that can come from reuse, especially when that existing content was contracted in the pre-digital era. [Discussed at 2:54.]
  • Exclusive vs. non-exclusive — You might be surprised to hear that PlayTales contracts with their authors on a non-exclusive basis. They believe they can earn an author's loyalty by being a great publishing partner. What a concept! [Discussed at 3:35.]
  • Impressive stats — With approximately 1.5 million book reads per month and 3-5K new downloads per day, PlayTales is already reaching a sizable audience. More importantly, approximately 19% of the people who download the free app become paying customers as well. [Discussed at 4:20.]

You can view the entire interview in the following video.

The future of publishing has a busy schedule.
Stay up to date with Tools of Change for Publishing events, publications, research and resources. Visit us at oreilly.com/toc.

Related:


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