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3 posts from December 2011

Brian Fling on PinchZoom's New HTML5-based Publishing Platform

Is HTML5 one of the keys to publishing's future? Brian Fling, founder of PinchZoom, think so. His company's new publishing platform is called PinchZoom Press and it's built atop HTML5. In this interview Brian tells us about what PinchZoom Press can do and why it's an important new entrant in the e-publishing space. Key points include:

  • The platform consists of three different pieces of technology  -- A native app for iOS devices, a layout tool and a content management system. [Discussed at 1:50]
  • Why choose HTML5 rather than EPUB 3? -- As flexible and powerful as EPUB is, it's still not as platform agnostic as HTML5. Plus, every device comes with a web browser but not necessarily an EPUB reader. [Discussed at 2:56]
  • But it's really "not about EPUB or HTML" -- Don't focus on the end client. It's about understanding how your content is managed and about how your content is presented in a mixed platform world. [Discussed at 5:07]
  • Portability introduces some limitations -- HTML5 is wonderful for portability and knowing that your product will render well on all platforms but it also means you might not have access to sensors, cameras and other potentially important device features. [Discussed at 7:20]
  • Native apps are here to stay -- Yes, that means we'll have to invest in apps across at least two platforms. The simple truth is the native app will probably always offer the best user experience for that particular platform. [Discussed at 10:40
  • Pricing is still being finalized -- PinchZoom is leaning towards only charging for the content management system, and that's likely to be a monthly fee.  [Discussed at 19:45]


Breaking the Page, Preview Edition, by Peter Meyers

BtP CoverPeter Meyers is the author of our latest TOC publishing project. His ebook is called Breaking the Page and a Preview Edition of it is now available for free. How does Peter's ebook differ from the other TOC ebooks we've been working on? Let's start with the opening statement from his introduction:

Some days I feel like a better title for this project would be "Breaking the Book: How eBooks Botch the Reading Experience." Why the pessism? As digital screens replace printed pages, the results often disappoint as much as they delight.

Yeah, that pretty much sums things up.

When Peter first pitched this idea to us I knew we needed to publish it. It closely aligns with our goals for TOC. In particular, we're focused on brining the community together to work on the reinvention of publishing. Pretty ambitious, yes, but our community needs to work together on this opportunity.

Later in the introduction Peter goes on to talk about the questions he wants Breaking the Page to help answer. They include:

  • How can digital books remedy the shortcomings of print?
  • What is the purpose of the page?
  • Given an "infinite canvas" what kind of content is best suited to occupy this space?
  • How do you take things like gestures and motion and turn them into editorial elements on par with the introduction of, say, color ink?

What is the role in a digital book of the editor? of editing?

These are questions one person isn't going to be able to answer. That's why I want to encourage you to get this free Preview Edition of Breaking the Page and join in the discussion. Give us your feedback on Peter's project. Attend our free webcasts. Download and check out our free video podcast series. Attend TOC NY in February (use the discount code "WIKERT" to knock 15% off the price, btw). Sign up for our free enewsletter. In short, become an active part of the community and help our industry get beyond what I like to refer to as the current state of quick-and-dirty-print-to-e-conversions.

Breaking the Page is a great place to start. I hope you'll get your free copy today and let us know what you think.


Save Time & Learn More with TOC's Free Publishing Newsletter

Screen shot 2011-12-04 at 6.35.16 PMKeeping up with all the publishing industry news is a daunting task these days. Earlier this year I joined Kat Meyer as one of the chairs for our Tools of Change (TOC) conference and since then I've invested a lot of time each day staying on top of all the latest developments. But there are so many news feeds, blog posts, tweets, etc., that it's impossible to catch everything. That's why the TOC team is working together to help you find the best of the best and providing the results it in a free newsletter.

Throughout the week we gather the most important items, review them as a team, vote on the best and then summarize them in the TOC newsletter. If you haven't subscribed yet you need to do so right now. Simply head over to this page, enter your email address and click "Submit." 

If you've missed the last couple of TOC newsletters all is not lost. You can still read the most recent one here and the one before that here. Check out both of those and I think you'll agree that the TOC newsletter is simply the best source of industry news and commentary available. Check it out and tell me what you think of it. You can always reach me at jwikert@oreilly.com.

P.S. -- Over the past several months my coleagues and I have worked hard to build TOC into something much more significant than a once- or twice-a-year in-person event. We now feature a steady stream of webcasts, video podcasts, short form content and much more. In short, it's a year-round engagement opportunity we're offering the publishing community. If you want to see what's coming up in TOC-land, head over to oreilly.com/toc. If you're looking to register for the next NY event you can still go to toccon.com. Be sure to register soon though as we're trending well ahead of last year's rate and are quickly heading towards an even earlier sell-out for 2012.