Core Memory, by Mark Richards & John Alderman
Google Offers Book Search to Publishers

Book Design Blog

Book_design_blogHere's a great publishing resource you should check out: The Book Design Blog.  It's where Cecilia Sorochin and Jeff Barry share their book and web design insights.  I've been following their posts for a couple of weeks now and have enjoyed their observations.

For example, here's one providing their take on e-books.  Besides the point about pricing, and how e-books need to be priced lower than their print equivalent, I also agree with their opinion on page count.  I've noted before how we publishers seem to fall into the trap of making a book large enough to have a spine presence on the shelf.  That's obviously not an issue with an e-book.  In fact, one could argue that the shorter the e-book the better the reader experience, especially the reading devices that exist today (e.g., laptop screens, cell phones, PDAs, etc.)

I also liked this post about e-book covers, particularly the part about three-dimensional images.  I think cover images that are three-dimensional (like the one in their post) look better than the two-dimensional ones you find for print books on Amazon and BN.com.  We've provided three-dimensional graphics for our WROX boxes, for example, and I think they look much better than a flat image.  It wasn't the same, simple process used to provide every other flat cover image, but given the impact it can make, I wonder how long it will be before some enterprising publisher will start providing all their covers as three-dimensional ones to help distinguish themselves from the competition...

Comments

Jeff

Joe - Thanks for the shout out!

Dan

Joe

First I want to say how much I enjoy your blog. All good stuff.

Second, I just wanted to make a point about what the Book Design blog says about e-books not needing to be 300 pages long. I'd agree with that, but at the moment most e-books are designed to exist alongside a print edition, and so design, size etc are governed by that - print editions do, after all, make the bulk of the immediate book publishing revenue.

I think when it comes to thinking about an e-book that is designed specifically to be read online, we shouldn't even be using the term e-book. Online pieces of text that are shorter than printed books already exist - they're called 'articles', 'blogs', 'short stories', and so on. If we are going to call all of those 'e-books', then I write a few books every week!

The term 'e-book' is therefore inherently redundant, because it describes the form, not the content. Thinking in terms of e-books might actually be responsible in part for holding back publishers from embracing more flexible forms of online communication.

Dan

Joe Wikert

Hi Dan. Great points! And how ironic...if you look at one of the posts I made earlier today you'll see it references a recent report by your company, Outsell, Inc. Kudos to your team for putting together such an insightful summary of where Google is today and where they're heading tomorrow.

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