Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Illinois Office
It’s hard to keep up with happenings in the digital world that affect publishing. Have you heard that Facebook bought a digital publishing company? Don’t be alarmed; they aren’t getting into the publishing business. They bought Push Pop Press not for the purpose of publishing books but to use Push Pop’s groundbreaking software ideas and technology to enhance our Facebook experience. Their press release states:
“We’re thrilled to confirm that we’ve acquired Push Pop Press, a startup whose groundbreaking software changes the way people publish and consume digital content. We can’t wait for co-founders Mike Matas and Kimon Tsinteris to get started, and for some of the technology, ideas and inspiration behind Push Pop Press to become part of how millions of people connect and share with each other on Facebook.” – AFP Tues, Aug 2, 2011.
The FB visionaries apparently feel that the success of Push Pop Press’s one published book was due to the publisher’s great design rather than the content and author (Our Choice, by Al Gore).
How can we apply the foresight of this social media giant to the future of e-books? Design technology is poised to explode. This is especially encouraging for children’s books and their authors. Children’s books have struggled because most people want to handle and “try out” a children’s book before they decide to purchase it. With fewer independent bookstores and now one fewer chain bookstore, buyers have less opportunity to see, touch, and feel the books. And children’s books haven’t worked well for e-book publishing because of the art and design needs.
When asked for publishers’ current e-book percentage of their sales, here are the responses from editors on a panel at the Oregon Christian Writers Conference:
Abingdon – All their fiction books are published in softcover and e-book
Revell – Fiction is their leading e-book category; increased from 10% to 14%
Tyndale – 10% of their sales and growing, especially fiction; release in both print and e-book
Waterbrook Multnomah – 15%; all books are released in softcover and e-book
White Rose – e-books far outsell print
Winepress – 20%
We’re all hoping children’s e-books will eventually catch up to these percentages as new technologies are developed. Have you heard about the one that enables children to swipe the e-reader screen to change colors? Electronics and the Internet are akin to second languages for this generation, fostering an urgent need for healthy children’s e-book publishing. They’ll be reading books in an entirely new experience. I just hope they will also always have the desire and opportunity to hold and appreciate a print book.
Have you heard any buzz about specific design enhancements for e-books? What creative abilities would you like to see?