I read the article on the Digital Book World Website by Deanna Utroske: How Creative Tech Leaders Shape Publishing. This was an interesting article because it was an interview between Andrea Colvin, who is the Vice President of Content and the Executive Producer in the Book Division at Andrews McMeel Publishing (amp), and Anne Kostick who is the program director for the digital book awards in Foxpath, IND.
Ms. Colvin had some very interesting comments on the state of publishing and how the electronic/digital revolution is impacting how publishers are getting consumables to market. Ms. Colvin’s remarks about every book being a journey rang very true in my mind as well. Ms. Colvin seemed to echo the sentiments of Stephen Covey, that “you always begin a project with the end result in sight.” The fact that publishers are now taking it into their own control to look at the electronic products first and then spin off the print products afterwards is going to revolutionize the process of how print books and e-books get completed going into the future.
Thinking about just how far we’ve come since I first got into the publishing industry, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to say that we have gone from Kitty Hawk to the Sea of Tranquility in the space of roughly 35 years. We’ve gone from paste-up and negatives, blues and hot type, to Creo-to-Plate, desktop publishing, and e-books. The fact that we have gone this far this fast only gives credence to the realization that sometimes the human imagination will outstrip the ability of technology to keep up with what we want to do.
Even in publishing in the electronic digital age there are times when all of the advances and innovations are not enough to build a product that reflects the innermost projections of human dreams. This point was made very clear when Ms Colvin related the information about how they cannot get a puzzle book into an electronic format. The fact that someone so intimately tied into the technological advances of a forward-thinking publishing company would admit this fact, is extremely refreshing and shows that publishing leaders can admit that they do not have all the answers while simultaneously innovating and maintain their corporate structures on the razor’s edge of advancement. She also related that although the upgrades in the e-reader devices were a welcomed advantage to content dissemination, the same advances were tantamount to creating more difficult process pathways for project finalizations.
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True publishing leaders in the tech field, editorial field, production/manufacturing field, or digital and electronic products field are the first to mention that what they’re doing is an overall team effort. Mapping and planning what features would work best for the outside consumer marketplace is the most forward thinking trait any publishing leader can engender. It is a pretty amazing time to be working in the publishing field. Technology is changing at a breakneck speed and new innovations in layout and file formats using Epub-3 with HTML5 capabilities will begin to get content into the hands of anyone with an E-reader device very shortly. The new formatting over the next few years will mean that published content will be transmissible and accurately interactive on any handheld device inclusive of iPads, iPhones, as well as the standard e-reading devices such as the Kindle and the Nook. This change to Epub-3 with HTML5 will go a long way toward becoming a universally accepted standard taking us well into the next decades.
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Real innovation and publishing leadership is measured by how well the individual reacts when confronted with problematic and adverse conditions. I would say Ms. Colvin is one who fits this description admirably.
Follow me on Twitter at: Donald Schmidt@thebookkahuna