if:book's Kate Eltham is currently blogging for if:book from the O'Reilly Tools of Change for Publishing Conference in New York City.
Open, Webby Book Publishing Systems
This session will examine open, web-first book-publishing systems, built on top of the open source blogging software platform, WordPress. We’ll look at work done with Simon Fraser University’s Ickmull project and Book of MPub, George Mason University’s Anthologize plugin, and other developments.
This work suggests a future where we create “books” in the cloud first. With structured mark-up, expressions of a book in various forms (print, epub, pdf, mobipocket, html, etc) on various devices (iPad, Kindle, or paper & print) becomes almost arbitrary, and trivial in practice. Further, if the book lives first in the cloud, then the range of things that can be done with it multiplies significantly—giving publishers flexibility to experiment much more easily within the digital landscape.
If a system built on these ideals is implemented well, it could be transformative, both for professional publishing workflows, and for the emergence of a new grassroots of independent publishing.
Books are ecosystems that include the content but also conversation, sales, reviews, comments, flamewars etc. And if that's the case we need to change the way we think about publishing systems and workflow.
Meet the #dpplatypus (The platypus is the animal that most resembles publishers' workflow)
The future is books in browsers. HTML5 can slice through the gordian knot of format/platform proliferation.
InDesign File -> Save As -> HTML5 [Ha! Right!]
Nope. So need...
A web-native CMS (Wordpress!)
Kirk Biglione, Oxford Media
Some examples of existing tools or services that might be plugged into an open, webby book publishing system:
- Bibliotype by Craig Mod - wouldn't it be great if this was linked to a CMS and then you could begin designing books native in WP. And now we have a new theme from Kirk Biglione - Bibliotype for Wordpress
- WPtouch Pro (under GPL) turns any WP content into mobile-friendly content
- Woothemes > Listings Theme : designed to build directories on the web, like a book club!
- Gigaom Pro (built on wordpress, a new kind of service to monetise content)
- Link bundle at http://bit.ly.ee9vg0
John Maxwell, Simon Fraser University Vancouver
3 reasons why we take the web seriously for book publishing
Pragmatist argument: Web is simply a superior platform for developing e-publications. Good reasons too. For example, the ePub spec is aligned with HTML5 and CSS. It makes sense to go to those formats from web-native content. Plus, you're using it already!
Liberty argument: open, transparent standards are increasingly valuable in an age of would-be monopolists (future-proof)
Futurist's argument: the web is THE publishing platform of our time. In 2050, the platform we'll be using won't be a replacement of the web, but the evolution of it.
With that in mind, how do we reimagine book publishing with the web as our framework? Some SFU projects:
1. Ickmull: printing the web in InDesign [HTML to IFML via XSLT) http://code.google.com/p/ickmull
2. The Book of MPub (2010) An end-to-end book development project, entirely in WP, open peer reviewed, with simultaneous print, epub, web incarnations
3. Editorial workflow support in WordPress: ongoing graduate student R&D, going for low-hanging fruit
Hugh McGuire, Book Oven
PressBooks: An open source, webby, book publishing tool built on WordPress
Export formats: Web (HTML), ePub, POD ready PDF, InDesign ready XML