I'm not talking about moving wholesale from print to digital but about the unstoppable wave of conversion from print to digital, where the print doesn't work particularly well in its e-book version and needs to be changed and massaged.
Those of us in the e-book-making business have a few terms to describe ourselves and what we do to get content from print to digital. Some call themselves developers, which I guess comes from the web development branch of the family. That's fine, but I'm not a code head; I come at this process from a design and editorial point of view.
Others call it making a conversion, as if they take the print edition, dunk it underwater for a couple of seconds, turn it around, and voilá, it's a new view! Well, to me, that term and implied process leaves out the sensitivity to the content that I think is vital to creating a valuable e-book.
Then, of course, there's the meatgrinder. The less said about that the better.
So, I've adopted adaptation. I adapt books from their print incarnation into a digital edition that will serve the content, use the device as its meant to be used, and leave the reader unaware that there might be a difference between the p- and e-versions.
That involves approaching an adaptation the same way I approach a fresh design. I read the book, think about its layers and components. I also look at what the print designer has created and use as much of that design as makes sense in an e-book. Colors, hierarchies, position of heads on the page are all taken into account.
Adapt or perish might be a bit strong; plenty of e-books will do just fine in a conversion. But take the extra minute to really think about the book, the device, and how they can work together. Adapt one to the other, and you'll get a great product.