BNGO Books

Print design and ebook development

On PACE to a great semester

BNGO BooksComment

I'm happy to announce that I'll be joining the faculty at NYC's Pace University in Fall 2015, teaching in the Masters in Publishing program.

I'll be teaching a dozen or so Masters candidates eager to learn about desktop and digital publishing. The syllabus is under development now, but I know I'll be using the Adobe Creative Cloud to make print books and their ebook counterparts. We'll be tackling logo development, cover design, and interior design and composition, all with an eye to final print and digital editions.

It's a wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge, learn from my students, and have a hand in shaping work habits for a lifetime in publishing.

Rally 'round the RX: The Reader Experience

BNGO BooksComment

Digital designers should find ways to create evocative and sensory experiences in their ebooks. I'm all for that; one mantra has always been to design an ebook so that a reader knows exactly what book is open at a glance (or at least after a page swipe or two). How? Some ideas: color (as ornament, not meaning); book-specific ornamental dingbats; attention to every controllable typographic and design detail. 

Here's an article by Anthony Franco that lays out the case for caring about our readers:

I thought the book was already proofread!

BNGO BooksComment

Editorial and production staffs used to be glad to see final proofs go out the door. Then came ebooks.

Many publishers tack ebook-making onto the tail end of a project. This makes sense, since text and other content is final. But that is not — cannot — be the last time they look at their book. John Pettigrew has some tips and insights to offer.

Some of the info is outdated (Sigil is available again, but does not handle EPUB3 files, which are increasingly prevalent). But the concepts and the spirit are spot-on.

What's the dark side of ebooks, and can we see some light in it?

BNGO BooksComment

Interesting ideas from Dan Cohen, executive director of the Digital Library of America.

I had a phone conversation today with a colleague who is on the pessimistic side about the future of ebook growth. She sees ebook sales plateauing, iPad sales slowing, and major publishers pulling back on what they put into the digital marketplace.

That take makes me worried (since I make my living creating ebooks), but at the same time I wonder: isn't this most likely a natural part of the new book-reading ecosystem? I'm an optimist in general, and so I'll take that view. And here are some reasons that bolster my thinking.

Let's get it all together.

BNGO BooksComment

How developers and publishing pros need to move closer together.

Great piece by Derrick Schultz. I'm sorry I wont be attending the conference in Toronto this March, but am glad Derrick provided a clue to his thinking here:

Snow day

BNGO BooksComment

ABPA talk postponed until Feb 10.

Winter has arrived, so we postponed the talk to the members of the ABPA so we could all make a snowman. We'll gather instead on Feb 10 at 12:30.

In other news, I've been engaged to write an article for InDesign Magazine, on using InDesign to create a MOBI for Kindle. Outline is in and approved; now it's time to write!

I am also working on an article on importing an idml file into iBooks Author for First draft in; now to chunk it for 3 installments.

The workflow has great potential for designers who don't want to learn a new design interface; however, there are plenty of glitches, dilemmas, and questions. My piece covers lots of these; I imagine more issues will arise as time and usage accrue.

Amazon and the reinvention of literature (gee thanks, Amazon!)

Devices, Kindle, eBook Design, AmazonBNGO BooksComment

Here's a bit of aw-shucks puffery ("I'm in the super secret Lab!") about Amazon. Question unasked: Why Not play in epub land?

Some interesting info (I like knowing that people switch hands when holding a book every two minutes).

The premise of the article is to explain, uncritically, how Amazon has gone about building its business. There is some minor hand wringing about Amazon taking over (but also this:

With physical bookstores in a state of seemingly perpetual decline, Amazon has achieved a dominant position: the company sells 40 percent of all new books in the United States, and two-thirds of ebooks.

Now, I wonder why bookstores are in seeming perpetual decline....hmmmm.)

Anyway. Some comments to the article do mention the appearance of books, how they render in the devices. Forced justified. Poor font choices.

But nothing at all about the three ton simian in the room: Mobi / KF8, the Kindle OS for reading books. No mention about Amazon's insistence on keeping its books apart from books sold and distributed everywhere else.

This isn't a bit of type-geek complaining; this is the core of Amazon's business model, and it would have been nice to hear those boyish, kindly Amazonians speak to it.


Be Modern!

Design process, Devices, eBook Design, EditorialBNGO BooksComment

I've always likened evolving ereading technology to the move from black-and-white TV to color.

Viewers came to understand that a better experience was available if they moved to color, and so, eventually, they (almost, I guess) all did. And today, instead of supporting ancient devices (ancient here means 5 years old), we should build ebooks for modern devices and leave it to owners of the ancient devices to catch up.