Sarah Lacy provides an articulate and approachable list of digital lessons for book publishers. Her passage on going “electronic from the get-go” is an important reminder about the vital efficiences of digital content:
You might be stunned to learn that in book publishing, once you get to the final manuscript stages, there is no electronic version. The manuscript is FedEx’ed back and forth with Post-it Notes. If FedEx were to lose it, publishers lose months’ worth of copy edits, legal edits, and other elements of the painstaking publishing process. There’s not even a photocopy. No joke.
That makes publishing the book in other digital formats a challenge at the outset. Publishers would do well to keep the book electronic– even if it’s PDFs of typeset pages. That would help them blast teaser chapters around the world (engaging bloggers and the long tail of the press). Presumably it would help get the book on Kindle and other e-books from day one.