At an event at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City Monday night, Matt MacInnis, founder and CEO of Inkling, announced the public release of the company’s Inkling Habitat platform, a free, collaborative digital publishing environment. The cloud-based platform allows book editors, developers and designers to collaborate, integrate multimedia and enhanced content, publish to multiple platforms, and preview the content presentation across platforms.
The announcement is notable on a couple of fronts. On one end of the spectrum, you have publishers who for decades have defined content by containers. On the other, you have digital content, which works best when it remains fluid and agile. The space between these points is where you’ll find the disruption and stress the industry knows so well. It’s hard to transition from one product to another. It’s even harder to shift to an entirely new mindset.
A platform like Inkling’s keeps much of the technical and cognitive overhead behind the scenes, which lets publishers move down a path they know they have to take.
Publishers can combine the Inkling Habitat platform with Inkling’s recently released Content Discovery Platform as well, creating what the press release calls “the only end-to-end solution for publishers to build, market, and distribute high quality digital books at scale.” The platform “unlocks” book content, allowing search engines to index it. This not only allows readers to more easily discover books — and even individual chapters or chunks of content — but opens up new revenue avenues for publishers.
“For the last five years, the digital book market has been dominated by a single player,” MacInnis said for the release. “Products have been limited to $10 text files, but there is another massive market for illustrated books, from textbooks to travel books, cooking, hobbies, medicine, and more, that demands the media-rich, interactive experience that mobile devices were built for.”
At the event, MacInnis also announced Inkling Habitat for Enterprise. “Habitat for Enterprise allows you to build custom-branded experiences on top of this entire infrastructure, so your teams can come build a Habitat store in the [Inkling] system and have your brand out in front,” said MacInnis. “You can also integrate Habitat into your existing infrastructure.” The launch partner for Habitat Enterprise, MacInnis announced, will be Pearson. “Pearson is going to be integrating Habitat into their infrastructure,” MacInnis said, “and deploying it to their employees to build next-generation content.”
Six additional partners for Inkling Habitat also were announced at the event: DK Publishing, Time, HarperCollins, Lonely Planet, and Rick Steves, and The Wall Street Journal will use the platform for some of its book content. These publishers join more than two dozen existing Habitat partners, including O’Reilly, McGraw-Hill and Wiley, who have been working with pre-release versions of the platform.
Additionally, Inkling announced support for Creative Commons licenses in Habitat and a partnership with the 20 Million Minds Foundation to build and distribute 50 open textbooks in California. Inkling’s press release for the announcements can be found here.