ENTRIES TAGGED "publishing standards"

The ISBN still has a place in the digital world

The Economist may think ISBNs are doomed, but Bowker's Laura Dawson has a different take.

A recent post at The Economist declared the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) an analog relic that “increasingly hampers new, small and individual publishers,” and an industry shift toward digital is “weakening its monopoly.” The post stated:

“Self-published writers are booming; sales of their books increased by a third in America in 2011. Digital self-publishing was up by 129%. This ends the distinction between publisher, distributor and bookshop, making ISBNs less necessary. … in the digital realm what matters is not the number that a publisher gives a book, but how easily it can be downloaded and for how much.”

I reached out to Laura Dawson (@ljndawson), product manager for identifiers at Bowker, to find out if the ISBN is indeed on its way out. Our interview follows.

Is the post at The Economist onto something? Are ISBNs becoming less necessary?

Laura DawsonLaura Dawson: ISBNs are necessary if the self-published author intends to sell her books using the traditional book supply chain. If the author is selling direct from her own website, or solely through Amazon (which doesn’t require ISBNs), then no ISBN is necessary. But if the author is distributing her books through a third-party distributor (such as Ingram, or Bookmasters, etc.), then an ISBN will be required. If the author is placing books at Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million or Hastings, an ISBN will be required.

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Rich multi-media and a web of devices is driving us to a world of standards

W3C's Jeff Jaffe talks about the Open Web Platform, a harmonious coexistence of HTML5 and EPUB, and the importance of standardization.

At the recent TOC conference in New York, I had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Jaffe, CEO of the World Wide Web Consortium, to talk about the Open Web Platform and standardization issues. In our video interview (embedded below), Jaffe says HTML5 is by no means a replacement for ebook formats like EPUB or Mobi — he says HTML5 is the core markup used on the web and that EPUB can be viewed as a specialization (at the 0:44 mark) and that increased communication between the communities “will allow us to have better standards built into HTML, so that way, publishing specific standards like EPUB would be able to have far greater capabilities.” (At the 1:39 mark.)

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The give and take between e-publishing standards and innovation

The give and take between e-publishing standards and innovation

Bill McCoy on EPUB 3 and keeping pace with innovation.

In this video interview, Bill McCoy, executive director of the IDPF, says it's important to emphasize and encourage the innovative aspects of building upon EPUB 3, as long as that innovation doesn't lock consumers in to one closed silo.

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