Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Digital Stuff: Random House, Macmillan, Penguin

On Monday Random House UK announced that they will make as many as 5,000 titles available for previewing on their web site. The application is available currently on everytitle that has an "open the book" icon over the cover image. Random House like other large trade publishers has been in the process of building a digital warehouse of their content for a number of years. This process looks to be well in hand and at RH and other publishers we are likely to see new and interesting applications appear with regularity. The link for the Wingfield title is here. RH has also said the tool will be available to other sites. The Guardian noted that Play.com as well as bloggers and book fans will be able to use the widget.

Other publishers with digitial news includes Penguin who let it be known they will adopt the .epub IDPF standard for ebooks and release all their titles in this format beginning later in the year.

Over at Macmillan they are experimenting in a number of different ways to create extra value with an e-version of a printed work. (At some point they become entirely different of course). This notion is similar to my suggestions in what to do about Amazon.com but the nice people at Thedigitalist actually have an example:
The idea that a special edition eBook can contain marginal material produced before, during, or after a print edition features in two other eBooks to be published by Picador this year. Sid Smith’s China Dreams, which we published in hardback in January 2007 and in paperback in January 2008, will be issued in a uniquely up-to-date edition, in the author’s latest version, with corrections, changes, and new material, and a foreword in which he considers the process of composition and revision. Cliffhanger, by T. J. Middleton (the alias of our established Picador author Tim Binding), takes this idea in the opposite direction: alongside the print edition, which we publish in October 2008, will be an urtext: a composite version of the novel as it was before it was edited here at Picador, with the text in its original form, reinstated and modified scenes and characters, and a radically different ending, also with a foreword by the author explaining the urtext’s conception and the editing process that turned it into Cliffhanger.

I am sure much more to come.

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