Paolo Albert: If we think that the hype of the moment are audiobooks, there are very promising developments related to the application of new AI tools to this type of product, I think for example of Amazon Alexa and Amazon Echo. The challenge for publishers, once again, is to be able to seize opportunities without necessarily experiencing them as a threat. How have the market and the way of selling and distributing electronic books developed in the 20 years from ?
Paolo Albert: Amazon was the first engine of e-book development. The downside is that the Seattle-based company sees the book as purely commercial. On the other hand, this pure commercial interest is also the cross of the e-book, in the sense that there is little propensity to innovate the format, if it is not supported or justified by purely commercial reasons.
Amazon, still today, is the undisputed master of the market, and any discussion of growth and future can only pass through their clutches.
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However, the new format has struggled to spread. Paolo Albert: PubCoder is an authoring software and allows you to export a file that is totally in the hands of its author. So, no doubt: go to the W3C website without wasting any more time! Thanks to her long working experience, which began in the early nineties, various projects for various Italian companies and her work as a teacher, we are able to obtain a broader vision of the digital publishing sector. Can you tell us how your passion for digital publishing came about?
Michela Di Stefano: I started training in as a computer technician in a company that sold the first Apple computers to typography and advertising agencies. I saw the first models of Mac computers and the first versions of the software still in black and white!
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Then I had other professional experiences: web designer, large format printing and gadgets, until I decided to set up my own business in with the recognition by Adobe of the title of Adobe Guru. The discovery of digital publishing came in when the print market began to be truly inflated and a market in which it was increasingly difficult to make the quality of service prevail over the lowest price. When I bought my first iPad, I was presented with a real mirage: an absolutely new, stimulating and unexplored market in which we could express our expertise, our values and in which it was not possible to improvise as it requires real technical preparation to be able to distribute on the stores and to be able to stay up to date on the continuous changes and updates in this sector.
I can say that we fell in love with this market and even today we still get great satisfaction from the projects we realize, many more than those we collect for the realization of traditional publishing projects. ELR: You work in companies, communication agencies, typographies and training institutes. How is digital publishing technology used in these areas?
Daniele Salvalai, Gabriella Benedini. I tempi del cielo The times of the sky. These students found work thanks to their ability to create interactive e-books and it was a very important goal. During the Graphic Design course, I taught how to make interactive e-books to present a project to a customer, I myself use interactive ePubs to make important meetings and present projects to my customers.
In both cases the students created a magazine in paper format and then in digital format. You can see some examples on this page. In companies there is still very little knowledge of this market, everyone knows the word App, but the ideas on the implementation and real usefulness of this tool is very low.
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As for e-books, the situation is even worse, not even advertising agencies and creatives are aware of the potential and characteristics of this product. We have already created 3 monographs for the Martino Dolci Foundation of Brescia, which has understood how the creation of e-books with the monographs of painters from Brescia, can bring young people closer to the world of art and can introduce them to these artists, something that the paper monographs made up to 3 years ago, could not have done. Michela Di Stefano: The interest aroused by these very short meetings and outside the traditional time slots was very high.
Then some last-minute absentees allowed everyone to sit down and always have the room with a high participation. We can be very satisfied because the hours from 8. Given the interest and success, we decided to propose them again for Obviously, these are very different meetings, in fact the annual event of Digital Publishing Explorers is already scheduled for and will take place in Brescia. Like every edition, the day will be full of meetings and information, a completely different cut from BreakfastPro, created to offer essential tools to professionals who want to keep up to date and up to date with technology to offer and find new business strategies.
ELR: How are your training courses structured? What are the basic notions that participants need to have? Only in this way is it possible to create a tailor-made training course for those who request it. Whether you are a freelance professional or a corporate team, before training you need to know the level of participants, what are the objectives to be achieved and how much time is available to do so.
On the basis of these elements we formulate an ad hoc program each time. On the website there are lists of the functions of each package, but the course is much more, we also release links to tutorials, video tutorials and other important material that you can not deepen during the live lesson. ELR: Do you think there is an awareness and a strong will, in your working environment, for the development of new technologies that will facilitate the transition from print to digital publishing? Michela Di Stefano: Unfortunately, the use and usefulness of new technologies that allow you to migrate or simply distribute traditional printing projects in digital format are still unknown and seen with distrust.
In Italy the word e-book is used to indicate a PDF and an App to indicate a game or something very complex when it is not so.
Since we have been working to make this market known to the world of creatives and all those working in the communication sector, today in we begin to see the first results of what we have sown, but the road still very long …. Tim Berners published on August 6, the first website in the world, at CERN, but years passed before this technology took off in Italy, even today there are companies that do not have a website and consider it useless for their business!!!
Worse still there are companies that have an inefficient one and not suitable to be displayed on new mobile devices.
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Both the interactive ePub format and the editorial applications can be used to distribute editorial information quickly and cheaply, but are seen as too complex and expensive investments due to the lack of culture on the subject. Some companies have gone ahead without the guidance of professional structures like ours in these markets and have achieved great frustration and very little results due to a lack of knowledge of the tools and rules that underlie the digital publishing market. This market is certainly effective, but in continuous evolution. It is a market managed by precise rules that the distribution Stores dictate to all those who wish to distribute on these channels.
To return to the initial question, even a PDF born in with the Camelot project of Adobe can be considered an example of digital publishing, but it is not an e-book. When we talk about e-books we are talking about. In the light of the above, I can safely say that the history of digital publishing is still being written. ELR: How has the digital publishing market developed in the last 20 years in Italy? Which European country is at the forefront in this sector? Michela Di Stefano: In part I answered this question in my previous answers because in Italy the digital publishing market is very unripe and largely unknown.
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The term Publishing already indicates more broadly the process of producing and distributing literature, music or information and the activity of making this information available to the public on various media. As you can imagine, Digital Publishing allows you to broaden this concept and embrace a number of very diverse sectors that are:. All together they allow us to distribute content on new digital devices, so the concept of digital publishing is much broader than we usually think. ELR: From the point of view of the aesthetics of the medium, what are the differences between the way of conceiving the layout of an e-book and the way of printing?
Michela Di Stefano: If we talk about a fixed layout e-book, the layout can be very similar to that of the paper format, however, we must remember that these contents must be usable on screens of different sizes and therefore it is important to study the layout of the page in order to be readable on the largest number of devices. Michela Di Stefano: A part of the answer has already been given in the previous one, I would add that the criteria of legibility prevail over the criteria of aesthetics.
ELR: How important is it to know the programming languages to work in the digital publishing sector? Michela Di Stefano: Having knowledge of html programming allows you to go deeper into the creation of an ePub and allows you to get around some obstacles. My advice is to know this programming language to be able to use it in case of need. In this interview Antonio Tombolini, founder of the StreetLib publishing house, tells us how his passion for books and reading gave rise to an interest in digital publishing.
A world to discover, as his words reveal. How did your interest in digital publishing begin? Antonio Tombolini: Simply from my passion for books and reading, which led me at the time to ask myself if the book should not have to deal, sooner or later, with the transition to digital that music was already facing.
How are the workshops structured? What are the prerogatives to participate in your training courses?
We are convinced that the transition to digital and to the web also involves the book industry in an adjustment of skills and we intend to offer the best tools to acquire them. ELR: Do you think there is an awareness and a strong will in the publishing sector for the development of new technologies that will facilitate the transition from print to digital publishing? Antonio Tombolini: No, or at least not adequately in the current protagonists of publishing.
Yes, on the other hand, and increasingly, among authors, especially the youngest, and readers. ELR: How did you personally experience the transition from print to digital from to the present day?
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Antonio Tombolini: It was and still is a path of progressive discoveries, which will still be long, because we are still at the first steps of an evolution of which we have only seen a small part. What I have learned in the meantime is that in these phases of radical changes in the paradigms of an entire sector, the less judicious and the less suitable to identify and cultivate the new are precisely those who in theory would be in the position of greatest advantage, or those who already work in the sector.
And the bigger they are, the worse they are. Antonio Tombolini: It is always difficult, and after all not even too useful, to chase the primacy of this or that in the advent of a phenomenon. The book has actually been written and produced digitally for many years, for decades, I would say since the advent of the ancestors of computers, at the end of the 70s of the last century, when not yet computers began to circulate, but the electronic writing machines, of which Olivetti was a forerunner: since then the book is written mainly in digital, elaborated, formatted, corrected, etc..
The turning point in my opinion lies in the advent of the first reading devices with e-ink screen, which we started to sell, first in the world, and not only in Europe, just at the end of it is only with these screens that reading electronically a book becomes an experience finally comparable to the comfort of the reading experience on paper. What are the most popular formats and literary genres? How has the market for different formats developed?