As part of the review I was doing of the eBookWise-1150, I played some with their publishing tools. The device maker, eBook Technologies, Inc. (ETI), has some tools for publishers, and I tried both a batch processing tool and an interactive one. I say “played” with them because I only tried a few things, and there were many features, especially to the interactive tool. The tools looked very solid. I have also played around some with . I do this to learn the tools, but also to keep myself honest. We advise clients on these devices and also the workflow surrounding eBook creation. Our clients don’t expect us to know every bell and whistle, but they do expect us to understand what is possible and not possible.
The more eBooks become attractive options for publishers, the more issues of publishing to multiple formats and platforms become important for publishers. Our experience so far has been that the most typical requirement for publishers is the need to produce eBooks in many different formats and not just one (this despite sensible solutions like IDPF’s EPUB format). And they need to do this efficiently. This is a practical reality of the marketplace today as no one eBook format has won the format war, no one channel is dominating sales, and indeed no one channel is typically worth doing on its own. The revenues simply are not there yet. (Indeed, even if you decide that you will only do, say, PDF-based eBooks, the similarities from one channel to the next end with the PDF extension, necessitating technologies like codeMantra’s Universal PDF).
Adobe is one of the vendors supporting EPUB, and their Digital Editions developer site has some good resources. They just added an EPUB Best Practices Guide (in, not surprisingly, EPUB format, so you can download Digital Editions if you want to get right to reading it).