Mike Shatzkin on the return of book packagers

I found an interesting post over on Mike's blog. It's worth a read. Here is an excerpt:

One thing we’re hearing often enough now so that it is becoming a new cliche is that making enhanced ebooks is “like producing a movie.” The point is that there are many creative efforts that need to be integrated. This all makes me nervous for publishers. This is not their skill set. This is CD-Rom land. This is an invitation to spend enormous sums of money creating products that will never earn back their costs.

Now what I’m wondering is whether the enhanced ebook could lead to the resurgence of a diminishing breed: the (enhanced e)book packager. It may be already happening.

Starting in the 1960s and famously led by Paul Hamlyn, who consecutively created and then sold packagers Hamlyn and then Octopus, the UK-based packagers of heavily-illustrated books intended to be delivered in multiple languages became a critical component of commercial book production worldwide. The “packaged” book had a number of requirements that challenged publishers. They were illustration- and design-intensive; they required large amounts of subject and photo research that then needed to be rendered in a consistent and (for each title) formulaic way; and they required an understanding of design and language requirements so that they could be printed for different language markets with just a black plate change. (Some languages consistently take more characters to express the same thought than others and knowledge of those details was a component of the packagers’ expertise.)

I still don't think much of the idea of enhanced ebooks. But then again, I used to have hundreds of mmpb, most of which I've replaced with ebooks. Ibought a lot of them used so I could have as many as possible. I'm probably not the target market for enhanced ebooks. TBH, I don't think there is a market for enhanced ebooks.

About Nate Hoffelder (11594 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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