The business of eBooks is booming and it is important to know how this affects the paper book industry and how commonly used publishing practices can be applied to electronic media. The problem is mostly one of perception. Anyone can write up something on the internet, call it an eBook, and sell it on the internet, which is an unfortunate thing for readers, writers, or publishers. If eBooks are to gain any sort of standing among printed books, the perception of eBooks needs to be one of a source of entertainment and information, instead of just a computer file.
Every book that has appeared in print has an ISBN (International Standard Book Numbering) designation. Each book has its own 10-digit ISBN code. The numbers in the code are separated into groups that identify it by country and publisher. It is the only data needed to identify a book in most bookstores. It will always be a unique identifier, since it is never used again once issued to a book.
The reason this sort of designation is important is because it is known and trusted in the publishing world. For eBooks to gain the same level of trust that printed books enjoy, along with a higher market share, they should voluntarily adopt standards similar to those the paper book publishers employ.
Paper books will be around forever, more than likely. People are used to them and they are easier to deal with in many respects. They follow a familiar pattern – front cover, back cover, certain pages before the actual text of the book begins, and so forth. EBooks that wish to be accepted like paper books need to follow this standard as well. The closer the resemblance to paper books, the better.
A book that is printed starts with a manuscript. This manuscript is sent to a publisher and goes through a strenuous editing process before it is finally printed. All the books in the bookstore have been through this process. EBooks suffer because they do not necessarily have to go through the same steps that a printed book must travel. Digital books need to set that same standard in order to achieve acceptance and escape the impression of being amateur work.
Standards in book publication also include standards in marketing. Before purchasing a physical book, a reader can browse it, examine the format and style, and see if it is appealing or not. An eBook can establish that same feeling by using some standards of display.
Most eBooks only allow a browser to see the title and author, or just a table of contents, or just a limited excerpt. That does not show how the book will look. The readers cannot even see what they are buying. No one will buy a book like that, especially if it is the same price as a printed book.
It is to the benefit of all eBook writers and publishers to adhere to certain voluntary standards of eBook publication. It has to be voluntary, because willing participation is vital for eBook publication to reach the prestige it deserves.
Read the original: E-Book Publishing Standards