What to Look for in an eBook Publishing Platform

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Digital publishing platforms have greatly expanded the reach and accessibility of published content. eBooks have found widespread acceptance amongst publishers and readers for several reasons. For publishers, it means quicker dissemination of content; visibility on acceptance of published content; better pricing opportunities; post-purchase engagement with the readers; retargeting the reader, etc. On the other hand, for the reader, it means low prices, increased accessibility, ease of usage, and comfort of reading amongst other benefits.

There are several digital publishing platforms for an education publishing company for managing their eBooks publications.  Finding an eBooks publishing and delivery platform is not easy, The first question that comes to your mind is what does it take to publish eBooks? Where should one start and what to look for in an eBooks publishing platform. It is important to make an informed decision to reach out to the largest possible audience. We have listed below some of the important points to consider while selecting an eBooks publishing platform.

Compatibility with Content:

By now everyone in the publishing industry is familiar with the ePub format. The ePub format is one of the universally-accepted formats for eBooks. While publishing companies prefer a file format which is the exact reproduction of a print page, but one has to keep in mind that while such an eBook might look great on a desktop screen, it may get difficult to read it on a smaller screen. Choosing a platform which adjusts the content to the screen size of the readers’ device is mandatory nowadays. Platforms that allow users to search the eBook using keywords, download the entire book for offline reading, and allows users to make notes and highlight sections of the book even when they are not connected to the internet, enhance the reading and learning experience for users.

Browser/OS Compatibility:

The digital publishing platform that you choose must be compatible with all the major browsers that are used commonly along with various operating systems like iOS, Windows, Android, Linux and Chromebooks. It is now well known in Education Industry that Chromebooks now hold 50% of the device share in schools. However, Most apps are not compatible with Chromebooks. If you are targeting large sales in schools/school districts, Chromebook compatibility is a must have feature.

Flexible License and Subscription Management:

A good digital publishing platform will help you manage your subscribers on any device and from any location. Tracking the entirety of a subscription is very important. It should help you easily organize, search, and distribute content in bulk while being able to handle customer signups automatically. A feature that allows you to choose the product type and payment systems; lets you easily add/edit/delete your customers’ subscriptions; view reports; and run batch operations; etc., will help you monetize your eBooks better.

Powerful Digital Rights Management and Encryption Technology to Avoid Piracy:

DRM, or Digital Rights Management, is designed to prevent piracy, which implies that it would prevent the illegal copying and distribution of your eBook post its sale. When selecting a platform you should ensure that they have powerful encryption technology in place, so that only authorized users can download and use the content. Irrespective of the type of file that you upload, your chosen publishing platform should automatically convert your eBook into a DRM-locked / yet standard format.

Text-to-speech and Other Features for ELT content:

Make sure that eBook content is readable by JAWS/VoiceOver and the eBook distribution platform has features that support products like ReadSpeaker, etc.  If you have audio files of recordings of all the text check for attributes, such as synchronized highlighting on the publishing platform ( SMIL support). These features are very much needed to make an eBook publishing platform accessible to the differently-abled people.

Content Support for All Content Types:

It’s quite important that the publishing platform allows adding media formats, such as videos, animations, simulations, games, audio etc. to the content. Including these features in an ebook can increase reader engagement. The publishing platform should differentiate between caption and alternative text correctly. Similarly, it should be able to read row and column labels and content within a table correctly in the natural reading order.

Flexible Pricing:

Different publishing platforms have different pricing models for their services.  In flexible pricing, platforms companies offer pay as you go models. One can choose to buy a full service at a fixed monthly subscription for their all-inclusive pricing or start with a conservative service offering and then change the pricing plan based on the performance.

Some platforms allow publishers to publish for free in exchange for a share of revenue. The concept of revenue sharing is good for micro-budget publishers who wish to avoid upfront costs.

Powerful Analytics and Reporting:

To build a marketing strategy backed by consumer data and insights, choose a platform with powerful backend analytics and reporting. Analytics will help you track user trends to help you make good business decisions. Choose a platform that allows you to engage with your readers through feedback, suggestions and issue resolution.

Easy to Customize:

The interface/features of the publishing platform should be customizable and configurable. A good publishing platform supports powerful user interface configuration. This will ensure that you can customize the product and provide your users the same brand experience that they expect from you.

 

The Way Forward

The publishing industry is continuously evolving and is still coming to terms with the digital and mobile-compatible content. Several publishing companies have spent millions of dollars in building platform that never justified the investment or could deliver the learning outcomes. At this time publishing industry should adopt a Buy vs. Build strategy and partner with technology companies that have built platforms that they can leverage.   

MagicBox is an end-to-end digital publishing platform that enables authors, publishers, to create, sell, manage, and distribute content through the web and mobile apps. MagicBox is a white-labeled platform and publishers can create a beautiful brand experience for their users using MagicBox.

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