There are definite advantages to PDFs, as well as the well documented disadvantages.
From the cottage industry end of the spectrum, where I sit, the main bonuses of epublishing are initial investment and distribution. Acrobat 9 is not a cheap piece of software, but it's something that would be needed to make a book anyway, and I don't have to front up a couple of thousand pounds to print and store loads of books. PDFs mean that I can deliver a product to the other side of the world while I sleep and my customers don't have to wait a week for a package to cross the ocean.
It is important, however, to realise that although the book has an 'e' on the front, it is still a book, and we need to put as much care and attention into its production as if it were bound in cloth. We owe it to our customers to do the best job we can to put across the information - it is the glut of poorly produced ebooks that is poisoning the public's perception of them. Quality will stand out.
Security will always be an issue for epublishers, simply because there is none. I mentioned this in the Wesley James thread a couple of years ago - there is no way to lock down a PDF, and once you realise that it's easier to get on with life. When I was younger I harboured a dream of fencing in the Commonwealth Games. If I hadn't been injured there's a chance I would have mde it, too. Now I realise that it's not going to happen and it doesn't bother me anymore.
PDFs are going to be passed around. The thing is to make it so that it's not worth it to steal. Pricing of secrets is always going to be a contentious issue, but having a lower, impulse price point seems to be better (at least to me). I always think it's better to sell five copies at ten pounds than one copy at forty pounds.
By far the best advantage to PDFs is the ability to embed video content along with the written word. Mike Close pioneered this with Closely Guarded Secrets and took it a stage further with the Work series, which I am now carrying on. It matters not which camp your audience is in - books or video - now you can get the best of both worlds of explaining the routine in the detail of a book and then show what it looks like in real time on a video. Acrobat 9 now converts all embedded video to FLV and the Reader 9 has a built in flash viewer, so you don't even need to bother with codecs or file formats.
(Here's a hint to anyone thinking of going down this route - when you register your copy of 9 Pro, Adobe send you a benfit package. Choose the 30 day sub to Lynda.com and watch their Acrobat training videos. It will cut your learning curve into pieces. I digress)
Finally, make sure that your eBook will look good when it's printed out. There are still people of our generation who will like to read on paper (I'm one of them) and it's always nice to have something to read (I'm finding the Taschen book to be perfect bathroom reading material...)
People may still like tangiable things - Tim, I can look over my shoulder at my bookshelf and see the notes you gave me in Melbourne in 93 - but the world is changing. As long as we produce good quality material and avoid the drek perhaps there's a future in epublishing after all.
Take care, Ian
Last edited by Ian Kendall
on 01/08/10 05:30 AM, edited 0 times in total.
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