Right Game, Wrong Ball

I was amazed at the coverage this story received last week. According to numerous outlets, the International Digital Publishing Forum voted overwhelmingly to accept the Open Publication Structure 2.0 eBook specification as an official industry standard.

Ok, so, the question is, does the industry care? I’d like to meet a publishing executive who gets goose-bumps looking at this.

In all seriousness, do publishers really care about file formats? Don’t they care about making money? Isn’t their bottom line the issue that attracts most interest within a publishing house? Now look, I’m as glad as anyone that a group of techies can gather in a room and vote to agree that a .epub file is better than most. I’m sure Adobe loves them too. But I would think book publishers could benefit a whole lot more from industry leadership who helps educate the front liners out there on the merits of forming a sound electronic publishing strategy. A lot of folks are begging to know how to pull real dollars out of electronic publishing. A lot of folks are scared to death to commit big money toward full scale digitization (even though they must). Yes, it pays to know what kind of files to use, but better than that, it pays to know who the customer is, what they like to read, and how much money they’re willing to pay to do so electronically. That’s the kind of insight the industry really needs.

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