This is a very exciting time in publishing because there are so many fantastic tools to help you convey your information to your target audience. There are pros and cons for every variety of publication, and CRM would happy to explore the options with you.
Every variety of eBook listed below requires a workflow (and production cycle) separate from the print production cycle. Pages have to be redesigned to add interactivity, and documents have to have additional structure added to provide the information the software requires to output the functionality you choose.
A one-digital-edition-fits-all model no longer works, so CRM will work with you to determine the best fit based on your goals for the digital edition. Since it is an entirely separate production cycle, CRM has to treat these as independent publications and charge accordingly. Have a conversation with Tim about this, however, because the costs may be defrayed by performance of your print edition.
DPS publications are distributed via Apple, and Adobe has a gallery of DPS Publications with some general screen captures. If you've viewed The New Yorker on an iPad, you've viewed a DPS publication.
CRM was going to offer the complete production and distribution of DPS publications this year, and then Adobe decided to discontinue the Single Edition of DPS publishing by Adobe. As a result, CRM will not be able to handle distribution of a DPS edition. We can, however, provide packaged InDesign native files with interactivity and multiple layouts (h and v) built into them for clients who have a pro or enterprise edition account with Adobe. It would require you to finish the approval process through Apple to distribute your publication via iTunes.
Adobe has suggested that smaller publishers (like CRM) can output fixed-layout ePubs. Because Adobe is driving many publishers to this workflow, they are also actively developing the software to add interactivity. As recently as October 2014 these files began to support limited button functionality and multi-state objects.
For a sample of some of the interactivity available in a Fixed-Layout ePub, please see our Sample Pages. Clicking on the Sample Pages link will download CRM_CG_Sample.epub to your computer or device. If you have iBooks installed on that computer or device, double-clicking on the file should cause iBooks to start up. The book cover will appear in your library and you can open the document. This is considered "side-loading" the document.
In the course of ePub production, CRM would verify the ePub document after the proofing and production were complete, and we would arrange to have the ePub distributed through traditional ePub channels. The process for the approval is automated online (vs. the process for DPS publishing).
In the sample pages there are left and right arrow buttons allowing you to flip through their corresponding multi-state objects to read content. Lists that take up pages in a print edition can be made into their own MSOs (multi-state objects). iBooks provides page arrows for continuing through the document. There is also a Contents list in the upper left to navigate through the document as you would any other ePub.
PDFs come in different flavors, and the interactive PDF can host video, audio, and some other forms of interactivity.
Since the interactivity has to be added into the file apart from the regular print edition, this is not the "free" version of PDF that CRM provides immediately following the print production cycle. The interactive PDF and the fixed-layout ePub share a commonality in that they maintain the look of the print book but add interactivity.
The interactive features of the two versions vary, and their functionality will also vary from device to device. For example, buttons are supported in interactive PDFs but multi-state objects are not. We mention this because if we prepare a file for you to create an ePub and then you change your mind and want an Interactive PDF, the files will have to be reworked.
Different eBooks (that's the general term for all of these editions) have different capabilities as far as interactivity is concerned. Additionally, there are variations in eReaders and software...just because a button works on my iPad in iBooks, doesn't mean it will work in another eReader on another device. Add to that developments in software, hardware and output options, and you've got quite a complicated soup. We will do what we can to make your guide as compatible as possible, but there is no way to guarantee compatibility of all interactive features on all devices...someday maybe, it's an evolving technology.
CRM will be able to add some interactivity (buttons and multi-state objects) from materials within the print edition. However, audio files (MP3 format) and video files (MP4 format) will need to be provided to CRM for inclusion in your digital edition. They are subject to the same copyright laws as text and artwork, so please secure the permission necessary to use the files, and provide CRM with any credits that need to be noted. To keep the file sizes down, links to audio and video can be used instead of the actual file, just be aware that if the file is deleted or moved, the link will be broken.
The free PDF we provide is the most universally readable digital edition of your guide because Acrobat Reader comes on every device. The tricky part of publishing at the moment is with so many file types available, there is no clear path forward (at the moment). Ask us again in 2016, and things might have changed entirely.
A few schools have expressed an interest in having an accessible online guide. The reflowable ePub is the hot ticket if you want to provide your students with a guide friendly to assistive technology reading software.
As its name suggests, the text in this publication can reflow. How is that possible? Most of the design of the book is removed from this edition. Photos crucial to the editorial content can be included but they need to be accompanied by descriptive text for the assistive technology. Graphics like rules, background colors, page color tabs, etc. do not get included in the file.
If you own a Kindle (Kindle actually uses a proprietary file format other than ePub, but the UI is the most widely recognizable) or other eBook reader like iBooks, you are familiar with this type of ePub. The text can be enlarged, the background color can be changed based on the ambient light, but all of that is done by the eReader so the ePub's design has to be overridden. Design is a small sacrifice to make in order to be able to structure the document to be read by assistive technology, or to allow the text simply be enlarged for easier viewing.
It is possible to create a PDF that can be read by Acrobat Reader. It will not necessarily be readable by other assistive technologies. This option does maintain the design of the book.
Whether you choose the Reflowable ePub or the Accessible PDF option for your assistive edition, there are production considerations that need to be addressed when materials are provided to CRM. Everything placed on a page to convey necessary information to the reader needs to have a text equivalent. Please take this into consideration when providing materials to CRM.
Photos and logos need to have Descriptions in their metadata (i.e. "Photo of student interviewing at the Career Center." or "Career Center logo.") Punctuation needs to be added to the description to cue the reader software to pause before continuing the reading. There has to be a period at the end of the Description.
Resume samples present a particular challenge. The reading software will read the text of the resume (if your samples are provided as text), but the layout will be ignored. If you have resumes that are placed as artwork—hi-res JPGs or PDFs with callout boxes highlighting features of the resume, you may want to consider a catch-all text Description like "Visit the Career Center to receive assistance with your resume layout." Please provide CRM with the text of the resume even if you are supplying hi-res JPGs or PDFs for the resumes—we will use the text as your Description. If we do not receive text, we will use the catch-all phrase simply because we don't have the staff/time to type up every resume sample.
Highly designed page content is subject to the same request as resume samples. Please provide text for any pages that are submitted as artwork.
Because a SWF file is Flash technology and not supported by many devices, the development software is not being advanced and in some cases it is being dropped entirely. The SWF editions are also not mobile friendly, and that is one point the industry agrees on—whatever you develop, it should be mobile.
The SWF edition also took additional time to set up for output, and with so many other options available (that support interactive or assistive functions) CRM has decided to concentrate our efforts there.
Our best advice is to prioritize your goals for the eBook version of your guide based on the information we've provided. You can also contact us any time for additional information. We'll make some suggestions based on your goals.
You might also choose to have multiple editions for different audiences.
We want to make it as easy as possible for you!
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