Thursday, December 15, 2011

Footnotes, and Styling, and E-books, Oh My!

A while back, I posted that I was launching some internal research into producing typographically-robust books in a manner that would be cost-effective to my customers. It's actually been a lot of fun, as I've worked through the ins-and-outs of developing this workflow.

Anybody can produce an e-book these days. There are free and nearly-free tools out there that make producing an e-book a snap. Producing a quality e-book, on the other hand, is quite another thing. Producing a quality e-book from the same set of files as the full-blown print edition? Holy Grail time, folks.

Here at The McNaughton Group, we've focused upon producing rich, well-designed and typeset printed books in efficient ways that bring the cost down into the realm occupied by vendors of much lower-quality products. We love great typography. Producing a low-quality e-book edition of one of these books is out of the question. Producing a quality e-book edition by running totally separate print and e-book workflows (the way most people do it) is out of the budget for almost every real-world book project. It's a chasm that hasn't been readily crossed - until now.

I'm happy to be able to share that we're in the final testing stages of a workflow that requires the manuscript to be layed out and typeset once, and then exported as full-quality print book on the one hand, and a high-quality e-book on the other, retaining all the rich typography that the e-book platform allows. One electronic layout file, that adapts itself seamlessly to the needs of both media.

How is this good for you and our other clients? The bottom line. You can now afford to get the best of both worlds. You won't have to sacrifice the quality of your print edition to fund the production of an e-book edition. You can have an e-book edition that shares the look-and-feel of your print edition. Future updates and revisions only need to be made to one set of layouts, not twice (and paid for twice) in totally separate workflows. Lower costs. Uncompromized quality. Easier, more-accurate editing.

I told myself that I wouldn't offer e-book production until I could do it this way. That day is here. Starting early next year, I'll be offering full print and e-book design, layout, and production for all our book projects. I hope this will help you in your book projects!