Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Fact Checked Time Travel

OhmyNews have published my second story about the London Book Fair. The first one was about EPUB and the Sony Reader and reported what was said. The second one was about the Blackwell shop on Charing Cross Road where an Espresso bookmachine is now in fulltime operation. My story claimed that this has put digital printing on the Book Fair agenda. I could have mentioned that print companies are usually at the Fair somewhere and digital print has been around for a while. Also Books on Demand have already supported several Espresso sites in other countries. But this is the first one in the UK and it had a good spot in the show, on the route between the two halls.

Where I went a little bit off the evidence was in writing about Total Print Expo just because it will be in the same space a few months later or earlier. I showed some relevance by linking to Andy Tribute in Printweek. Book production is now a possibility for digital printing on some sort of scale. I have started to imagine several trade shows happening at once. How to write this up is not obvious as the OhmyNews editors do check up. It sometimes takes a while to write a story and they need to know how late it is. Fortunately there is Northprint in the same week as the Book Fair so you can imagine Southprint as much the same. Except that there is no Southprint, just Total Print Expo which was previously Digital Print World.

What is interesting is that Heidelberg decided not to pay for a stand at Northprint. They will concentrate on drupa and to a lesser extent IPEX. Total Print Expo is intended to show how litho can still compete for short runs. I did work into my Blackwell story that Heidelberg demonstrated Anicolor in 2008. So I could do a draft story mostly about books around the time of Total Print Expo. At the moment it is unclear if Heidelberg will be there but some sort of web link should be possible.

By the way, a video edit would not be a problem. Total Print Expo is in the part of Earl's Court 2 not used by the Book Fair and then another part as well but the overlap could be for the Sony Reader etc and associated software. From InDesign to EPUB is premedia arguably. Picture shows part of Earl's Court 2 during London book Fair.

Of course the big benefit of moving enough shows together to fill the ground floor at Earl's Court is the access to the seminar rooms upstairs. The Futures Conference organised by the London College of Communications is excellent in most respects except for the walk from Earl's Court 2 to the front of Earl's Court 1 and then back again to the Cromwell Room. An escalator from Total Print World would be most welcome.

OhmyNews have an approach to reporting the Web based on years of experience of broadband. I think they are still three or four years ahead of the UK. So which month it is matters not a lot. I try to report on UK trade shows as it relates to other stories on OhmyNews. So I may try more time travel around shows such as Online Information, BETT and Learning Technology. The idea of the book is still central to the perception of knowledge and information. EPUB is essentially XHTML, better standardised than most Web pages. If loaded onto a mobile device this shows some editorial judgement so deserves some authority. A paperback looks much the same printed as a single copy at a Blackwell bookshop or in the mail from Amazon. A digital press may be close to the warehouse, most people may not know. So what to make of the distinctions between trade and academic publishing, modes one and two knowledge, disciplines and practice? All of this is run together briefly here but I think the technology of book production eventually has a consequence for how knowledge is organised. The Sony Reader is mostly in the High Street branches of Waterstones, not the campus. It is the trade publishers pushing EPUB. Blackwell start single copy printing on Charing Cross Road. So a question at Online Information would be to ask how is journal publishing coping? Scribd had a stand at the Fair but was mentioned in the context of copyright problems. Apparently academics can now publish versions of papers online for a limited audience but publishers have concerns with something like Scribd where the search engines are organised to find stuff and it is easy to read, comment, connect with groups etc. I am looking for direct quotes on this but the previous sentence is roughly what I understand as a concern. The Open Access approach has so far been limited to Science, Medicine and Technology where there is a budget. Social Science and Humanities are still restricted, also likely to have longer time periods of exclusivity as the journals publish less often. My own interest is in business issues where I think a lot of academic writing is now cut off from a Web discussion that remains viable nonetheless.

At BETT there was a Sony stand but the publishers I spoke to in 2008 had limited plans for suitable content. Rights Management is still an issue and they seemed to prefer packages for libraries and organisations. The content is well produced but by January 2009 there could be more stuff available for Stanza on the iPhone or other similar combinations of software and device. How will students regard these various sources of information?

Learning Technologies has an interest in how social networking works online. They are not far behind BETT in technology and have a few weeks to catch up anyway. Although held in different parts of Olympia there is no announced plan to combine them, although it wouild make sense to me.

Why not take "the learning organisation" as a test topic to check out what is avilable online for free, what is of value from a bookshop or journal in a library, what has been shifted from online to bound paper? And what effect this has on how people relate to knowledge? Drafts to be revised on what turns up at Learning Technologies.

I have spent more time recently on Twinity, a virtual Berlin. You can also have an apartment anywhere, such as Earl's Court. This helps to imagine shifts in time. Shifts in place are real of course, you can teleport quite quickly to the Berlin Sony Centre. With this experience I may come up with more time traval stories that make sense for editors. Blog versions may be revised later for OhmyNews.

This post took longer than usual to write, checking email meanwhile it turns out that Stanza has been bought by Amazon. I don't think they will drop support for EPUB. It would take someone else a few weeks to write an alternative. The closed world of the Kindle has to pay the phone bill somehow. Stanza is on another model so may stay fairly open. More later. The news reached me in a daily post from The Bookseller, available free.

The Espresso as shown at the London Book Fair contained a unit with a Konica Minolta badge. Photos enlarged from details.

Extract from recent press release-

Konica Minolta, Clare Revell, Head of Production Print: "Northprint exceeded our expectations, many of the printers that attended were seriously considering investing in digital kit and we had a number of new products and applications to share with them."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sony Reader at London Book Fair

OhmyNews have published my story on this.

Also several videos on YouTube, tagged epub@lbf

More later, show continues.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

ODPS , more later

Found this through email and it seems entirely sensible as a way to find ePUB. I hope to find out more at the London Book Fair.

If it works as suggested and enough publishers get involved it may quite quickly demonstrate how XML workflows can flourish online. Print could do the same with JDF and may need to compare for speed and flexibility as a publishing option.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Notes for slides, LCC 2009

I have done a draft set of slides for the LCC Futures Conference 2009. Not sure there will be time for me to present at length or at all but there are now four stories on the OhmyNews Archive.

Print Morphs Into Communication 2005

Adobe Skews Away From Print 2006

London College Mixes Communication and Print 2007

LCC Conference Considers the Inevitability of the E-Book 2008

The idea that the name has changed from Print to Communication makes more sense over time and cannot be the basis for another news story.

Last year the editors switched the headlines so that eBooks were the main point although the photos were mostly about Heidelberg and litho for short runs.

Not sure if Heidelberg will be there. See post in IPEX blog.

The Total Print EXpo is about print obviously, but eBooks will be a topic also.