Interactive Ebooks and Self-Publishing Make Waves at BEA

Jun 06, 2012

Article ImageIt was unseasonably chilly on Tuesday as BEA opened its doors, but inside the Javits Center the floor was as hot as ever. Digital and self-publishing options seemed to be everywhere (Amazon Kindle Direct, Kobo Writing Life, and BookBaby to name a few) and I noticed more booths for reading glasses than in previous years. Or maybe the fact that I really need to get a pair was just making me notice them more.

Publishing solutions for both business and individuals were big this year. Digital and self-publishing solutions seem to be working together. There were also several companies aimed at helping authors become more media savvy and even camera-ready.

It was also clear that interactivity is becoming more widespread in the ebook industry. I had the chance to check out OverDrive's HTML5 reader app, OverDrive Read, for its library clients' material, which allows the reader to integrate what they're reading into their social networks.The company unveiled the reader at BEA. and it allows just about anyone with a web browser to read OverDrive ebooks.

Kobo's Author Notes was very exciting as well. An author can add notes to the digital margins of the text, which the reader can access through a small icon. It's similar to a DVD commentary except that the readers can comment on the comments creating a dialogue between author and reader within the pages of the book itself. (The feature can also be turned off if the reader finds it intrusive.) Kobo also unveiled Writing Life, a "one-stop, do-it-yourself publishing portal" that promises a very easy, and speedy, conversion to an open-source format for DIY authors.

Higher education and academic publishing are also moving into a digital direction but in different ways-I'll write more in depth at that later. For now, it's off to soak my feet and prepare for tomorrow.