Touch Press: Complexities and Challenges of Creating Rich Digital Books
There are three key metrics that have to come together for digital illustrated, non-fiction titles to truly make the transition online. They are:
How much does it take to produce a given digital book, i.e. its development costs
How many units (or fractions of units since digital copies can break into pieces ala “albums by the song” iTunes) will that digital book sell?
Of all the digital titles being sold, what fraction of them are successful?
The last point is key since publishing can tend to be a hits driven business.
There aren‘t very many organizations doing next generation thinking when it comes to these kinds of titles, IMHO, other than folks like Inkling (my employer), Touch Press, and others. This is why I’ve been fascinated with knowing more about the business and development case behind what Touch Press is doing; I already know they've produced fabulous ebooks/apps, but are they completing the business case for what they are doing with a scalable technical platform?
There's not alot of material on that, but I have found an interesting video from 2011 from the CEO of Touch Press, Max Whitby, going into some of these subjects. Some key quotes.
Those are pretty damn healthy numbers. Another interesting note from Max on The Elements:
Max then talks about the development skills needed for these next generation eBooks; essentially you need to mix together the skills of publishers, authors, software engineers, and media specialists with a background in TV & film:
An interesting note from Max on how digital publishing now allows a small publisher to sell to an international audience:
So can publishers just shovel out sub-standard eBooks and be successful in this new world? Not according to Max:
How about development costs for this new world of content?
So there you go folks, contrary to reports, next generation eBooks can be very lucrative indeed, you just have to care about what you are making, those 5 star reviews don't come easily... but then again books have never been a business for the lazy.