by Joseph T. Sinclair
Adobe has announced that it will no longer provide its Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) final rendering to individual Creative Cloud (CC) subscribers. DPS enables authors and small publishers to make book apps easily and inexpensively. Now to get a DPS publication rendered into an app you need to get an Enterprise CC subscription for which there is only custom pricing (contact Adobe for a quote). Hint: any time you need to contact a software company for a quote, you’re probably talking big bucks.
I have to say that I thought Adobe was dedicated to promoting digital publishing at all levels. Adobe’s desertion of authors and small publishers in regard to DSP apps comes as something of a shock. But it’s a lesson best learned early in the game. You can’t count on one company to provide what you need. You put yourself in a position to get screwed. You need to diversify.
The worry was that Adobe might eventually raise the price of CC for individuals to a level that made the cost unreasonable. And that seems even more likely now. But the idea that Adobe might restrict the authoring system never occurred to me. For those like me who want to make book apps it’s back to square one.
The primary reason to use CC now is the capability to create fixed-layout EPUBs. You can create regular EPUBs with a variety of authoring software and conversion software. You don’t need CC. Soon you will be able to create EBUB 3 and fixed-layout EPUBs with a variety of authoring software. You won’t need CC. You do need CC (InDesign) for print, but print is a dead-end and certainly not a long-term reason to commit your publishing efforts to CC.
That brings up another potential problem: Amazon. Amazon owns the ebook market. So far Amazon has been financially reasonable for authors. But it seems likely that someday Amazon will put the financial squeeze on authors just as it has on major publishers. Which brings up the question, why commit to Amazon? Why commit to ebooks? The answer is, don’t. Create book apps instead. You can sell book apps on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Apps where there’s competition between sellers to keep costs under control (i.e., royalties high). And book apps enable more robust diverse media for digital publishing.
The lesson to be learned is not to be beholden to one software company, one bookseller, or one digital publishing platform. Diversify. Be nimble, flexible, and wary. Avoid authoring systems that provide a complete “solution.” And don’t put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak.
Digital technology has a way of leveling the playing field. So even when a company leaves small-time businesses high and dry to cater to the corporate market, it won’t be the end of the world.
For starters, take a look at Monaca (http://monaca.mobi/en/). It’s not for the faint-hearted. But it’s based on HTML5, provides robust diverse media capability, is cross-platform, and you don’t have to be a programmer to make book apps. Use it with your favorite webpage authoring software. Like any other authoring system, once you’ve created a template, you can use it forever for easy publishing; and the cost is reasonable.
The author of this article, Joseph T. Sinclair, is the author of twenty How To books published by national publishers.
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©2014 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.