Magazine article Insight on the News

E-Reading

Magazine article Insight on the News

E-Reading

Article excerpt

A digital publisher offers advice to `e-novelists' and their potential readers.

Speed is increasingly of the essence among today's bookreading public. The two biggest developing trends are print-your-own books, also known as print on demand (POD), and "e-books," or books on minicomputers such as the Palm Pilot. By 2005, an estimated 28 million people are expected to have bought the kind of minicomputers needed to read e-books. Insight recently spoke with Ed Marino, president and chief executive officer of Lightning Source, a digital publisher from La Vergne, Tenn., that handles both POD and e-books.

Insight: Say I'm an author and send my out-of-print manuscript to a publishing service such as Xlibris and they print it through your company. What happens next?

Ed Marino: If you've got a manuscript, they'll take that and work with you to put it in sort of the form of a master, finished form. Then they will give that digital file to us, and we'll feed it through our system, which goes through a conversion process to make it printable, and we'll hold it there. When someone orders one of these books, we print it -- literally, one copy. And our cost for doing it would probably be about $4.50.

Insight: That sounds simple and easy.

EM: So now you've gotten the book published. We then take it and we put it in a larger database of books that go out to all the retailers, including the Amazon.coms of this world. So, if someone is specifically looking for books on cats or poetry or whatever, their search engines on the Internet will turn up that book with all the annotations and all the graphic information and everything else. So your book would be in Amazon's catalog.

Insight: There are a lot of people who have book manuscripts they'd love to publish. Are you saying this is a cheap way to get esoteric information in print?

EM: People will be able to get content into the hands of consumers that just never would have seen the light of day. The kind of author you would find in our library works in the academic press or produces fairly esoteric titles that might have interest for, say, Civil War buffs.

Now, because we've got the book in a digital library, there are a number of things that you could do with that book that you couldn't do if it were just in physical form. …

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