Wednesday, July 20, 2011

21st Century Digital Boy

You might have heard that we recently conducted an informal poll of sorts to determine whether or not our fans wanted to see a digital edition of The Ephemeris. The response was near unanimous- "Keep the print edition, but produce a digital edition for the folks that can't be bothered to read a real book." So we took the advice and ran with it.

However, there's good news and bad news. The good news is for folks that want to read their digital copy on a laptop, desktop or smartphone. The .pdf edition of The Snuff Taker's Ephemeris looks great! It's the next best thing to owning the printed edition. It will be offered for sale side-by-side with our print edition when Volume Three launches, which is still weeks away.

The bad news is for folks that wanted to see The Ephemeris in an ebook format. It's simply not going to happen anytime soon. The reasons are plenty. Mainly it's because the technology just isn't suited for our magazine.

E-readers: no longer "just for douchebags".

See, we tried to produce a .mobi and .epub version in-house, but it just wasn't happening. Those two standards simply don't mesh with our style. We use several proprietary fonts and some special formatting, which are completely impossible to reproduce in mobi/epub. So we decided to send Volume 1 and 2 to some professionals to sort out.

Volume One was sent to Conversion House A in California, Volume Two was sent to Conversion House B in Michigan. Conversion House A didn't even bother trying to convert it. The guy on the phone told me that it would be impossible to duplicate in an ebook format. Then he tried to charge me 62.00 for the "consultation". I lol'd in my pants.

Converter B was much more professional in their demeanor. The lady there sent me a couple of translated pages and told me that it was the best they could come up with. I didn't even recognize it, it was so different. All of the font, layout, formatting, etc was changed and it looked atrocious. Most of our photographs and captions had to be dropped. All of the color has to be converted to greyscale. And to top it off, the page-by-page cost of conversion was more than I paid to have it printed!

The lady on the phone could tell I wasn't impressed with the end result, and she was very honest in her assessment. "Magazines and comics simply don't work on e-readers. The technology isn't there yet, and until they make one that can read .pdf files in full color, they're never going to be more than a niche product." You got that right.

This looks like GARBAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, we tried very hard to accommodate the gaggle of Kindle and Nook people that wanted to be able to read the STE on their e-readers, but it just isn't possible at this time. There's no way we can sink a small fortune into producing a truncated, bastardized and watered-down ebook edition after we've spent so much time and effort into making a deluxe, quality product. It would be a sin.  

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