World Book, Inc., a long-established educational publishing firm (responsible for home/office bookshelf staples such as the World Book Encyclopedia (now the World Book Encyclopedia Online)) is taking a cue from some other big players across the publishing community and recently announced that it will launch its first subscription-based e-book platform, World Book eBooks, this fall. As its name (unintentionally) implies, this new platform will be globally accessible to subscribers using any internet-ready device thanks to World Book, Inc.’s decision to have all content support the EPUB3 standard (global distribution format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum). Content published on this new platform will consist of e-book versions of existing titles from several series in the World Book, Inc., library, and includes an online viewer (rather than digital reprints) of these books that was developed through researching the primary needs of students, teachers, librarians, and other key audiences who would be using the digital publications. According to a Digital Book World (DBW) press release posted to the DBW website today, the “collection includes beautifully illustrated, engaging titles that contain such multimedia features as videos, audio, and games.”
This announcement is one of the first of many like it that the publishing community will see over the next few years. Based on the boom in e-book usage in just the past few years, it should come as no surprise that large and long-established publishers are trying to get into the e-book market without totally scrapping their current publishing business model by offering revamped or digital reprint versions of their current libraries on a subscription basis. This seems to ring especially true for educational publishers, who are more likely to find large subscriber groups such as libraries and schools to support this delivery model. Although this e-book platform is not available yet, so a review of its capabilities is not yet possible, educational texts have a lot to offer the consumer in an e-book format, such as more streamlined access to content, less of a load for students to carry (literally), ever-advancing digital imaging possibilities, etc., and I expect World Book, Inc. will capitalize on that.
DigitalBookWorld.com (September 17, 2013), “Educational Ebook Publisher World Book Goes Direct to Consumer With New Platform”