The production launch program offered publishers, Microsoft, and other key industry partners an early opportunity to test the functionality of Microsoft Reader and its conversion and production tools. The book titles made into e-books through the program cover a broad range of subjects, from contemporary fiction to self-help, travel, and other nonfiction books.
“Publishers in our production launch program have been essential to the success of the Microsoft eBook group,” said Jeff Alger, group program manager of e-books at Microsoft. “We have been able to develop production scenarios and a wide range of layout and content requirements that could only have been possible by working with books in print that are now being widely distributed, rather than public domain works that are already available in electronic formats. We want to thank all the launch publishers in the program for their contributions. They have been instrumental in helping us learn about the broad range of issues that arise in bringing paper books into the world of e-books.”
All books available for sale at the launch of the barnesandnoble.com eBookstore will run on Microsoft’s new Reader software. This product showcases ClearType display technology, a Microsoft innovation that reportedly improves the clarity of text displayed on Windows-based PC and Pocket PC devices. According to the announcement, in addition to incorporating ClearType, Microsoft Reader adheres to the traditions and benefits of fine typography by providing an uncluttered display; ample margins; full justification; proper spacing, leading, and kerning; and powerful tools for bookmarking, highlighting, and annotation.
“This is an exciting time to be in publishing. New technologies like Microsoft Reader and the emergence of eBookstores are enabling publishers to reach more readers, and the University Press of Florida is proud to participate in this exciting and groundbreaking program,” said Lynn Werts, associate director for the University Press of Florida.
Other publishers expressed certainty that their current customers will be among the first to adopt the new technology. “AMACOM is pleased to be one of the publishers making its books available electronically through Microsoft’s eBook publisher launch,” said Rosemary Kane Carlough, vice president of intellectual property and Web strategy at the AMACOM Publishing Division of the American Management Association. “In this new century, many of our new customers will be reading chapters and whole books in digital rather than printed form. AMACOM’s goal is to make our books available to customers around the globe in as many formats as possible. Our participation in this program helps us achieve this goal and is critical to our continued growth.”
Other publishers were also enthusiastic about the ability of Microsoft Reader to attract new readers to their titles. “We simply like people reading and enjoying our books and are delighted at the prospect of this exciting new form of the book,” said Peter Cannell, director of Smithsonian Institution Press. “Whatever their interest, we think readers will find something of interest among our many offerings here.”
Some of the other publishers participating in the launch program include Blackwell Publishers, Cambridge University Press, Columbia University Press, IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., The MIT Press, and Yale University Press.
In addition, Microsoft announced an arrangement with Labyrinten Data AB of Sweden and isSound of Ewing, NJ, developers of a technology that will enable text-to-audio synchronization of e-books created for the Microsoft Reader format. This will give publishers the option of including additional information within their e-books to enable synchronized audio narration, and will enable consumers to freely switch between the audio and text versions of an e-book. Text-to-audio synchronization in Microsoft Reader will not be included in the initial release, but is planned for a subsequent version. Likewise, the tools for publishers to implement the new technology into e-book titles are scheduled to be available after the first version of Microsoft Reader is released.
Source: Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA, 425/882-8080; http://www.microsoft.com.
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