Wiki Pages > Online Publishing

General Overview

Online publishing is the publication of material using only digital formats. Materials that commonly use online publishing are e-books, electronic articles, magazines, and newspapers. Online publishing can also entail maintaining and expanding digital libraries and databases. This way of publication has gained popularity as the number of people using computers, tablet reading devices and mobile devices has greatly increased in the past decade. Content from an online publication is normally distributed in the form of a website, a mobile app or a PDF file. Most content delivered from online publishing must be adaptable for viewing on different devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Online publishing has a standard file format called ePub. ePub was developed by the non-profit standards organization International Digital Publishing Forum and is an XML based format. This format specializes in allowing published material to be viewed on numerous devices with ease, known as reflowable content. Reflowable content adjusts to screen size making it fit on small devices, like a mobile phone, or larger devices like a computer screen. Though it can display reflowable content ePub can also be used to publish fixed layout publications. Fixed layout publications are not reflowable and have a rigid structure, such as a comic book. ePub uses both XML and XHTML which makes it compatible with most of today’s software. This is one of the reasons why major e-book reading devices like the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Apple iPad all support ePub files. All ePub files have the extension .epub. and come in the form of zip files which keeps all the content organized and in one place.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Publishing

There are many pros and cons to online publishing. The costs are significantly lower than print. The most expensive aspect of online publishing is online access codes. On the other hand, it is difficult to profit online since most publications are offered for free. Another difficulty that online publications face is marketing. In order to market an online publication the piece must be registered with as many search engines as possible, which can be a costly process. Additionally, online publications require constant upkeep. For example, it is necessary to make sure that the links are not broken. Many authors are afraid because plagiarism is so easy on the Internet. Similarly, copyright issues typically arise during online publication.

There is no doubt that online publishing is revolutionizing the book industry. In the past few years the eBook industry has tripled its figures. Although this incredible growth has recently slowed, eBooks are not going anywhere. There are many websites, for example lulu.com, where authors can publish their own work online. These self-publishing websites are transforming the typical path for authors because getting a contract with a publishing house is no longer a necessity. For consumers, eBooks can be purchased or downloaded on your computer, iPad or tablet. There are many apps that can be downloaded on Apple products and tablets.

In 2011, the eBook industry doubled to over 2 billion across all four major branches of publishing: trade, K-12, higher education, and professional and scholarly publishing. It has continued to grow since then. Although this growth is huge, it has not had a profound impact on the publishing industry. It will be interesting to see how this will change if the eBook industry continues to grow. It could completely change the publishing world.

eBooks have had a surprising effect on short stories. The internet and tablets have increased the sales of this form of literature. Already in 2013 there has been a surge in the online publication and sales of short stories. This trend has been on the rise for the past five years, and it is estimated that it will reach an all time high this year. The shorter format makes it easier for consumers to read stories on small screens. It is less intimidating than reading an entire novel on an iPhone or tablet. Amazon created its Kindle Singles program specifically for publishing short stories. This unexpected effect of technology and eBooks is extremely interesting.

New Technology

The invention of the iPad, nook, and kindle, as well as the transformation of cell phones into smartphones has created a new market for applications accessible on these devices. These device-specific applications are called apps. Apps can be created by almost any person, program, software, or company and are available to anyone that has access to a smart device.

The smaller displays and varying speeds of different service carriers calls for apps that are stable and reliable, when a signal or internet speed is perhaps not. This means less information per page to decrease loading time and a simplified layout for the smaller display. Apps are meant to communicate information quickly, clearly, and conveniently. Maintaining the same page display as would appear on a Mac or PC can make the app less user-friendly, and less effective. This is the reason many successful apps that also have a webpage use a different format to display information for both. Often the “app” version is a more intimate and interactive version of the website. Apps can assist a user in executing a number of tasks, or can be enjoyed as pure entertainment.

All applications claim to have an appeal based on convenience or innovation. For example, many banks have apps for users to do banking on the go. Apps such as “Instagram”, “Pinterest”, and “Twitter” have revolutionized instantaneous blogging and information sharing. Apps such as “Snapchat” claim to offer an elevated level of privacy. “Maps”, “Email”, “Google” and “Bing” are examples of apps that allow users to keep a finger on the pulse of daily tasks for both work and play. The utility of an app is essential to the design. For example, a banking app would be simple and uncluttered, while Instagram or "Google Maps" would be more colorful and finite to execute their purpose and brand.

The strategy of fortifying strong applications is based on projecting a strong brand while providing stable usability, as well as maintaining the unified crispness of mobile device applications. If you are looking to create your own app, experts suggest browsing the “App Store” and absorbing an impression of the apps already existing, to gain insight into functionality and unified crisp usability, as well as find the inspiration to make your app different from any other.

Begin with your ideas, and build on them on paper. Sketch and revise, considering the medium and the accelerated capabilities of “smart” devices such as touch screen, seamless scrolling, and “sharing” on social networks. A successful app’s every screen looks precise and institutional, and incorporates innovation and interaction with users into its design and content. Consider these aspects, and map out the various screens of your app. Strive to make each screen as accessible and convenient as possible, while also aesthetically pleasing to your brand.

After mapping the experience of your app out on paper, register to be an “App developer”. This does not necessarily mean programmer, only that you are the publisher of your application. This can be done with any of the 3 smartphone device carriers: Apple iOS, Andriod, and Blackberry. The prices and protocol for registration are below.

  • Apple iOS: $99/year, acceptance of “terms of service”
  • Android: $25/year, acceptance of “terms”
  • BlackBerry: must have a BlackBerry World App Vendor Agreement in place with RIM (BlackBerry’s creator), $200 fee for every 10 apps published

Guidelines and codes of conduct must also be respected in addition to these requirements to publish an app. Apps in violation of any rules or codes will be rejected by the host (Apple/Android/BlackBerry) and your app will not be published. Experts suggest app-building and publishing in pursuit of a profit with Apple iOS, simply because users of Apple products have been deemed more likely to spend money on apps for their devices, making any monetary success most plausible under Apple iOS.

When it is time to create your app, choosing a platform is key. Creativebloq.com has a variety of tutorials for all platforms (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.), as well as videos full of inspiration. Websites like theappbuilder.com and appsbar.com can help get you started with free layouts, help you focus your ideas to a specific genre, and your app to a specific functionality, as well as publish your app to the App Store of your platform(s) of choice. If you are looking to make a financial investment in your app, some programs offer updates and advanced tools for a fair price. Resources used in compiling these instructions, as well as additional helpful links are listed below.