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Amazon.com

Converting Print to Digital: New eBooks Fulfill the Potential of an eReader

Digital Content Development
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Publishing

 

Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, entered the eBook market at full throttle when it launched the Kindle, an eReader with a book-like interface and a huge storage capacity. 

Challenge

In 2008, after years of unfulfilled potential, the market for eBooks rapidly gained momentum, and eReader manufacturers raced to amass compatible content. The device manufacturer that could bring titles to market the fastest would capture the largest market share for eBooks—and for the devices themselves.

While it already had a vast repository of best-sellers, general interest books, and classic titles in PDF and other file formats, those files would now have to be converted to the Kindle’s proprietary eBook format. To maintain a steady stream of new titles, it was also securing the rights to additional books, which would need to be reproduced in the Kindle format as well.

How could it bring the Kindle to market and simultaneously—and cost-effectively—get tens of thousands of ink-and-paper books digitized?

Solution

Handling the work in-house was not an option. Amazon had worked with other digital conversion companies in the past, but it wanted to find a new eBook production partner that could handle the project quickly, accurately, and affordably. 

Aptara was referred to Amazon by one of the “Big Six” trade book publishers, and the online giant was impressed with Aptara’s eBook production samples and platform. 

Aptara’s production platform employs a digital-first workflow and can output to print and mobile devices—including eBook readers, tablets, and smart phones—simultaneously. Amazon was convinced that Aptara could handle its enormous volume of titles.

Aptara determined how to process color graphics to display on the Kindle as high-quality black-and-white images and the eBooks themselves were designed to leverage the interactive capabilities of the Kindle.

Working from PDFs, Microsoft Word documents, and application files for InDesign and QuarkXPress, Aptara’s production teams created final outputs for the Kindle: hundreds of thousands of pages for tens of thousands of titles. Amazon’s tight schedules, which included turnarounds as rapid as three days for new best-sellers, were always met.

Result

By producing a critical mass of market-leading titles from some of the world’s largest educational and trade publishers, Aptara helped Amazon meet its ambitious eBook goals for speed, and cost-effectiveness, and its high standards for quality.

Amazon continues to ship titles directly to Aptara for conversion. In addition, publishers seeking to make titles compatible with the Kindle also partner with Aptara to ready their titles for digital distribution.