By Annabella Costantino, Maria Dorado, Misha Manani and Rowan Groat
Digital publishing refers to the business of publishing materials that can be disseminated and read online. Through the use of advancing technology, digital libraries and catalogues are developed for books, magazines and news outlets. The pandemic has meant publishers have pivoted to digital strategies and online events out of necessity, which will likely continue in the future, too. In fact, for several years now, digital publishing has been growing, and both the publication and consumption of eBooks as well as audiobooks have dramatically increased.
The benefits of digital publishing include: increased accessibility, wider audience reach, easy data/user analysis and a positive environmental impact.
The types of roles exclusively available in digital publishing aren’t dissimilar to those in print publishing with editorial, design and marketing teams. Some specific jobs include:
eBook Coordinator: Responsible for monitoring eBook publishing schedules and deliveries, managing eBook corrections, conversions and running quality checks. For this role, you need to be an effective communicator and be able to prioritise well.
Digital Publishing Executive: Oversees the eBook teams to make sure they meet deadlines, leads team meetings and manages the digital publishing processes. You will work with various departments from production to pperations. Knowledge of metadata, eBook files and bibliographic systems would be useful.
IT Skills: This is essential for any entry-level publishing role but knowing about software and hardware will be beneficial.
Coding: A key skill to have as part of a digital publishing strategy, specifically when dealing with eBooks. Though it may seem very daunting at first with various coding languages, there are options out there if you would like to teach yourself the basics. Have a look at Codecademy or Free Code Camp if you are interested!
Adobe InDesign: A text design tool used by magazines and newspapers, this is an important software to master. It allows you to design page layout, make interactive documents and more. There are plenty of tutorials for different skill levels on YouTube and Adobe’s website.
Adobe XD: A programme that allows you to create visual designs for apps, by using a prototype model. This software doesn’t require a Creative Cloud subscription and is free to download, so why not give it a try?
Bonus Tip: If you’re looking for an online event to attend, Book Machine Unplugged 2021 is hosting Talking Tech on the 12th of May. Only £5 to register, it may be just what every aspiring coder needs.
Zines: Self-published magazines exploring a variety of topics including literature, art and music. They’re put together by one individual or a small team outside of publishing houses. While typically associated with print versions, there are plenty of online zines available to contribute to or consume.
Audiobooks: Although not a new concept, they have become more popular over the last few years. The accessibility of audiobooks will no doubt contribute to their growing presence in the industry. They’re also useful for those who don’t have the time or inclination to read.
Podcasts: They have been increasing in popularity for many years now and there are many that cover the publishing industry. To get you started, we’d recommend: Flavia Marcocci’s Publishing Insight, Emma Ronan’s The Slumbering Slothcast, Suzanne Collier’s Book Careers and The InPublishing Podcast!
Bookouture: A digital imprint that is setting the pace for others in the UK publishing industry. Check out their website to find out more about what they do.
In Publishing: A digital newsletter that provides weekly insights into the publishing industry and news. Sign up on their website now or even register for their print magazine.
The Bookseller: This is a general resource that covers industry updates, as well as these tips on how to get a job in digital publishing. It includes which skills to prioritise, as well as the importance of knowing the difference between fixed-layout and reflowable eBooks.
Consonance: A growing technology company that works with publishers to optimise their workflow and business strategies, which are both vital for the digital publishing sphere. If this interests you, this webinar and blog post from last year go into more detail.
Book Machine: A resource of events, courses and more, they will help you become knowledgeable in your industry interests. When it comes to digital publishing, they have online content that covers coding advice with Anna Cunnane (follow her on Twitter for more digital publishing updates), as well as why publishing people make great coders and an interview with Sara O’Connor, on the benefits of coding.
Thanks for reading our upskilling feature on digital publishing strategy. Join us again for our next issue, where we will be covering upskilling tips for literary agents!