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Digital Transitions

A few of John's books.

A few of John’s books.

Most outdoors books and journals were published before the digital age. Deciding to digitize a previously published “dead tree” book can be risky for authors. How much time should we invest in scanning those printed pages, replacing old black-and-white photos with color, and updating information? Is there enough of an audience to justify the effort? But if it was a great book in its day, why wouldn’t it be just as popular in the digital age with a world-wide readership?

Here’s the John Harlin Media solution:

Born Digital: These books were created digitally right from the get-go. They were designed to be downloaded. Some of these books will be nothing but words, some will be rich with color photos, others will feature state-of-the art interactive content.

Digital 1.0: Once upon a time, these books were trees in a forest. More recently, their paper pages were scanned to create a digital facsimile that will download to your computer, tablet, or e-reader. This born-again Digital 1.0 version is minimally changed from its paper parent. There are bookmarks for quick and easy navigation on your e-reading device. There may be some hyperlinks or a few additional pages–perhaps a short new preface from the author. But that’s about it.

Our Digital 1.0 editions will typically include a coupon for a heavily discounted Digital 2.0 version. This doesn’t guarantee there will ever be a D2.0 version, as that’s up to each author. But your purchase of the D1.0 edition will get you a reduced-price “upgrade” if and when it’s released. It will also encourage the author to do the work.

Digital 2.0: If a D1.0 edition proves popular, some authors will update and upgrade their original work into an entirely rejuvenated D2.0 edition. There’s no limit to potential creative enhancements, including replacing black-and-white photos with color, updating text (especially for guidebooks), adding chapters, and embedding slideshows, videos, and zoomable maps. Some authors will skip the D1.0 version and go straight to the full deal.

Formats: Depending on the book, you’ll have various options on how to read it.

A straight re-“print” of a paper book will be in PDF format. These can be read on nearly any device, including most specialized e-readers (we’ll show you how to “sideload” them). They’re great on tablets and computers, but since they’re “fixed format,” the text won’t “reflow” for easy reading on cell phones or other small devices–you’ll have to zoom in.

For easy reading on hand-held devices, most of our books will also be available in ePUB format. ePUB is the worldwide standard for “reflowable” type, meaning that it adapts to any-sized digital reader. We’ll also offer specialized variations for devices with proprietary standards, like the Kindle.

Some of our books will be heavily visual “iPad only” editions that may include fancy slideshows and embedded videos. For these we’ll have to send you to Apple’s iBookstore to complete the purchase. Likely in the next years there will be non-Apple variations on this theme.

And then there’s the paper format. That’s not what we’re about, but we make a few exceptions as long as there’s also a digital edition to go with it.

Some of our authors will have a stash of their original printed books and be willing to sell them signed or inscribed. These autographed books will be mailed directly from the author’s home and are probably only available in limited quantity.

Soon we’ll offer select titles with print-on-demand (POD) options. Stay tuned.

And finally, for books from other publishers who already sell paper editions of their ebooks, we’ll offer you the option to buy it along with the digital copy.

Digital Rights Management: DRM is a hot and sometimes heated topic in e-publishing. Naturally, authors and publishers don’t want to get ripped off. But the stricter the controls a publisher or vendor applies, the more of a pain it is for the user–sometimes preventing you from reading your book on multiple devices, let alone loaning it to a friend. While sometimes an author or a publisher will insist on stricter controls, the standard policy at John Harlin Media will be to password-protect the file and nothing more. This means you’ll need to enter a very simple password to open the file, but you’ll be able to read it on anything and even loan or give it to a friend. We’ll trust you to do the honorable thing and not duplicate it for wide circulation. We’re sure you understand that an author deserves to be paid for his work, just as you are for yours.

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