By Kristy Hesom  

Often, when thinking about publishing, people only think about popular fiction. But there is so much more to publishing than Fifty Shades of Grey or Harry Potter

Trade publishing

In trade publishing, there are various ways that electronic publishing is changing the game. From eliminating geographical borders, to bringing life to classics, electronic publishing can only benefit the reader.

Clare-Rose Julius, general manager at Porcupine Press says; “electronic publishing is transforming the accessibility of printed books, and it also creates new audiences” by making them available across the globe. For example, if you previously wanted a book on Nigerian poetry, you might seriously struggle to find a physical copy, but with electronic publishing, it is possible to access an eBook from anywhere in the world, by anyone in the world.  

Not only has where you access books from changed, but the books themselves are changing. When reading on an eReader, you are able to access more than just the text. International publishers, Penguin, have a section dedicated to classic eBooks. The site describes them as; “The enriched format invites readers to go beyond the pages of these beloved works and gain more insight into the life and times of an author and the period in which the book was originally written—it’s a rich reading experience.”

Think Pride and Prejudice with tips on etiquette and dancing, how to prepare tea, sites to visit, as well as further reading you can do. 

Educational publishing

Educational publishing also benefits from e-publishing in the sense that external content can be added to eBooks, as well as book programmes for teachers.  

“Electronic publishing offers publishers the opportunity to enhance their materials with additional content, such as hyperlinks, embedded videos and interactive assets”, says Micheal Goodman, group content manager at Via Afrika, which is highly beneficial in a learning environment. This means that teachers and students can have quick access to external content, such as quizzes and interactive eBooks. 

Scholastic's Storia School Edition is a program that offers teachers access to over 2000 eBook titles for school children. The program also allows teachers to track and assign what students are reading, as well as having access to categorised content, and to create their own collections.   

With digital advances in electronic publishing, teachers are even able to enrich the content themselves. In an article written for The Digital Shift, Sarah Bayliss writes about Curriculet, which gives teachers access to tools that enable them to “embed the eBooks with quizzes, questions, and videos; add scaffolding material including Web links and annotations”. When a teacher is able to do this, they have a fully customisable teaching plan tailor fit to their class. 

Academic and scholarly publishing

While academic textbooks can be enriched in the same way that trade and educational books, Liam Borgstrom, junior lecturer in Publishing Studies at the University of Pretoria, believes that the scholarly sector (publishing by academics for academics) is more influenced by e-publishing than the academic sector itself.

He explains; “In the scholarly sector, large publishers manage databases; libraries of [electronic] material which is accessible from anywhere on the planet,” and this has a major influence on the scholarly sector, as scholars don’t have to visit limited physical libraries to have access to a wide variety of information. This benefits the research world on a bigger level, with researchers having access to information from across the globe, which can greatly affect their research outcomes. 

Do you work in the publishing industry? What are your thoughts on the world of e-publishing? Tell us below.