This is not a book

We believe every word we’ve written here. Especially the short ‘What is a digital book?’ section in the previous chapter. The biggest mistake you can make is thinking of digital projects as books. They are not - from the manner of their reading, the platform on which they’re read, the means of their creation and especially their commissioning and curation. Your business is built on a combination of measured risk, paranoia and pessimism countered with an unhealthy dose of unbridled self-belief and optimism. It has survived for so long because what you manufacture is genuinely valuable and your processes - as laboured and ground-in to your entire business as they are - work toward producing those precious paper and board objects that keep the whole wheel turning.

You have to change those processes if you’re going to work with digital writing. No-one in their right mind believes that the same production process will work in film as for publishing, so why would you try to shepherd a digital project to completion using identical processes as a conventional book? Sales forecasts, costs, returns on investment and justifications all need to be rewritten. Just as we’ve asked writers to know what it is they want from a digital project, we’re asking you too. Why do you want to pivot your business to a new market? So far, you’ve done an admirable job reengineering physical books as digital facsimiles, but the tone of the conversation has to shift, and is shifting toward what the medium is capable of. You are more than intermediaries in the creative process—you enable it and you support and nurture it—we’d like to explain some things though.

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