Books in Browsers Conference 2013

I spoke recently at Books in Browsers, an annual conference for people building the future of the book, and organized by Peter Brantley of hypothesis and Kat Meyer of The Frankfurt Book Fair.

My talk was: “Sausage & Laws, or In the trenches building print books & ebooks using HTML + CSS.” I started with an introduction of some of the things I think are interesting about PressBooks (webby books, open source, the ease of making an API for books), and note that my enthusiasm for these things have not been matched by the market of publishers, authors and readers.

Lucky for us, the core of what we do, single source production of typeset PDFs, EPUBs & MOBIs, is exciting for publishers and authors.

In my talk, I give some examples of the power of a CSS-based approach to designing for print (!), and the kinds of outputs we are doing with PressBooks.

Finally I talk about the struggle to get new, powerful book production technologies to meet certain typographical conventions, for instance, the big sticking point is: bottom-balancing. There are ways around this with tools like PressBooks, but there is a question to be asked, about the value of these conventions going forward. How much we gain from them, and how much they hamper our ability — as an industry, as lovers of the book — to adapt to a new and ever-changing world.

Slide deck

You can find my slide deck below, and a video of my presentation below that.

Sausage & Laws; or, Making P+E books with CSS & HTML from Hugh McGuire

Video

(I start at about ~28mins, before that you can watch John Maxwell & Haig Armen talk about craft, and after that you can watch Richard Nash talk about culture).

Video streaming by Ustream

Comments? Questions? Send me an email at: hugh@pressbooks.com, or ping me on Twitter: @hughmcguire.

Related Posts

A Big, Warm Welcome to Pressbooks’ Newest team members: Carlos, Ho Man, and Başak

It’s time for us to lift the curtain on some major changes here at Pressbooks!  We’ve spent a lot of time over the last month doing some much-needed maintenance across the platform, including theme improvements and changes to the user experience for institutions using single-sign on technology. These past weeks also included important work on

Read More

Introducing: Malala

Take a look at our new textbook theme and try out its coolest feature: interchangeable fonts As some of you may have noticed, we have a tradition here at Pressbooks of naming our book themes after famous authors. We’ve tried to imprint the legacy that these authors and their books have left on literature onto

Read More

Scheduled Maintenance

To boost the performance and security of the Pressbooks.com network, we intend to perform scheduled maintenance on Thursday, Sept. 12 between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Eastern. What to expect. You can expect a short service interruption (1-2 minute downtime expected) at some point during this time frame, which would cut off any long processes like imports/exports.

Read More