When I visited the New Delhi World Book Fair last year, I came back with a whiff of e-books and wrote about Qbend (www.qbend.com) that helps e-book publishers set up webstores and sell their publications. This year, the digital book and knowledge revolution has caught on even more. There were a number of stalls advertising products and services that showed a quick maturing of the industry.
There were, of course, stalls for audio book firm Reado (www.reado.com), e-magazine application maker Magzter (www.magzter) and online book stores like Flipkart. But what I saw beyond is an ecosystem to make e-book publishing easier and easier.
Helped by industry standards like ePub and Adobe's Flash and PDF files, IT and e-commerce service firms are moving into make e-publishing easy for both established publishers and self-publishing authors alike. They are obviously aided by the explosion in the sale of tablet devices that are widening the customer base.
Such service providers serve as one-stop shops for publishers and authors to convert their books into various formats that go with a variety of devices such as Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPads and an array of Android devices.
For example, V-Prompt (www.vprompt.com) helps convert source materials to formats such as the OeB (Open eBook format), besides ePub, Mobi and PoD (print on demand).
Another firm Intec (www.inteconline.com) offers pre-press services in addition to e-book and convent conversion. The Jouve group (www.jouve.com), a France-based firm, is now a multinational in this space and provides publishing solutions to design, enhance and distribute content.
There are Indian companies like Ahmedabad-based Infibeam (www.infibeam), which apart from being an online store, provides publishers facilities to create e-books. Noida-based Magic Software (www.magicsw.com) offers online distribution and other services that help publishers make their content ready for Apple and Google Stores.
Collectively, such companies are setting up a brave new world of reading in the Digital Age.