What do you do with your ebook prototypes?

Or any other new electronic product that you're not ready to charge money for?

I’ve given several talks on preparing strategies for the ebook market, and one key point is the value of early prototyping. epub format ebooks are good for this because they’re easy to make and fit well into the increasing use of agile software development practices in the publishing world. (Other formats aren’t very difficult to create either, and as we’ll see, may be worth including in your prototyping efforts.) You can put something together, show it to your management…

Creating epub files

With nothing but free tools.

I’ve discussed the epub eBook format here before when describing how I created some epub children’s books from Project Gutenberg files for the OLPC XO. In another discussion of the format, I once saw someone complain that Adobe’s strong support of it was based on the fact that their tools are the only ones that can create epub files, but this is only true if we add a few qualifications: their tools are the only commercial ones that can create epub files for now.

An Apple eBook reader?

John Markoff of the New York Times analyzes the clues.

John Markoff has been one of the most respected tech journalists for a long, long time, so his Reading Steve Jobs piece this week on potential clues that Apple is working on an eBook reader is worth a read for anyone interested in the eBook market. I don’t have anything to add to what he says, especially when he tells stories like this:

An eBook with free updates, or a bound version from a major publisher?

Ken Holman discusses his successful eight-year experiment with eBooks.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn recently that almost eight years after buying a PDF eBook version of XML pioneer Ken Holman’s book Practical Transformation Using XSLT and XPath, I am now entitled to a free upgrade to the thirteenth edition, which covers XSLT 2.0 and XPath 2.0. While it’s not the first book I’d recommend to an XSLT beginner (keep in mind that I’m biased), it’s an excellent reference work.