Electronic publishing


Electronic publishing (also referred to as e-publishing or digital publishing or online publishing) includes the digital publication of e-books, digital magazines, and the development of digital libraries and catalogues. It also includes an editorial aspect, that consists of editing books, journals or magazines that are mostly destined to be read on a screen (computer, e-reader, tablet, smartphone). 

Electronic publishing is increasingly popular in works of fiction. Electronic publishers are able to respond quickly to changing market demand, because the companies do not have to order printed books and have them delivered. E-publishing is also making a wider range of books available, including books that customers would not find in standard book retailers, due to insufficient demand for a traditional "print run". E-publication is enabling new authors to release books that would be unlikely to be profitable for traditional publishers. While the term "electronic publishing" is primarily used in the 2010s to refer to online and web-based publishers, the term has a history of being used to describe the development of new forms of production, distribution, and user interaction in regard to computer-based production of text and other interactive media.  

In the 1970s, CNRS digitized 1 000 books from diverse subjects, mostly literature but also philosophy and science, from the 1180s to present times, as to build the foundations of a big dictionary, the Tresor de la langue Francaise. This foundation of e-texts, named Frantext, was first published on CD under the name of Discotext, and then published on the web in 1998. The Frantext is always enhanced, and in 2016 they registered 4 516 texts. 

In 1992, the Bibliotheque nationale de France launched a vast digitization program. The president Francois Mitterrand had wanted since 1988 to create a new and innovative digital library, and it was published in 1997 under the name of Gallica. In 2014, the digital library was offering 80 255 online books and over a million documents, including prints and manuscripts. 

Alain Mille, in the book Pratiques de l'edition numerique (edited by Michael E. Sinatra and Marcello Vitali-Rosati), says that the beginnings of Internet and the Web are the very core of electronic publishing, since they pretty much determined the biggest changes in the production and diffusion patterns. Internet has a direct effect on the publishing questions, letting creators and users go further in the traditional process (writer-editor-publishing house). 

Based on new communications practices of the web 2.0 and the new architecture of participation, online edition opens the door to a collaboration of a community to elaborate and improve contents on Internet, while also enriching reading through collective reading practices. The web 2.0 not only links documents together, as did the web 1.0, it also links people together through social media: that's why it's called the Participative (or participatory) Web.  

Distributing content electronically as software applications ("apps") has become popular in the 2010s, due to the rapid consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets. At first, native apps for each mobile platform were required to reach all audiences, but in an effort toward universal device compatibility, attention has turned to using HTML5 to create web apps that can run on any browser and function on many devices. The benefit of electronic publishing comes from using three attributes of digital technology: XML tags to define content, style sheets to define the look of content, and metadata (data about data) to describe the content for search engines, thus helping users to find and locate the content (a common example of metadata is the information about a song's songwriter, composer, genre that is electronically encoded along with most CDs and digital audio files; this metadata makes it easier for music lovers to find the songs they are looking for). With the use of tags, style sheets, and metadata, this enables "reflowable" content that adapts to various reading devices (tablet, smartphone, e-reader, etc.) or electronic delivery methods.