In today’s publishing environment, conversion of backlist titles to ebook format is a smart move. The so-called ‘backlist’ comprises books kept in print because of their popularity over the years. While new titles come with promotion costs and other expenses, backlist book sales don’t need too much of investment and so most of which comes of selling them goes straight to the publishing company’s bottom line. In academia, e-Books have gained wide acceptance and many university presses have moved to make their content available in e-book format.
In academic libraries, eBook go further than circulation issues and revolve around how ebook platforms can meet the research needs of students and faculty. According to a recent report, Princeton University Press (PUP) will be digitizing its backlist in the Princeton Legacy Library, thereby making available 3,000 of its backlist titles as e-books and through print-on-demand. The backlists will be available digitally through Ingram Content Group for libraries and scholarly institutions through leading library aggregators.
According to the report, more than 1,200 titles extending back to 1980 were released when the program was launched in July. PUP aims to release more batches in the next two years, with the goal to make more than 3,000 books available. Digitization of its past publications using the latest technology and techniques will allow researchers and students across the world to access PUP’s historical titles for the first time. The library has also developed a system that automates the design of paperback covers so that it can have a standard look and format.
Issues Associated Converting Backlists
Cost: Cost is the biggest problem associated with the conversion to ePub format. Older books which are not in digital format need to be first scanned and then proofread by a copy editor who is familiar with the original to ensure accuracy. All these processes can prove expensive.
Right to Convert: If the contract between the author and publisher is unclear, then it is difficult to go forward with ebook conversion. Negotiating a new contract can be costly and time consuming.
Finally, authors need to network and let their audience know that their favorite titles are in the market once again.