Assembling a codex of e-publishing frustrations

Dear Publishers and Authors:

What can you not do with current e-publishing tools and technologies that is driving you nuts? You’ve been working for a while with HTML, CSS, EPUB and other file formats. You’ve invested in the latest versions of Acrobat, Word, InDesign, Photoshop and their ilk. You’ve converted novels and text books into electronic format, and you’ve even taken a stab at converting coffee-table books. So I know you’ve reached your frustration limit on at least one project.

And I’d like to know where those limits are.

Specifically, I’d like to know exactly what kinds of things you’ve tried to do with existing e-publishing projects that you have failed to accomplish, or where you have been forced to accept less than your ideal solution.

My reason for wanting to collect this list of such frustrated ambitions is that I’m trying to create a list of wants, and then I’m going to explore (and invite other technologists to help me explore) ways to make those ambitions happen. Within existing technologies.

This will not be possible for all of them. Perhaps not even for most of them. But I am certain that some of the things you’ve wanted to do are indeed possible in today’s technologies. And as we develop techniques for achieving them, I’m going to build a reference base that others can use to learn from.

If we’re successful, we will also be able to index the currently undoable things, and we’ll be able to provide solutions for those too, as new technologies come along.

Ultimately, lists like this will also become valuable resources for technology strategists – the people who design new e-publishing formats and new creative tools to exploit them. So when the project to integrate HTML7 with EPUB5 comes along, we’ll have a handy list of wants to give them.

So friends. Where have you met your e-publishing Waterloo?

Anatomy of a recap
Chaos is our friend

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.