How should authors approach their task, given that what they produce may or may not appear in printed form, may or may not have color available, may or may not be able to display dynamic content, may or may not have Internet access available, and may be viewed on devices ranging from widescreen monitors to cell phones-—unless it’s consumed as audio? The challenge is particularly acute for technical authors, because, in addition to words, they typically employ charts, diagrams, and tables to convey their messages. How do you (usefully) display such things on an iPhone, not to mention via an audio stream? Publishers need to concern themselves with these questions, because multiplatform publication is much more likely to succeed if the content was designed for it in the first place.
Beyond multiplatform issues, how can authors design books that facilitate partial consumption (e.g., selling individual chapters)? How can they provide content that encourages the development of book-based communities? This roundtable is for everybody interested in issues authors need to consider when writing for 21st century readers.
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