At Simon & Schuster we’re taking steps toward building all-digital workflows. A recent initiative involving covers begins with Editorial collecting praise quotes in an on-line database. When it comes time to write copy for the book cover/jacket, they pull up a form in their browser, inject quotes onto different parts of the cover and write copy for other parts. Once the copy has been approved, the designer is sent an email with a link that allows him/her to download an InDesign file with all the copy, in a generic font, distributed on the various parts of the cover: front, back, flaps, etc. He/she then proceeds to design the cover. We are planning to use Acrobat for circulating the cover for approvals digitally. Currently this is done on paper, and the designer is responsible for making any text changes on the cover. The outside front cover is then captured digitally and fed out to the internet, as it has been for years. But now the entire cover layout is then turned back into XML so that, for example, the description can be automatically extracted and distributed.
The benefits of this initiative are:
Currently Steve Kotrch is Director of Publishing Technology for Simon & Schuster. He is responsible for creating and supporting all systems having to do with design and editorial, and the company’s digital asset management system. He recently designed a system that takes data from S&S’s product database, uses XML to create book cover layouts in InDesign, and re-ingests certain text with any changes on those layouts back into the database for distribution over the internet. Steve has been involved for over 20 years in various kinds of publishing: of not only consumer books, but reference and elementary and high-school texts; in publishing financial newsletters, magazines and major retail catalogs. He has been involved with the publishing of ebooks since 1994.
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