Panel: There is No ‘Publish’ Button

Going beyond format and integrating new approaches to content, new tools and skills, and new ways of thinking

An HTML “Publish” button.

May 13, 2016 | NMPS | Chicago

Panel Description & Outline

We as book publishers have honed our processes so much over the years that while every book requires considerable effort and brings new challenges, much of the process has become routine. In many ways, we’re cranking out books with the push of a button. With every book, we know intuitively what it will look like, how it will be made, and where it will be distributed. With digital publishing, it’s not nearly so obvious or easy. Still, I think many of of us have spent a lot of time, looking for a push-button solution to digital publishing. A single platform and approach that would be the next big thing. Something intuitive and easy to use within our existing process that would turn art books into digital books.

Two years ago, a panel of experts convened in front of this audience and walked through the full range of digital book formats, from PDF to web book, in a session called Digital Publishing 101. What I think we’re realizing today, is there are considerations even more fundamental to digital publishing than these basic formats choices. It’s not just about the thing we make, but about new approaches to content, new tools and skills to identify and use, and new ways of acting and thinking to develop.

  • New approaches to content
    • we should be considering the full spectrum of publishing at our institutions
    • we should be exploring the difference between narrative experiences and functional tools
    • we should be identifying the best assets and tools to to tell our stories
    • we should be thinking long-term from the beginning
  • New tools & skills
    • we should be mindful of proprietary platforms and their temptations
    • we should be looking at open source but aware of the pitfalls
    • we should remember non-book platforms and be open to using them
    • we should know how to code
  • New ways of thinking & acting
    • we should be structuring our teams for success
    • we should be looking to users
    • we should be sharing with one another
    • we should expand the definition of publishing beyond books/magazines

Other Speakers/Participants

  • Joseph Mohan, Associate Director of Production, The Art Institute of Chicago
  • Kris Thayer, Senior Designer, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Kirsten Southwell, Design Strategy Consultant

thanks for visiting!