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Tech innovations boost digital publishing
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2010-09-27 11:32

By Chen Jing

China's digital publishing is striding forward with unprecedented speed, bringing more and more fresh and wonderful reading experience to readers.


Technical innovation promotes the development of the industry

Besides the booth of Founder, Fan Ying, product marketing manager of Beijing Founder Apabi Technology Company Limited, is taking a "U-reader Mini-Study", which is only an ordinary USB Mass Storage by appearance but has unexpected functions. "If you are a student, you can borrow digital books from the library through the device, to conveniently retrieve and read the full text. If the return date set by the library expires and you forget to return the book, then the system will automatically return the book for you." said Fan Ying in the introduction.

 "U-reader Mini-Study" of Founder Apabi is the miniature of the innovation made in the terminal technology of digital publishing. However, the bigger technical break-through comes from the handheld electronic reader, known commonly as "e-book" and "e-paper book".

Compared with paper book, handheld electronic reader possesses the ability to record mass information and update, modify and delete the existing content. Due to the wide application of electronic ink, it has the characteristic of having no background light so that it bears strong resemblance to paper in terms of visual effect. The authority concerned predicts that the market size of electronic reader in China will surge to 3 million in 2010 from 80,000 in 2009, reaching a volume of 20 percent of the global market.

The innovation in digital publishing is not confined to the reading terminal. From the production and purchasing of content to reading, innovation in every part of digital publishing has been emerging one after another. Zhou Hongli, chief copyright officer of Shanda Literature, said that "The future development tendency of digital publishing lies in the introduction of the technology of cloud computing."

According to Zhou Hongli, Shanda Literature introduced "Library in Cloud", the platform for digital publishing and reading which currently has 3 million of books and more than 100 million characters of updating every day. "What to choose from such rich resources is a big question for readers. However, through the application of the technology of cloud computing, readers can clearly see which book has the most readers currently and which chapter of one book is read by most readers. Readers can also see the book review which is timely made and updated and conveniently interact with other readers and even the writers. This is 2.0 version of future digital reading. "

Digital publishing platform is becoming the breakthrough of new channel entering into digital publishing. China Mobile has established its own mobile phone reading base. Hanvon, manufacturer of terminal equipment, has also established its own "Online Library". One end of these digital publishing platforms is connected to the content providers and the other end extends downward to reach consumers through several channels. From this book fair, we can see that there are already several product forms of digital publishing, such as handheld reader, tablet PC and touch reader.

At the same time, the innovation in digital publishing also needs policy guidance. In July, 2010, GAPP and relevant departments joined hands to establish a e-book (content) standard project group to start to work out the standards, involving fundamental standards including system, terms, classification, metadata and identifying, and management standards including e-book industry access and exit mechanism.

Traditional publishing focuses on long-term development

On one hand, the Internet enterprises and telecom operators have shown their ambition. On the other hand, traditional publishing companies are also eager to try digital publishing. 

Since 2009, traditional publishing companies in China have been actively joining in the competition in digital publishing. China Publishing Group is accelerating the construction process of several databases including "Online Reference Books" and "Online Encyclopedia" and introduced "Dajia" reader and the "Chinese version of the Espresso Book Machine", which speeds up the construction of China's digital publishing network. Shanghai Century Publishing Company Limited introduced "Cihai" reader.


Guangdong Publishing Group and Jiangxi Publishing Company set up digital media company. Changjiang Publishing Media Group created, which is the web portal of reading. Starting from education, Anhui Publishing Company has put into operation "Times" online educational platform and the first Mobile MMS concerning education. Traditional publishing has turned from passive acceptance into consciously practicing digital publishing planning with focus.

The deepening of understanding comes from the recognition of the development of digital publishing. From the original little understanding to current bold exploring of new technology, traditional publishing industry has known very well the application of the new technologies including e-book, tablet PC and search engine and can apply these technologies in accordance with its situation. At the special exhibition area for digital publishing in this fair, one can frequently see people working in traditional publishing who are the visitors and propose very deep-going questions to the manufacturers of terminal equipment and service suppliers.

However, for traditional publishing, how to deal with the relationship between traditional publishing and digital publishing has become a new problem. Some experts say that it is only the first step to shift the text of printed books to digital platform. Traditional publishing should also exert itself in developing the special function of digital resources."

In this respect, some publishing companies have focused on long-term development and began to consider the differentiation of products. Taking People's Education Press for example, it introduced the first online textbook "English Interacting Q School" in China on June 8, 2009. Taking it as the object of study, Research on Effective Model of Online Textbook for Junior English has been listed as one of the Planning Subjects of Ministry of Education in National Education Science Eleventh Five-Year Plan.

For this online textbook, the educational concept of "process evaluation" is introduced. Through the management of teacher's terminal on student's terminal, teachers can clearly know how much the students have understood a certain knowledge point and seen the curve of grades that students have gained in each test to better improve their teaching schedules.

On the other hand, at the upstream and downstream of the industrial chain, traditional publishing groups and small and medium-sized publishing companies also have been making efforts to explore and find the suitable position. 
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