Publishing Business Group

07 July 2020


Angela Doll, Daihei Shiohama, Jeff Xu, Junichi Yoshii, Junko Kamata, Melanie Bockmann, Makoto MURATA, Ralph Swick, Shinya Takami, Wendy Reid,  Yanni Chang
Daihei Shiohama
Ralph, Wendy

Meeting minutes

State of Publishing Community Group

Jeff_Xu: hi everyone
… I am with Rakuten Kobo
… I am a software developer, particularly on text layout
… to improve the reading app experience
… I am co-chair of the Publishing Community Group, with Mateus Teixeira
… we started the middle of last year
… it took a long time to get started
… we're getting excited; we're seeing many new people join the CG
… we want to talk about a new charter
… one reason I joined the CG is that we found many issues where we could work with browser vendors to improve digital publishing
… as a developer, I am interested in that
… we're thinking one direction of the CG could be to incubate good practice
… and connecting web browser vendor with publishing
… to see how to make better layout and richer user features than with physical books
… we also want ideas from the CG participants
… and connect more widely beyond digital books
… right now we haven't yet restarted our meetings
… our first goal, very soon, is to start meeting again
… and hear from the CG members what directions we might go

Daihei: great idea for the Publishing CG to incubate new features
… new developments
… we love to exchange information
… we would like to invite you and Mateus to attend the BG meetings on occasion to talk about the CG materials
… are there topics from the others here that you would like to bring to Jeff and Mateus' attention?

Jeff: thanks; this is a really good chance for the CG and BG to collaborate more
… the CG started with a very wide set of directions

ShinyaTakami: as you know, Japanese text layout is very complicated
… and fixed layout is very popular
… the amount of FXL is huge
… is the CG talking about FXL?

Jeff: we haven't yet started discussion but I think fixed layout and manga are very important discussions
… when the reading system knows a book is manga we can lay it out very quickly
… we see it as a technical benefit to be able to distinguish FXL from manga
… I would like to bring this up in the CG very soon
… Japanese vertical text layout have a very large space in my mind
… we could even create task forces within the CG if people would like

Daihei: Jeff and Shinya used to work together in Rakuten's Tokyo office!

EPUB 3 WG charter

Wendy: the charter is finalized and is in AC review
… the Call for Review was sent out [on 19 June]
… please ask your AC Rep to respond
… reach out where you can
… the call for review runs through the end of this month

Publishing@W3C Webinar

<Daihei> The Publishing@W3C Webinar agenda page is now live: https://‌www.w3.org/‌2020/‌07/‌publ-webinar/ And the Registration page is now open: https://‌www.w3.org/‌2002/‌09/‌wbs/‌1/‌publ-webinar/

Daihei: Tzviya wasn't able to join us in this call today
… the invitation is about to be sent out

Wendy: the details will be sent shortly
… we plan two times: one in NA/Europe time and one in Asia/NA time
… myself, Jeff, Mateus, Tzviya will present
… the webinar is open to everyone; feel free to share the invitation when you get it
… we'll be talking about the survey results we got earlier this year and what we plan to do after receiving that input

Daihei: the dates are 28 and 29 July

ShinyaTakami: this a global webinar
… in Japan the situation is a bit different
… as fixed layout is very important
… but the survey results do not show that
… we should localize and introduce this survey in the Japanese market
… to show the difference in the situation
… it is very important to have a localized webinar for Japan

Daihei: yes; local topics are also welcome during the webinar

Wendy: yes; in the different time slots we plan to offer some local topics
… we do recognize there are local/regional topics that are more specific for certain areas
… people are welcome to ask us questions as well and we'll provide information as we have it

Presentation for APL in Japan

Daihei: this is the topic that Takami-san just explained
… this presentation is designed specifically for the Japanese market
… issues relating to the digital publishing business in Japan
… I was asked by APL to make this presentation end of July or early August
… with the Webinar now scheduled end of July, it may be better to do this the beginning of August
… this presentation is being planned by Yoshii-san, Takami-san, and myself

Yoshii: [Daihei translates] maybe sometime in September would work as well
… for others at Keio Unversity who might be interested, such as students
… with the COVID crisis, the digital business might do very well
… 80 to 85% of the 3B dollar market in Japan is manga
… that is what we would like to talk about in the seminar

Kamata-san: [Daihei translates] within digital publishing probably 300-500 publishers publish digital comics
… but there are probably 3500 publishers; the other 3000 create reflowable content
… for those not so exposed to digital comics, what are your thoughts about where the digital publishing business might go from here?

Yoshii-san: [Daihei translates] I can't talk on behalf of publishers other than Kodansha
… textbooks can use PDF
… for printing companies, they can do anything that publishers request
… industry organizations for printing houses and advertising agencies will probably not take strong actions to change the state of the market
… probably for a couple of years it will continue as it is now
… some publishers will keep the legacy of traditional Japanese literary materials
… for users, it would be great if the backlist catalog could become EPUB 3
… it is a matter of cost, time, and allocation of resources

Takami-san: I understand Kamata-san's concern

<jkamata> https://‌aebs.or.jp/ Association for E-publishing Business Solution : AEBS

Takami-san: the problem is the expense of generating digital content for Japan
… Japanese layout is very complex
… manga content is mostly generated by fixed layout
… the fixed layout EPUB structure is still complicated
… we need to simplify the structure of EPUB for Japanese content
… it is very important to reduce the cost for generating manga
… reflowable content is complicated
… most of the reflowable content is hand-made
… we have to think about this workflow effectively to change it
… we have many aspects to change the situation
… the capability of reading systems to accept "dirty" EPUB data
… this is a difficult point in Japan
… we have a traditional file format for 5-10 years
… and many reading systems based not on web browser engines
… but on an original rendering system
… we have to focus on CSS features for such non-browser rendering systems
… secondly, it is difficult to generate EPUB automatically
… we need to get InDesign to collaborate better for Japanese; it is not currently good for generating Japanese EPUB
… to reduce the cost of generating an EPUB file is very complicated
… we have to consider many factors

Daihei: Ralph sent the Japanese Gap Analysis document
… Shinya and I talked about that and the costs of generating Japanese layout
… we consider CSS features that would help render Japanese better
… Shinya and I can work on explaining the details more
… although this is a Japanese market issue, we might reach out to other parts of W3C to help with improvement

What are the business issues we face in the second half of 2020 for digital publications?

Daihei: we just talked about this for the Japanese market; something to streamline and reasonably control production costs for Japanese text
… globally there are other issues
… combinations of fixed layout and reflowable
… for children's picturebooks
… or cook books
… publishers haven't yet exercised all the capabilities of digital publishing
… Liisa mentioned that she has been asked to talk about this
… what other business issues do people think should be discussed in the BG ?

Yoshii-san: [Daihei translates] the BG members mainly come from book publishers
… but in Japan the newspapers have their own publication imprint
… and are seeking for their digital business to expand
… but due to production issues they have difficulty
… but due to costs maybe digital publishing could help
… if we improve some of the layout issues, with CSS and responsive dynamic layout
… we could convey this to the EPUB 3 WG and the BG
… so we can all discuss next steps

ShinyaTakami: are there any topics picked from the EPUB Survey to discuss in the BG?
… will you plan to talk about these issues that are important to the BG during the webinar?

Daihei: there are a number of things that are related to the technical issues
… and the improvement of the business
… such as converting PDF to EPUB
… there are a number of requirements outside of trade publishing
… for academic
… needs that people want to discuss further
… there is great information in the survey responses and people would like to continue discussing problems to solve in the future
… the PBG co-chairs would like to point those out and discuss here
… we could talk about those in the webinar
… Cristina will be presenting on accessbility
… I will be presenting on issues for Asia
… maybe Liisa will present on business issues in North America

Guest presentations

Daihei: in the agenda I included a list of possible topics and presenters we might invite
… you could review those and post your ideas to the list

Ralph: This list was meant to be a brainstorming list for the PBG chairs to consider
… selecting topics for the BG
… Daihei is soliciting what topics are considered the most interesting
… feel free to suggest other topics, this is a start

YanniChang: the Taiwan market has problems similar to Japanese
… we have many small publishers who are still learning to produce EPUB
… 2 years ago we created a training guide from EBPAJ
… and we have training courses
… this year we are working on training for the audiobook spec
… to teach how to create audiobooks according to the standard
… we are working on translating the documents to traditional Chinese
… also we are trying to create a WYSWIG audiobook editor
… we hope to open-source it later this year

WendyReid: amazing
… there is a link for registering intent to do a translation; I will send it to you

Next meeting

Daihei: July 21 next NA/EU time

<Yanni> The EPUB3 guide in Taiwan: https://‌github.com/‌dpublishing/‌epub3guide


Jeff: everyone is welcome to join the CG
… and we would like a third co-chair too!

<Yanni> It based on EBPAJ' version, Jeff helped also.

Jeff: we'll figure out the timezone!

Minutes manually created (not a transcript), formatted by scribe.perl version 121 (Mon Jun 8 14:50:45 2020 UTC).