Director Eric Halpern on what's in the works for electronic book publishing at Penn Press, including participation in Google Editions.
Ebooks. Talk of them seems to fill the media these days. While
prognosticators in the past have made many wild-eyed claims for ebooks
that never became reality, ebook sales now constitute a rapidly growing
share of books sold. In today’s more promising ebook environment, we
are exploring opportunities to reach new readers in the digital realm.
These range from publication of complete books in various electronic
formats to participation in digital archival services, databases, and
online libraries. And we are making a concerted effort to prepare Penn
Press titles for distribution in this new medium.
Penn Press started to make books available digitally for
full-text searching and limited browsing in Google Books six years ago.
(Penn Press participates as well in Amazon's Search-Inside-the-Book
program.) We have since broadened that relationship to include
participation in Google's new ebook venture, and this summer several
hundred of our books will be released electronically as Google
Editions. Over the course of the coming year the number of Penn Press
titles sold as ebooks should rise to 1000 or so, and they should become
available before long too on the iPad, Kindle, Nook, and other
dedicated ereaders. We are also playing a role in the development of a
university press ebook consortium that will sell large subject-based
ebook collections to libraries at colleges and universities in this
country and around the world. Printed books still have plenty of life
in them, but we want to reach serious readers in whatever medium they