Cyber-Publishing-The Future Is Now

April 2000
by Patricia J. Bell

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One of the past decade’s most exciting developments for writers (and independent publishers) is the emergence of cyber-publishing-the electronic or e-book. New material is leaping from the computer into cyberspace, making it possible for a writer or publisher to find a larger audience than was ever dreamed of. E-publishing has become a tantalizing possibility for independent and neophyte publishers.
Cyber-publishing has been around since 1971 when Michael Hart at the University of Illinois instituted Project Gutenberg, some 30 years after the idea of electronic publishing appeared in science fiction stories. In the years since, Project Gutenberg has listed over 10,000 books in digital format, free for downloading.
In its truest form, cyber-publication, or electronic publication, is meant for reading on a screen. It takes a variety of forms-short forms like online articles found on Web sites or in electronic newsletters; and longer or book-length forms, published on diskette or CD-ROM, published in Portable Document Format (PDF), HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language), or a proprietary variant for hand-held devices, or published on the World Wide Web for downloading onto your desktop or your handheld device.
Is electronic book publishing an empty or near empty field? Not hardly. John Rutledge, of Dead End Street Publications, writes, “There are currently more than 100 royalty-paying e-publishers, a number that has doubled every quarter during 1999….IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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