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Monday, March 12, 2001

E-publishing benefits writers and artists
By Sumesh Raizada

Just like all other aspects of life, the digital revolution has taken on the world of publishing also. With digital publishing coming to the fore, the publishing world has undergone several fundamental changes. Earlier, publishing was strictly related to paper. However, now paperless publishing or electronic publishing is gaining more prominence.

Electronic publishing, or "e-publishing," is basically a form of publishing in which books, journals and magazines are being produced and stored electronically rather than in print. These publications have all qualities of the normal publishing like the use of colours, graphics, images and are much convenient also. Electronic publishing empowers all writers in ways that no technology has ever done before. Whatever you write — fiction, poetry, news, how-to books or business documents — there are exciting things happening that will directly affect how you write and distribute work.

The digital revolution has not just benefited writers alone, but has also revolutionised the works of artists, photographers, and other creative persons. There are already hundreds of thousands of books and journals published in the digital format and their number is rising every day. People are looking at electronic publishing optimistically as it is going to play a pivotal role in the modern world of e-commerce. Electronic publications may be produced in a variety of formats, including online, on disk or CD-ROM, as a file that can be downloaded or transmitted via e-mail or as a file that can be downloaded to a hand-held electronic reader or similar device. Many e-publishers offer books in several of these formats. E-publishers produce and distribute new works, which are appearing for the first time and may only appear in electronic format (though some may also be produced in a "books on demand" format as well).

Thus, e-publishing does not include the following types of electronic book production: Providing electronic text versions of previously published works (such as classic literature, non-copyrighted material, or works that have entered the public domain), either online or on CD-ROM, offering an electronic version of a book that is simultaneously being produced in print. In this case, the book would be considered a print publication, and the electronic edition would be considered a subsidiary form of publication.


Electronic publishing is relatively a new concept, but offers a lot of opportunities to creative persons, both for self-employment and regular jobs. The best part of this career is that since, everything has to be done on computers; those telecommuting can also pursue this career. There are many publishers, sites and news wires, who want people to work from their home. The demand for such persons in electronic publishing is more in B2B (Business to Business) portals, where there are good revenues also.

As per a report, online services are worth $ 1053 million of the $ 8.1 billion business-to-business sector total and continue to expand. Therefore there lie many opportunities in a new media career within the business-to-business arena with tremendous opportunities for growth. Moreover since the revenues from Internet advertising are also on rise especially in the B2B sector, self-employment in electronic publishing may also prove beneficial. According to the US bureau of labour statistics’ occupational outlook handbook, "Employment of desktop/electronic publishing specialists is expected to grow much faster than average." In fact, the handbook lists desktop publishing specialists as one of the 10 fastest growing occupations in the nation, with a 73 per cent increase in the number of positions expected between 1998 and 2008.

Contrary to other popular careers for pursuing career in electronic publishing, you do not need any special degree or certificates as this career is absolutely based on a person’s own capabilities. But, degree or diploma in journalism or creative writing or a degree or diploma in Web publishing can offer a decent platform to launch career in electronic publishing. However, if you wish to have that cutting edge in this career, there are several courses available abroad both full-time and through distance learning for pursuing a career in electronic publishing.

One such course is being offered by The George Washington University, Centre for Professional Development, Washington. This is a certificate program in desktop/electronic publishing, which offers a comprehensive curriculum for those interested in developing their skills for desktop/electronic publishing positions. The certificate program couples traditional desktop/electronic publishing courses in graphics and design with courses in the publication. In addition, the curriculum incorporates a graphics technologies module and a Web-authoring module from the interactive multimedia and Web design program to ensure familiarity with the latest electronic publishing technologies. This university is also offering some other courses relevant to electronic publishing.

Similarly the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen also offers a course on publishing studies. This course can be pursued for several rewards like PG certificate, PG diploma and Master of Science in Publishing Studies. This course is available on full-time/part-time as well as distance learning modes. You can select to study the different modes of study and can also change if so desired. This university also offers flexibility in studying individual modules. These courses are aimed at developing the professional skills in the people who join these courses in conventional and corporate publishing. The main course contents of this program include editorial processes, consumer publishing, specialist publishing, marketing, sales and promotion, research methods, fieldwork placement, electronic publishing or book trade resource management, information handling and production. Thus, this course imparts professional training for excellence in the field of electronic publishing.

Similarly, Redcliffe University also offers an extensive publishing course, which has broad exposure to current issues in publishing, unparalleled access to top publishing professionals, hands-on publishing experience, comparison of publishing types that informs career decisions, extensive career placement support (over 90 per cent placement rate), access to a large, active alumni network. This is a good course and deals in details matters related to the field of publishing both desktop and electronic. However, this is a regular course and is offered on a regular basis.

There are many courses available on this fast track career, which can offer good opportunities in the field of electronic publishing. However for existing professionals in the field of electronic publishing, the career opportunities are even brighter as you can do a lot of work on freelance basis. There are many portals, which invite people to write the reviews of the services and product and mostly the professionals in electronic publishing deal with this job. Further, since conventional publishing involves a lot of money and also infrastructure, thus the professionals in this field would find electronic publishing an exciting opportunity to become publisher themselves as it neither does not involve big costs nor does it require huge infrastructure. Furthermore, there is a dearth of such professionals in the field of news wires and other online electronic publications all over the world. This concept is fast becoming popular in India also as a lot of online publications are coming in and thus the day is not far when this career will also become a prominent career for professionals as well as other creative persons.

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