As digital publishing has entered the age of maturity, it has had to develop industrialization processes of a new type for an essentially “paper” industry. The standardisation of a format for distributing digital books was achieved with the development of the EPUB format. Then came the industrialisation of digital reading software, with the emergence of initiatives such as the Readium project. The ongoing roll-out of LCP digital rights management technology is also part of this standardisation drive.

Like any industry, the digitisation of publishing is subject to external injunctions linked to legal provisions and societal issues. To remain profitable while meeting the expectations of audiences and funders, publishing houses need to acquire a wide range of skills. Digital production teams must have expertises into typography, performance, interoperability, accessibility, eco-design, security or personal data management. It is imperative to coordinate these diverse areas of expertise.

The evolving intricacy of the digital publishing regulatory landscape presents an opportunity for professionals to enhance their skills and qualifications, fostering a more unified understanding across the entire value chain. This development, while challenging, encourages a closer alignment with publishers’ needs, ultimately leading to a more robust and effective industry.

In industrialized sectors, quality assurance, management, control and certification are commonplace to allow structuration methods, techniques, and training. The digital publishing sector is now willing to arm itself with these tools to integrate and assimilate a range of external expertise. The question is raised and worked on by the French Publishers Association (SNE) norms and standards group, known for its long-term involvement in the normalization, standardization, and accessibility work. We at EDRLab are proud to collaborate and hope to extend the ongoing reflections with our members, internationally.

The topic of better web quality has been driven by the Opquast Web Quality Assurance Checklist, for a long time, which is published under an open license. We used this reference as a starting point and have been working on questioning every aspects to build our own list of references for a better quality of ebooks, leading us to genuinely name that project Qualebook.

The first communications about the project during the Assises du Livre Numérique were met with resounding positivity from the professionals. More will be revealed during Digital Publishing Summit 2024!


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