In starting off on this new tangent, we realised we should probably explain what we’re on about when we say ‘digital publishing’, and why we’ve gone the way we have.
First things first – this doesn’t mean that GDS will stop existing in physical form. This year’s massive print anthology and audio CD will be launched in Melbourne on September 1, featuring Neil Gaiman, Leanne Hall, Dylan Martorell, Rebecca Giggs, and a host of other stars. The launch will feature performances from the three touring Nuyorican slam poets written up in the Financial Review today, plus Obese Records rapper Mantra, and acclaimed actor/writers Felix Nobis and Zoe Norton Lodge. It will be genuinely huge.
What we did realise is that the digital publishing world opens up a whole new range of opportunities that print can’t offer us. We thought it would be sensible to operate in both spheres. Digital publishing means we can send GDS around the world in an instant with no issues about ordering addresses or freighting. We can offer publications for a much reduced price, having removed the costs of manufacture. We can include all kinds of content that would be impossible to convey on the page, and take the concept of an anthology somewhere new. And when we do produce print works, we can really concentrate on making them superb objects of the sort that people will want lying around in their homes just to pick up and handle.
But when we say ‘digital publishing’, we don’t mean slapping it up on a blog and calling that a magazine. We wanted to be making what we make with our books: a beautiful, individual, discrete production that you could hold in your hands. So it had to be an e-publication made for a reading device. And we didn’t want to just do electronic versions of print. We wanted film, interactive audio, interwoven images.
But then, most e-readers have poor graphics support and limited web ability, only designed for basic text. So it would have to be something for the smartphone and tablet market instead. This stuff is complicated, with every device having its own specifications, so we decided to concentrate on the two with the biggest market share: iPhones and iPads.
And thus we may seem like foot-soldiers for Apple domination, but it was just a practical call we had to make. Not wanting to hand the reins entirely to Steve Jobs though, we’ve now gone away and made a specially-designed browser version of GDS #31. This means anyone with a computer or any kind of web device can access it through their web browser, even if they can’t download and keep the shiny file version made for Apple devices.
#31 has just been our first step, we’re sure there’ll be many advances we can make from here. As ever, your patience and your feedback will be of great value on the way. Click through to find your way to GDS #31.