Future of Publishing Manifesto

This is our manifesto. The future of publishing is much larger than any one company or group can even foresee, much less bring into being. That said, this is what it might look like, and we want to collaborate with anyone or any group who can help move us forward to this future.

This post is updated every so often.

1950's ... moon ship- Fred Freeman First, thanks to online and in-person conversations with Ale Rimoldi and Peter Kelly for inspiration, ideas and information. The good stuff below is theirs, and the stuff I got wrong is my own.

Document Structure

Currently, publishing has roughly three formats: PDF, Epub and HTML. How these documents can be structured and interacted should begin with the required output to get a document to market. There is no reason why HTML cannot be the base structure of any future publication (with some extensions to support metadata such as headers/footers, footnotes). Some kind of extension to Markdown Extra would be a good candidate. New functionality should emulate the kind of shortcodes that various WordPress plugins enable.

Epub Output

Kindle KF8 can be derived from Epub, and Epub itself is an HTML format. This is how we get ebooks into the major marketplaces: Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Apple iBooks, B&N Nook and Kobo.

Print Output

For print books, it is now possible to use PDF/X-3 with an RGB workflow to perform print on demand with Amazon CreateSpace and Lightning Source as well as local printers who use new POD presses such as the Fuji Xerox C1000 POD press.



By devices we also mean operating environments. Windows, OSX, and Linux; Android and iOS; and Javascript/Chrome OS support all add complexity and therefore cost and risk. Leveraging development across platforms should be seen as a priority, even if it requires contribution to the cross-platform framework projects themselves.


Collaboration is at the heart of successful publishing. And there are a variety of kinds of collaboration, including:

  • writer / editor (copy editors, fact checkers/researchers)
  • writer / readership
  • publisher / graphic artist/image editors

Another aspect of collaboration is intra-personal, such as the writer-as-researcher collaborating with the writer-as-writer and the writer-as-editor. Therefore, research/note-taking is an aspect that could be considered collaboration.

Of course the key elements of collaboration are access control and revision/source control.


Markets are collections of individuals who interact based on resources and needs. The future of publishing will enable better market interaction between the various individuals and functions within publishing, including writers, editors, graphic designers and the publisher themselves.

Platforms, Tools and Functionality

By platform, we mean tools and functionality as well as cloud-based services, and programming frameworks. This is the technology part of the stack for development and implementation. Some tools and frameworks might include:

O'Reilly Atlas

O'Reilly Atlas may be a big deal

1953-abandon ship!

Five Elements

There seem to be five areas to include in any future publishing, including as well as beyond the elements discussed above:

  • Content Management - how to manage the various elements of text, image, video, etc.
  • Editing - writing and editing as well as composition of the various components
  • Publishing - exporting/saving into formats for consumption: web, epub for ebook, pdf for print
  • Collaboration - Enabling multiple people to access and change various elements of content, source code control, etc.
  • Research - Both the process as well as the tracking of research resources, including bibliographic data, fact-checking, as well as publishing market research, competitor research, etc.
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