Just What is Digital Publishing, Anyway?

Definition of Digital Publishing Terms

By Deborah S. Nelson, Author/Publisher Publishing SOLO & VRTG

Digital publishing is a new and developing term. Breaking it down into two main areas, digital publishing is a technical method; and in the general sense, a new arena of publishing. It is often referred to as a digital publishing platform. It is important to note the difference between digital printing and digital publishing. Publishing is when information or creative works are made widely available to the public. Digital printing can refer to the type of printing method or equipment used to make the works available.

To simplify the technical aspect of what digital publishing is, the standard publishing method uses the printing press. The printing press employs an inking systems with a roller that presses the ink onto paper. The printing press is costly to set-up and normally requires large printing runs to make the individual pieces cost-effective. That’s where digital printing has the advantage, and has become widespread in the 21st century. For example, in book publishing just one book is printed via a digital file which defines the set up. With the printing press, expensive (and time-consuming to produce) plates must be painstakingly created for each color printed.

From a technical point of view, relatively easily produced art files are completed using publishing software such as In Design, Quark Express, and other graphic design software that allows a book or printed materials to be accurately and specifically produced to a digital printer’s specifications.

Digital Publishing is the New Pen and Ink

The digital publishing arena loosely covers many areas, from sheet music production (downloadable), online comic books, digital book publishing, You Tube, podcasts, ebooks, Kindle books,  newspaper and magazine publishing; and even video games are included in the realm of digital publishing.  Digital publishing platforms can refer to electronic publishing companies such as Createspace, Smashwords, Kobo, and Kindle, who give the ability to publish and market and ship books and ebooks online.

The Internet has basically become the new paper, and the computer keyboard has become the new ink. Some digital publishing will refer to a physical copy printed using the digital printing method; and other digital publishing will refer to information transmitted through the Internet via a digital media venue.

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