Publishing Business Group Telco — Minutes

Date: 2019-04-21

See also the Agenda and the IRC Log


Present: Karen Myers, Wendy Reid, Luc Audrain, Ivan Herman, Jeff Jaffe, Murata Makoto, Dave Cramer, Liisa McCloy-Kelley, Avneesh Singh, Julie Blair, Dan Sanicola, Adam Zaremba, Tzviya Siegman, George Kerscher, Leslie Hulse

Regrets: Bill Kasdorf, Daihei Shiohama (塩濱大平), Wolfgang Schindler


Chair: Luc Audrain

Scribe(s): Karen Myers, Jeff Jaffe


Luc Audrain: Waiting for GoToMeeting to open.

Luc Audrain: The agenda is same as last week

1. Publishing WG F2F update

Luc Audrain: most of us attended this meeting in Boston
… Wendy did a short summary
… it was about Web Publications applied to Audio Books
… some issues were closed
… we had a specific moment for the PubBG
… Day two we had a discussion about the PubBG inside the PubWG session
… you can retrieve the slides from the agenda
… Idea was to give information to the WG
… and also to bring some issues and questions
… The big news about EPUB3.2 report approved
… and EPUBCHeck
… and also ISO work on EPUB
… We spoke about events
… DigPub Summit
… Program is almost finished
… and the Sept. PubBG event in Japan
… We listed what we have already talked about in this meeting here, the communications actions
… to spread the word about EPUB3.2 and EPUBCheck4.2
… Testimonials are coming
… you can see some of them
… and EPUBCheck fundraising
… we have today also need support
… and AB election candidate
… Discussion also on future work
… Web business case
… real relationship between modules or profiles, the preferred word, that could be built
… on web publication as a framework on which business case profiles can be built
… the first business case is audio book
… and this is work in progress
… and hope to have this as a draft rec by September
… Other profiles may be built
… but WG asked BG to work on cases
… There is a strong relation on what can be built on this web publication framework
… to bring to market real needs that the PubBG should express
… Already established some narratives
… CG and some prototyping
… which will be done by EDRLab and by @ in France
… and to be presented at TPAC2019

Tzviya Siegman: I wanted to read a summary from Geoff Jukes, Blackstone Publishing
… this has a tilt toward audio books, but I thought it was an apt summary
… I will paste this in

Luc Audrain: Is that private?

Tzviya Siegman: Private email but he said it was fine to share it with others

Luc Audrain: it is worth a blog post!
… I could make it a blog post in W3C; Geoff may have rights to publishing as well;

Tzviya Siegman: here is his text, reproduced with his permission:

Technology has made it easy to reach millions of consumers. Each new platform, introduces new requirements for delivery, but the content itself never changes. This creates a burden for content creators, who must produce different variations of the same product, in order to enter new platforms and markets. Blackstone manage their own assets, and deliver to 50+ channels - each with unique file format, naming and packaging requirements. Being able to package our products in one way is very appealing. Larger organizations use aggregators to manage their deliveries, who profit immensely from this chaos. Individuals use platforms who do little more than re-package the content, in exchange for a slice of the royalties. Audiobooks are low-hanging fruit. They’re probably the easiest of all the forms I can think of – the content is already encapsulated with a single, linear presentation order. So it makes sense to hit that first. Therefore, I think the comment on how “ePub enabled self-publishing” is absolutely appropriate – and that the actual goal of the PWG, is to do the same for all forms of Publishing – even ones that have not yet been revealed.

Tzviya Siegman: I thought it was an astute assessment
… some people might refer to this as the ‘democratization of publishing’

Luc Audrain: I am happy to push what you have there as a W3C blog with Geoff as the author
… do you think he will be ok with that?
… Tzviya, could you ask him?

Tzviya Siegman: I think it would be good to include this as part of the overall summary of the meeting that Wendy and I are working on

Luc Audrain: Distresses me to read 50 file formats

1.1. Business priorities on audiobooks

Luc Audrain: About the discussions on the Business Group priorities for the WG
… BG needs to define business cases
… there was a discussion as you see in the minutes
… there was a question if the BG is the place to discuss that; and I think it’s natural
… Question from Jeff as right venue to discuss
… if we have important business, we need to know who they are
… this could take place in the business group

Jeff Jaffe: Thanks, Luc
… I wanted to elaborate a bit more
… especially for those people who were not at the WG meeting
… Starting at TPAC
… the community had a lot of conversations about the need to create a profile of web publications for audio books
… there has been some excellent work putting together what that might look like
… During the WG meeting, there was a period of time
… in which the WG was discussing who are the stakeholders who have this work as a priority
… there certainly were several
… Hachette Europe comes to mind who expressed extremely strongly
… but despite the strong interest of some, I was surprised to hear that the interest appeared to be less compelling than I had understood based on previous conversations
… For that reason I started to wonder if the WG is getting sufficient direction from the BG
… has the BG indeed studied this space of requirements sufficiently
… since this was identified as a high priority item with the right use cases and requirements underneath that
… and the BG was exciting the ecosystem to accept the results
… to have a great spec and get a great path for adoption as well
… no one pushed back on that
… what we came out of the WG, looking for direction and support from the business group

Luc Audrain: there was this discussion also bringing
… some reluctant support for this new standard from the Audio Book Publishers Association and also Dave Cramer from Hachette US
… less interest
… We identified several items with book publishers
… and Wendy mentioned several publishers interested in this new format
… But agree this needs to be deliberate and we have collective work to do
… we should bring this to the table in our respective countries and seek explicit support
… Does it mean we should start some kind of survey?
… to reach all the audio book publishers in the world?
… ack Wendy

Wendy Reid: I don’t know if it’s a survey that we need
… but what we really need is a better idea
… not even a better idea, we need more outreach to the audio publishers; to lay eyes on it and give us their concerns or questions
… I don’t think audio publishers know what they need from a spec
… in that phase…we read the spec but we don’t understand X
… that is where we are struggling
… Leslie and myself are doing this outreach work
… and that is where we need help, to get eyes on the spec

Luc Audrain: We also spoke about publishers’ needs
… gathering audio files, list of resources, putting in XL files
… putting in for distributors and vendors
… we hope this spec will help for the packaging
… also a need for a tool
… Laurent mentioned
… to be able to build the package easily
… starting with audio files
… and some kind of reading order, table of contents, cover
… this should package the thing in the end
… On the publisher side there is an identified need for a tool to build the package
… on the distributor side, downstream, the need is to receive this package
… and to follow the spec and make it available to their distribution system

Tzviya Siegman: In terms of what the BG can do
… I agree with Wendy, this is still a matter of outreach
… our impression about the audio book publishers association, there is a great deal of confusion about what a standard is
… they don’t understand standards
… we have heard confusion about anti-trust
… and that is not a W3C violation; we don’t have anti-trust
… we reach out but there is suspicion
… impression that we may have an agenda
… someone who has more of a relationship with APA or other people in audio books world may have better chance of expressing what we are trying to accomplish
… that we are not dealing with distribution or sales, simply trying to make this easier

Luc Audrain: Thank you for expressing that; it’s a big issue

George Kerscher: Do they understand the problem that people are having ingesting the audio books
… another hand, if we can address the tool @
… if that might be an avenue to get support for development of a spec

Luc Audrain: you mentioned a specific tool

George Kerscher: ProTools
… is widely used to create audio content
… ProTools is the biggest, there are others

Luc Audrain: wonder if we can have conversation with these people from ProTools?

Leslie Hulse: to George’s point if people understand the challenge of ingestion
… Coursair and Ingram make the problem go away for many publishers and they are not feeling the pain
… Feels like the direction
… is that this will be one more format
… and hope that Google, Kobo, others move over to packaged audio format
… but we don’t have the leverage to get this down to one format, to EPUB
… will go differently because of starting point
… APA feedback has been about anti-trust
… exec director is outgoing
… new incoming is from Harper, so starting in June hopeful that conversation will be different
… and more opportunity for a group conversation; will approach in June
… and if that is not the case, we certainly will need more conversations with publishers individually
… we should figure out a target list for those conversations

Luc Audrain: that is good news
… not sure if there is something similar for Asia or Europe. Is APA US only?

Leslie Hulse: Not sure

Luc Audrain: I don’t know from European POV
… ok, we have work to do there
… agree with you
… to bring awareness and support to publishing community
… we could also distributors and aggregators who would have easier time to ingest
… Wendy, I think you would support

Avneesh Singh: Maybe a different problem and solve in a different way
… when we see migration from EPUB2 to EPUB3
… this is a new specification
… it’s a tall call to expect someone to start implementing a spec in their company
… direction of outreach should be have people join the CG
… or get them involved
… here is a spec, please follow, everyone will expect worst fears
… which may not be a good result
… if people are participating or observing discussions, then there is a chance
… lowers barriers
… set a big example
… Hachette and others should start to implement and set an example
… Objective of outreach should be to increase involvement

Luc Audrain: You are right
… more comments on that subject?

Jeff Jaffe: I just wanted to go back to audio discussion
… I got that Leslie was going to take the lead to connect with the new leadership of the APA
… but there was also discussion about distributors, aggregators, stakeholders who need to do this work
… I did not hear anyone specifically volunteers; what should be done by whom
… perhaps get more crisp after this meeting today

Luc Audrain: obviously, Leslie talked about APA
… I will try to find people in Europe for audio book publishers
… I take the action for Europe
… for Asia, I don’t know

Jeff Jaffe: Maybe someone could take the action to bring the discussion to the Asia-friendly call
… rest of US needs outreach as well

Luc Audrain: Let’s do that
… and make some forward progress
… Ok

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: Before we leave the [audio books] topic, we could all look at the spec and think about whom we know who should be reading it

2. Communications on EPUB3.2 and EPUBCheck4.2.1

Luc Audrain: Communications on EPUB3.2 and EPUBCheck4.2.1
… DAISY Consortium sent information
… also on GitHub and Twitter
… we requested Testimonials last week
… there are 4-5 already
… more will come, including from Hachette
… and a small blog post I wrote last week
… small bug fixed in EPUBCheck; latest version is 4.2.1
… added thanks to people who have been instrumental in this production
… we should spread the word in our different countries
… I have seen some information in different newsletters
… a question raised last Fall
… to have a clearer vision from vendors’ ingestion
… it was in last call
… what do you think of idea to have a survey about EPUB3.2 and EPUBCheck4.2.1 in their ingestion process?
… should we also receive testimonials from distributors, vendors, besides publishers?

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: +1 to testimonials from everyone

Karen Myers: We support wide adoption and promotion for EPUB 3.2 and EPUBCheck 4.2.1

Luc Audrain: testimonials at

Karen Myers: our challenge is to gather community support
… e.g. from Members of WG, BG, and CG
… should we get more to get involved
… or should we focus on testimonials?

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: I think we would be hard pressed to get testimonials
… a testimonial requires going through corporate PR departments
… and that is not always the biggest priority on my PR depts’ mind
… to try to get that kinds of support
… I would like to see a list and whether they have any commitment or timeframe
… it would be super helpful for publishers if you knew that three partners would switch to validating
… that would put pressure on the adoption process
… Would be helpful if people were willing to acknowledge and make that information public

Luc Audrain: a bit of a chicken and egg question
… the pitch is that we are already producing EPUB3.2 files
… I don’t think it has to be sold to PR departments
… or to legal departments
… that is not something I am feeling

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: I am saying a testimonial would have to be sold
… but there are a number of smaller players who are not making 3.0
… if you just hit @ button in InDesign; people have to make changes in their workflow process
… the more help we can provide the better

Luc Audrain: I have seen some issues in France
… asking questions
… they are taking this seriously
… on the production side
… I think obviously it will still be the most dynamic one
… It is really running eight weeks with EPUBCheck
… as soon as we can validate EPUB3.2 files
… i did explicitly explain to Apple
… they asked me about EPUB3.2 files
… I mentioned release candidate
… these files are valid
… We are in a good position
… with this backward compatibility we are in a good position to make all of the industry move
… we unfortunately don’t have usage stats of EPUBCheck
… I asked about downloading stat
… its does not show if people are using in day-to-day processes

Dave: I wanted to comment on the communications around EPUB3.2
… I think we need to think more about our goals around this communication
… I don’t really care if they use EPUB3.2 s written
… I do care about them upgrading EPUBCheck
… and I also care about sharing how we are now doing this work in W3C
… you could describe this as response to legitimate community concerns
… Many of you had nasty bugs around EPUB type validation
… where what EPUBCheck allowed; what terms got deprecated
… people I know lost sleep, but we fixed that issue

Tzviya Siegman: dauwhe++

Dave: we made life better in that sense

Luc Audrain: +1 to Dave

Dave: I think there are a lot of other ways to describe this process and responding to the needs of the ebook community

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: +1 to better response to needs

Dave: express this rather than going through laundry lists of things; not that many people care about those; but they care about EPUBCheck

Tzviya Siegman: +1 to dauwhe

Wendy Reid: +1

Dave: that may have more value than testimonials from people you have never heard of

Luc Audrain: Very good idea
… maybe another blog post from Dave?
… thank you
… to jump ahead to DigPub Summit
… Romain and I will speak about EPUB today
… and all the work done by W3C today
… and give this opportunity for EPUB to be accessible

Karen Myers: ..we will communicate in this arena, just what Dave said

George Kerscher: I am feeling the urge to write a document targeted to the Chronicle of Higher Ed
… talking to chancellors at universities, asking to upgrade the publications they create
… we now have so much higher quality available because of EPUB
… and put this under the nose of people from the top down
… we have done a lot from bottom up
… but would be helpful for people in leadership positions to understand that HTML and EPUB documents are far superior to PDF and this can influence the quality of education in the world

3. AB Elections; Avneesh’s candidacy

Luc Audrain: If you know any AC Reps who have not voted, let’s encourage them to vote for Avneesh
… for the AB

4. DigPub Summit

Luc Audrain: we are putting the final details to the program and it will be available very soon now
… it is a huge event with dense and packed presentations
… We had a real thought about
… having every part of publishing to be exposed; some diversity of countries, gender
… I think it will be a very good event; and it’s in Paris

5. PubBG event in Fukuoka

Luc Audrain: Daihei and Japanese publishers are organizing this for the morning of Thursday, 19 Sept.
… TPAC Registration is now open
… schedule of the groups is prepared

6. purpose attribute in HTML

Luc Audrain: Question for Ivan about how to contribute to the purpose attribute in HTML
… not sure which group cares about that

Ivan Herman: I don’t have a definitive answer
… by coincidence I met last week at conference in San Francisco
… one of the persons (John Folliot) who was discussing this in the Accessibility work
… he said he would try to get this pushed first by Acess. group to contribute use cases
… what we could do now
… is to have a clear idea…and have heard some controversial reactions
… see if there really are terms in the EPUB type
… that are essential and should be somehow selvaged for web publications or not
… I have heard different reactions on that
… We have DPub ARIA work
… our job at first is to really understand if publishing community does or does not need this kind of HTML attribute
… where info can be put without affecting accessibility
… just giving information about the purpose of a certain section

Tzviya Siegman: I have not heard anything about the purpose attribute
… think the work would be happening in the WICG or possibly HTML living standard work
… does anyone have any links/pointers
… surprised I have not heard anything at all
… especially with work going on in ARIA with custom elements
… I am suspicious that this will take off in ARIA
… role parity work
… i would not get too optimistic at this point in time
… we should look at custom elements and how that is being made to work in ARIA

Ivan Herman: just to be very clear
…not something I heard about until last Tuesday

Ivan Herman: Since TPAC i did not hear anything about it; just coincidence
… one of the APA WG folks

Liisa McCloy-Kelley: I think it would be very interesting to have a conversation whether this is important separate from Accessibility
… what are expectations for how to handle something
… some things get lost
… if just ARIA roles and just for Accessibility circumstances

Luc Audrain: we tried to start with the proper question in the BG; we should continue this
… we are at the top of the hour
… I wanted to ask Dave about plans for future of EPUB3 CG
… we can ask about this on the next call
… thank you everyone