Publishing and editorial folk who wish to educate themselves in the changing craft of the book should track this ongoing discussion on the merits of browsers versus apps/devices –even if at times it becomes finely technical.
Books On Books logged several articles on this last year when Jason Pontin declared MIT Technology Review’s colors (decidedly HTML5). Here is another worth a quick read: 5 Myths About Mobile Web Performance | Blog | Sencha. A quick read? Yes, publishers and editors need not be HTML jockeys or Java connoisseurs, but they need to have a business-like grasp of what they are choosing to ride or drink.
Understanding why to publish an ebook through an app or in a browser-friendly format — or both — and what the implications are for crafting finds its rough print analogs in selecting the primary channel and form of publication (trade or academic, hardback or paperback) as well as the structure of the work (design, layout and organization) and working out the financial case for deciding whether to publish and how.
In 1513, Louis XII of France issued an edict praising printing, exempting it from a large impost and removing a tax on books. Louis declared that “the printer-booksellers … ought to be maintained in their privileges, liberties, franchises, exemptions, and immunities, in consideration of the great benefits which have been conferred upon our kingdom by means of the art and science of printing, the invention of which seems rather divine than human ….” Two years later, Louis was dead, and the lot of books and printer-booksellers fell under the shadow of France’s so-called Father of Letters, François I, who issued an edict in 1535
banning the use of the printing press and permitted books and printers to be consigned to the flames for blasphemy. (Richard Christie, Etienne Dolet: The Martyr of the Renaissance, 1508-1546, 1899. Pp. 330-31). Which might be said to challenge the certainty of taxes while confirming that of death.