Publishing Textbooks

Optimize revision cycles and publish digital collaterals with XML
publishing turnaround with XML

About a quarter of the world’s population is under 15 years of age, and the majority of them are in school. One of the successful and time-honored ways by which education is imparted to them is through textbooks.

In the case of the educational publisher covered in this episode of XML Stories, the publisher mainly produces books for school children. They also publish some books for university students. Their authors are school-subject specialists and university professors. So, the content falls within the scope of not just school students but also advanced material for university students. The common factor is that all published materials are educational.

The publisher wants to print high quality educational material on a nicely printed book. To accompany the book, they also want interactive features such as DVDs and websites.

What was the challenge?

Most authors were not comfortable with using FrameMaker to edit content. As a result, the book had to be physically printed and given to authors for editing. The edits were made on sticky notes and returned to the typesetter for correction. This feedback cycle would occur a few times. In addition, there was an editorial and redaction cycle. This classical workflow is not cost-effective, especially when a book has been written by multiple authors. So, the publisher began searching for solutions to address these challenges.

What kind of solution was the publisher looking for?

Initially, the publisher was hoping for a single source for their printed books and the collaterals that come with it, like the website, animations, videos, references, etc. They did their research and discovered the benefit of XML: create in XML and publish in a wide variety of formats.

When the publisher discovered the scope of XML, they wondered if they could also find a solution for their revision cycle issue, where subject matter experts and authors were reviewing books from a print delivered by a FrameMaker typesetter.

What is the result of shifting to XML?

The authors, editors, and other stakeholders involved in the revision process no longer need to work with physical materials. They use a virtual, WYSIWYG interface to complete their edits without the need for typesetters to revise every version of the book.

In the earlier FrameMaker setup, the publisher created interactive content in the form of CDs and websites. However, this process had limitations.

The publisher desired greater control over the scope of the users’ interactive experience, and this level of control could not be achieved in the FrameMaker workflow.

For instance, there may be a case where students need to be guided from one exercise to another only after completing the first. This can be achieved only with the features and facilities of XML. Many digital publishers in the education field have entered the space of creating learning modules. A background in XML empowers the publisher with the tools they need to build such modules.

In this case, the textbook publisher was looking for a solution to a specific problem related to content revision cycles. When the publisher explored the scope of XML technology further, they were able to reimagine the technology as a solution for various other publishing workflow-related optimizations as well.

Publishing textbooks

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