Candidate Statement - Keith Fahlgren

Nomination for IDPF Board of Directors, November 2012 election

Keith Fahlgren - Safari Books Online

Dear fellow IDPF members,

I submit my nomination for election to the IDPF Board of Directors.

The members of IDPF have built a robust foundation for digital publishing. The globally expanding membership represents a diverse community and EPUB 3 is a clean, capable technology standard. However, these fundamental building blocks require more investment.

In the next three years, the IDPF must focus in these areas:

  • Developing clear documentation and best practices to ensure that reading systems consistently implement the technical capabilities of EPUB 3 to achieve a common, interoperable experience
  • Promoting tools and techniques that allow digital publications to be accessible to readers across a range of cultures and reading abilities
  • Broadening both the technical contributors’ and IDPF’s own leadership to include and better serve the international publishing community outside of Europe and North America

This industry and the IDPF itself are broadly segmented into three primary groups: the publisher, the distributor, and the implementor. I’ve been lucky enough to work in each of these areas during the past decade. After years of experimentation with ebooks, O’Reilly Media became one of the first publishers to release their complete front- and backlist in EPUB on top of systems I designed and developed. Accomplishing this goal required outreach beyond O’Reilly, so I worked with Adobe engineers in early 2008 to develop the software that transformed semantically rich DocBook XML books into highly accessible EPUB.

My experience at Threepress Consulting, the makers of the Bookworm open source EPUB reader and the HTML5-based Ibis Reader, taught me to understand the complexity and tradeoffs of implementing and selling an EPUB reading system. At Threepress we helped a wide range of publishers and distributors adopt the EPUB standard through our writing, public speaking, and smaller, targeted instruction. Our publications remain among the most frequently cited guides to EPUB best practices, and I intend to use that experience to further the IDPF documentation initiative.

Finally, my transition at the start of 2012 to Safari Books Online has shown me the digital publishing world through the lens of the distributor. As a digital subscription library more than 11 years old with more than 25,000 books from more than 100 publisher partners, Safari’s perspective on digital books is practical and experienced. Our focus on accessibility and our broad international customer base give me both the understanding and passion to help lead the IDPF forward.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the further development of digital reading and EPUB.

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