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e-pub license and format
How do you guys charge for an e-pub license? Is it a separate charge only? I was considering a big discount to those who purchased the entire desktop family. Also, is there a special format to deliver in or will the desktop files suffice?
I have yet to sell an epub license, so I shouldn’t offer my opinion on pricing.
However, I have tinkered with epub files and I say desktop files work just fine. After all, epubs are just zipped HTML, CSS and whatever else the book needs. One of the main softwares used to edit epub is Sigil, which offers instructions on how to include custom fonts here:
Also, EPUB 3 specification includes OpenType (OTF/TTF) and WOFF font formats:
I usually use the woff files for epub because they are smaller and (should be) improved for screen over the normal desktop fonts. I do appreciate when foundries price their epub licenses very friendly though. I cannot understand the pricing schemes of some. A small individual book isn’t an app or comparable with a server license.
edited August 2015
ePub licensing is all over the place right now, a big part of that is because electronic documents are a very broad category. There are churches with pdf newsletters. There are multinational corporations with massive b2b/b2c/b2e/b2g campaigns. Tiny self-publishing authors. Mega international book publishers. Weird small trade journals. Massive mainstream magazines. And so on. Large and Small. Long and Short. It's hard to have a simple turn-key licensing model that covers all of that.
It's important to remember that using font data in electronic documents has pretty big advantages over using rasterized graphics or default fonts. Better design, rendering, usability, and file sizes. Those advantages, and the inherent bundling of the font data, should have some value beyond the standard per-seat print licensing model.
I don't like or trust opaque or complicated pricing schemes, and I don't want to charge a one customer more than another just because they have more money to spend, so I've been trying to simplify my approach. I'm still handling ePub licenses on a case-by-case basis, but from what I've experienced, most uses fall into one of three categories:
- First is a one-time fee that lets the user use the fonts in whatever ePub, eBook, commercial PDF, or whatever static-document-with-embedded-or-encapsulated-font-data they want. Forever. It's very open ended and simple to administrate, but thens to dramatically undervalue the use of the fonts for the Large and Long customers. I believe this is how Typekit handles their subscription fonts (but limited to Adobe publishing platform, their goal here is pretty obvious to get publishers locked into the Adobe platform).
- Second is one-off license for single titles. Like a book. Sometimes these are for a single design of a book, sometimes they're for the life of a title and include all subsequent printings, revisions, expansions, or whatever. This can be volume discounted for multiple titles but isn't great for magazines or corporate publishing. This is how MyFonts suggests foundries handle ePub.
- Last is a subscription license for reoccuring titles or corporate publishing. Like a magazine or a company with frequent and diverse publications. Not sure I've seen anyone offering this turn-key, but this is fairly common for privately negotiated ePub licenses. Discounts for multiple years or titles. Options to become perpetual. Etc.
I think everyone agrees that licensing of (everything but desktop) fonts should become easier and more transparent but we still have to see the good practice examples and the broad acceptance of these from the market. I think Fontstand is a great step in this direction when it comes to desktop fonts and comping. But I would like to see more attempts for contemporary solutions to licensing given the fact that most things designers design these days live in several media. And these are still usually covered by different, individual licenses except an enterprise agreement.
I proposed a differently-sized-buckets approach before (and will put this idea out again in my ATypI session): why not combine a 1-title ebook license + a 1-seat desktop license with a 1K web license in a size “Small” bucket. If the customer needs a bigger amount of one of those things, they need to get the next tier. That reflects the scope of the use and the size of the company in a rough but simple way and would reduce the number of individual licenses a foundry has to maintain, and a customer has to understand. It would also mean an increase in price, which a lot of casual users will complain about. But who only needs the fonts to make a one-off wedding invite or occasionally play around with has Fontstand for the high-end-market and tons of free/cheap options on the other end.
I read your last paragraph as being self-contradictory, but maybe I'm not a great reader.
Can you elaborate? I’m not a good English writer and reader.
The details of font licensing aren't going to get simpler. And we really need to get better at how we handle them. An easy, automated, à la carte license that discounts as options are bundled together is certainly an ideal solution, I'm just trying to think through an actual specific way to think about the somewhat complicated ePub part.
This may be a moot point or question, but have we exhausted the models used by image licensing, which is based on usage?
I offer a flat rate eBook license for about 2.5 the desktop price. Unlimited books, unlimited titles.
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