Skip to main content


675 Interactive eBooks in 7 Months: Innovative Content Technology

Digital Content Development


Founded in 1880 as a small Dutch publisher, Elsevier has evolved into a global publishing empire that provides more than 20,000 products to the healthcare, science, and education verticals.


For the launch of Elsevier’s new Student Consult and Expert Consult portals, 675 interactive medical eBooks based on print counterparts had to be produced in just 7 months.

Elsevier envisioned eTextbooks with rich media, social learning links, on- and offline search capabilities, and real-time content syncing across iPads, iPhones, PCs, and Macs.


Aptara, which has created more than 800,000 interactive eBook pages using Inkling’s Habitat publishing platform, was Elsevier’s choice for design and production. Aptara partnered with Inkling to meet the project’s aggressive schedule and budget.

Tackling the project required designing a new workflow, processes, and new scheduling and production tools. Aptara developed the custom workflow in collaboration with Elsevier and Inkling, and its content technology engineers created scheduling and production tools (xPublish, Highlight Proofreading, IDMapper, PXED, a table of contents creator, and a Greek entity checker) that:

  • Managed the processing and delivery of all 675 titles
  • Maximized automation and productivity
  • Reduced errors and costs

Aptara’s vigilant project management ensured adherence to the new processes while maintaining content quality. 

Employing just-in-time process engineering, the project-specific tools delivered the entirety of the backlist at precisely scheduled intervals. All stakeholders could see and edit the status reports, which were shared daily to ensure open and frequent communication.

Templated page designs simplified output. Aptara’s team included content architects, who scoped the eBooks’ enhancements; CSS experts, who created the custom styles; and HTML5 experts, who managed the conversions. Together, the team designed and developed highly structured content—a necessity for flexible, reusable content.


The new technology accelerated production and kept Elsevier’s project on budget. It resulted in a three-fold increase in productivity at each step in the production process, and the solution significantly reduced the number of people who had to be hired and trained.

Live production began July 1, 2013. By January 31, 2014, the project was complete: all 675 interactive Elsevier titles were delivered within the 7-month deadline, and each met Elsevier’s strict quality standards.

The number of titles housed in the new Student Consult portal and Expert Consult portal continues to grow. Combining authoritative, world-class content from Elsevier and improved search, rich media, and social and community features from Aptara and Inkling ensured the platforms’ success. The Elsevier portals are among the most efficient learning tools available to students and medical professionals today.