Looking for new ways to digitally repurpose its book content, John Wiley has entered a partnership with Near-Time, a small North Carolina technology developer, to use its wiki-based software to easily turn technical books into revenue-producing, interactive online publishing platforms. Near-Time’s software allows a publisher to publish book content in multiple digital formats—from content updates, text corrections and message boards to blogs and video content.

Wiki-based software allows publishers to post interconnected content permitting users multiple levels of access to the text itself, along with other digital functionality.Wiley is using Near-Time’s technology to launch a pilot program using titles from its programming imprint.Wrox Press. The first title, Beginning Active Server Pages 3.0, has been posted online and is supported by advertising.

“Publishers want to extend the e-book format,” Near-Time’s Joel Bush said. “Our technology offers publishers the ability to get consumer feedback, add rich media, create an online community or even make a book available online while it is still being edited.” Bush noted that the software lets publishers revive interest in backlist titles and easily promote new titles. Near-Time’s software also allows publishers to offer content free or through subscription access or to support the text with advertising.

Jim Minatel, acquisitions director for Wiley Technology Publishing and Wrox Press, said Wiley was “really excited” about the pilot program. Minatel described it as a “first step to get the process in place,” and said a much larger rollout of Wrox Press titles is planned. Wiley plans to use Near-Time technology to offer more programming titles from Wrox Press in the coming months, “a handful of complete books surrounded by free pages from other titles,” said Minatel. While the pilot Wrox title is ad-supported and free to users, other Wrox Press texts will offer some form of subscription access, usually a one-time payment.

Minatel said Wiley was impressed with Near-Time’s “levels of access and editorial selectivity. We can put up draft content and the technical community can play with it. But not everyone can rewrite the book. We still want control.” And Wiley authors, said Minatel, are buying into the program. “They understand it offers an incremental revenue stream.It doesn’t cannibalize the content and gets more exposure for their books.”