ePublishing picture books!

Well, it works…

Writing Essays by L E Jenkinson
The original .ppt slide.
Using iBook Author to create the iPad version of ‘Writing Essays’

Having written my book ‘Writing Essays’ in a rather unconventional way – using Powerpoint, in fact, because of its flexible image and textbox manipulation, I found it initially difficult to self-publish. I couldn’t easily convert the file to ePub as the normal route is to convert .doc files. The idea of ‘floating’ images, changing the layout each time the reader changed the text size, also didn’t appeal as the pages all have very fixed layout. The only possible route was to save each slide as a mid-res .jpg (a saga in itself!) and paste each one individually into a Word .doc with no borders, page breaking between each image. It took forever. For print, this was fine, but for eReader – initially Kindle – removed the possibility of searching the text of the document. I intend to use the same method to create the next book as it’s most important that it works as a printed paperback, but in the future I also want to be able to publish picture books as eBooks, so iBooks is quite a decent alternative.

Getting to grips with the formatting tools is quite easy – they’re pretty standard, similar to Word, if you’ve experience of ePub formatting, although I’m having to reformat the style of the pages so that they’ll work on the different page dimensions of an iPad. Luckily, I can copy from the .ppt and paste into the iBooks Author document – useful for the images –  which means I can easily re-organise the sections of each page, although if I want to allow text to be searched I need to copy it into a text box and reformat it to match.  However, what’s even more fun is that it’s really a whole new edition. For iPad, I’m looking to include some whizzy things next, such as section tests, mp3s explaining sections of the book, and moving images of Bert. I’m hoping this will add to the multi-platform saleability of the book itself, perhaps even allowing for the website to be integrated into it. For my educational purposes, that’s pretty exciting.

More as I work out the rest of the exciting iBooks Author details…

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