One of the things that Blackboard Fiction does, aside from write educational books for students, is to help other people self-publish. After some small success with my own volume of short stories, ‘Death and Stationery’ (sneaky plug: download Kindle or iBook) I was contacted by the grandmother of a friend. Having self-published her autobiography in paperback, and, although not having many expectations, she was keen to find out how to take the text to the new opportunities electronic publishing could offer.
ePublishing picture books. In these exciting times, everything’s possible. But, as easy as it is to say, and to imagine, it’s actually a shockingly difficult thing to do. When you consider that ePubs and Mobis have run-on text that allows them to have the text resized and to work on several different sizes of screen, and picturebooks, well, don’t, you start to get the idea. How could you format the document so that the images stayed static? How could they fill the page? What about double-page spreads? And text?
Luckily, with ePublishing being an in-development ‘science’ as it were, this problem is starting to be approached by enterprising PoD publishers, App designers. For example, Blurb.com , trusty photobook PoD printer, has some interesting instructions for publishing picturebooks for iPad, the most logical recipient of a picturebook if you’re going to do something as odd as make a *picturebook*, aimed at, you know, *children*, available on a *digital device* (no, it doesn’t entirely hold with me either). These instructions – which are not exactly the simplest, I warn you – explain how to create what is basically a photobook but which will fit an iPad screen and allow for all-important double-page spreads. You can read the instructions here.
Create Book and the other apps also have the ability to add ‘Physics’ to e-picture books. I think that means they do whizzy things, like talk, or move, or they’re *interactive*, you know, because children have no actual patience with real books. (Yes, I’m still not won over yet.) Still, fun to play with with your kids.
Oh. No iPad?
Get stuffed then.
Luckily, an interesting rumour has surfaced today that Apple will announce this Thursday their intention to create – or maybe even their already-built creation – of an eBook creator that will be to ePublishing what GarageBand is to demo and podcast creation. Although this is mooted to initially only be applicable to the lucrative ‘interactive education text’ market, this would certainly open a whole wealth of opportunities to the self-publisher – or services like my own that help others self-publish – if they were to embrace both text and picture eBooks. Clearly a move in Apple’s Great Game with Amazon over the eBook market, it still seems like this type of program would immediately overtake the existing eBook publishers/converters, like the excellent Calibre , which would be, well, really good.
My reaction is to say Come on then, Apple, let’s see what you’ve done, and can I have a copy please?
Hell, we live in exciting times! Fingers crossed you don’t have to have an iPad…