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Enhanced ebook

Beneath the Ink: Enhanced eBooks done right?
January 14, 2015 | 2:25 pm

enhanced ebooksI've been skeptical of enhanced ebooks. When I read a book, especially fiction, I want to immerse myself in the book. I don't want to be distracted by anything else. Non-fiction is different. There I like links, tables, charts, images and other elements (like video) which can enhance the experience. I haven't found many enhanced ebooks that worked for me, but recently I had an opportunity to interview Sherisse Hawkins of Beneath the Ink. I think they are on a good path. Sherisse comes from a tech and entertainment background which gives her insight into how people want to be entertained--one of...

How about an entire product placement eBook?
November 12, 2014 | 3:22 pm

41Zl2IfKk2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Something curious showed up on the screen saver of my Kindle this morning. It was a free book, [easyazon-link asin="B00PD2MQRA" locale="us"]The Vanishing Game[/easyazon-link], and at the bottom of the ad was the Land Rover logo. Curious, I downloaded and read it while waiting for a meeting to begin. (It's a quick read). When I got home, I saw the press release about the book on The Digital Book World. Not knowing exactly what it was, I was expecting a pretty bad book, with long, technical info dumps about the Land Rover and its capabilities. I was pleasantly surprised by a decent story, of...

Guardian interactive e-book video game writing critique misfires
July 13, 2013 | 4:38 pm

Britain's The Guardian has just run another generic anti-tech critique of modern technophilia and the push for interactive storytelling, this time from columnist Damien Walter. He takes issue with the predictions that "traditional fiction will be superannuated by new technology," proclaiming: "Novels remain the best interactive media." Walter feels that some generic "we" has been led sadly astray by tech hype to desert "those fusty old book things and their tiresome words" in favor of "interactive multimedia experiences." This slightly skips over the fact that the quintessential tech product which really transformed publishing, writing, and the world of books, was not...

Check out the Boston Globe’s amazing 68 Blocks e-project
March 4, 2013 | 11:38 am

68 BlocksFor roughly the past year, a number of Boston Globe reporters have been working on a fairly groundbreaking interactive journalism project known collectively as the 68 Blocks series. The project was designed to "document life in [Bowdoin-Geneva], Boston’s most troubled neighborhood, over the course of a year." Along with traditional print elements, the project included a wealth of photos, videos and graphics, and now the entire project—multimedia elements and all—have been compiled into a single e-book. Titled 68 Blocks: Life, Death, Hope in Boston's Most Troubled Neighborhood, it's available on Amazon, iTunes and BN.com for $2.99. (The e-book is free to Boston Globe subscribers at...

Jumsoft releases five new iBooks Author templates
February 17, 2013 | 3:39 pm

Two weeks after Apple unveiled its iBooks Author program for designing interactive e-books, template king Jumsoft was there with its first set of iBooks Author templates, dubbed Book Palette. Jumsoft has now expanded that collection to 25 with the announcement of five new designs that offer “ … upmarket design quality at a reasonable price.” The five new templates include the crisp Decorum, the elegant Royal Title, and the colorful Taste Buds designs. All 25 templates contain the full set of standard sections and page layouts provided in the iBooks Author app, including covers, chapter pages, text pages, tables of contents, glossary pages and more....

Inkling Habitat’s media-rich e-book platform is now free for all
February 12, 2013 | 5:26 pm

The news, released today, that the San Francisco-based Inkling has decided to give away for free its "collaborative digital publishing environment" known as Inkling Habitat was probably the e-publishing community's most eyebrow-raising story of the week thus far. As Laura Hazard Owen wrote today for Paid Content, the company "has spent three years and $30 million to build Habitat, a cloud-based set of digital publishing tools that let users create and collaborate on high-quality, interactive ebooks." That sounds like fairly exciting stuff. Although if Inking Habitat actually manages to get itself off the proverbial ground over the next few months with any sort...

Flipick To Allow ePub3 from Adobe InDesign
February 7, 2013 | 10:30 am

E-book formatting is a challenge, as I've written about in previous posts. Later this month, Flipick is launching a tool that might make it easier. From their press release: Flipick is a new online service that allows book publishers and design shops to produce their own ePub3 compatible eBooks directly from within Adobe InDesign. This new service is quick, and capable of producing rich, informative and interactive text in an utmost cost-effective manner. Flipick is expected to be popular with publishers creating fixed-layout eBooks such as K-12 and scientific textbooks, storybooks and graphic novels in a format that dynamically adapts to disparate reading...

The problem with enhanced e-books
February 2, 2012 | 1:15 pm

On Salon.com, Laura Miller takes a look at the current crop of interactive, “enhanced” books and discusses some of their major shortcomings. The problem with these books, she points out, is that the interactive “bells and whistles” can distract from the actual storytelling: I sat down with my iPad to read “The Yellow Submarine” with a friend’s 7-year-old twins, and within 10 minutes, we were embroiled in a conflict that captured the central, nagging problem with the enhanced e-book concept. Desmond liked playing with the interactive features — the digital equivalent of the tabs and flaps...

Melville House embraces QR codes to connect digital to print
August 5, 2011 | 8:17 am

Brooklyn based Melville House Publishing has launched a new program, HybridBooks, that lets a customer scan a QR code printed on the back of a book to access supplemental material in digital format. Here's a sample of the related content, which it calls "illuminations," for the novella "THE DUEL by Giacomo Casanova." The New York Observer has more details: "For example, The Illumination for the HybridBook version of Anton Chekhov's The Duel contains an essay on dueling by Thomas Paine, poems by Lord Byron, philosophy by Nietzsche, an anti-dueling church sermon, an argument in favor of dueling by a U.S. Senator, and...

Apple explains how to sync narration tracks in EPUB files for iBookstore
August 4, 2011 | 9:31 am

Back in June, Apple introduced a new iBook feature it calls Read Aloud, which is similar to Nook's Read to Me feature in that it provides a human voice narration that syncs to the onscreen text. In both commercial cases, the feature is meant primarily for children's books. Now Apple has updated its iBookstore Assets Guide to include instructions on how to add a Read Aloud narration track to your EPUB file. You can't access the latest guide unless you're a registered iTunes Connect member, but eBookNewswer has printed part of the relevant section: "You can create a Read Aloud book...

Digital textbook company Inkling announces more investors
August 3, 2011 | 11:18 am

Inkling, which develops digital textbooks for the iPad, has been around for a couple of years now, but this year its been steadily building up steam (or at least cash) as it prepares to dramatically expand its offerings this fall. Earlier this year it secured funding from Pearson and McGraw-Hill, and today it announced a second round of funding from several investors. Inkling's approach is to augment textbooks with interactive, social, and annotation features, then sell them by the chapter for $3 each. The approach may or may not be cheaper--CEO Matt MacInnis says it can end up costing a...

Wolfram launches Computable Document Format (CDF) to create interactive documents
July 21, 2011 | 3:12 pm

Today Wolfram launched CDF, a new document format that incorporates interactive charts, infographics, tables, and anything else that you can produce in the company's own Mathematica (or that you can import as MathML expressions from Excel and Word). Conrad Wolfram writes, "The idea is to provide a knowledge container that’s as easy to author as documents, but with the interactivity of apps—for CDFs to make live interactivity as everyday a way to communicate as spreadsheets made charts." Although Wolfram is positioning this as an open document format, the readers over at Slashdot are skeptical about the EULA and potential issues down...

Integrating footnotes and endnotes in digital texts
July 15, 2011 | 8:13 am

A New Kind of Book has posted a couple of examples of how ebooks might add supplemental content like footnotes without interrupting the reading flow. If you've experienced footnotes or endnotes on the average modern ebook (at least on the major retailers' platforms), you've probably noticed how clumsily this has been handled to date. It usually requires clicking to a "back of the book" section, then pressing a return button—all the shuffling of print with none of the helpful spatial cues like keeping your finger between pages. The two examples he shows include a pop-up window that hovers over the...

At Cathedral Rock Publishing, every ebook is a potential storefront
July 10, 2011 | 12:14 pm

20110710-121923.jpgIf you think spam on the Kindle or Nook store is annoying, how would you feel if authors started producing "ebooks" that were loaded with affiliate marketing links and direct sales pitches? Oh right, that's called the Web. But Cathedral Rock Publishing wants to bring that wearying concept into the world of digital publishing in a big way. Although the company is promoting its new "Ebook is the Store" concept in terms of musicians selling their songs from within an ebook, in reality the idea is that you can sell anything, or better still everything. Here are two cringe-inducing bits...

Video games can be another form of e-story for novelists and journalists
November 18, 2010 | 2:58 am

E-books are not the only electronic medium attracting writers. The New York Observer has an article about journalists and novelists migrating to the video game field. Not that authors working in other media is necessarily new; prose writers have dabbled in theatre, movies, and television for as long as those media have been around. But the video game storytelling form brings new sets of challenges to writers—as well as new opportunities for creativity.. In addition to working on a project involving a major movie license, [journalist and fiction writer Tom] Bissell and his partner, Rob Auten—who,...

First enhanced ebook published in France
September 20, 2010 | 8:58 am

eyrolles.jpgThat's according to The Bookseller, which says that Editions Eyrolles is releasing Photoshop Elements, Spécial Débutants [for beginners] by Cyril Bruneau and Bernard Richebé, includes 45 minutes of educational videos and was conceived as a tutorial composed of practical files, the company said. The aim is to "give a real added value to professional works, where a savoir-faire in a given field needs to be demonstrated and explained," the publisher said. The book will be sold through the French iBookstore. Eyrolles will be publishing another enhanced ebook at the end of the year which will include flashcards. They...

Enhanced ebook edition of Pillars of the Earth released for the iPad
July 20, 2010 | 9:08 am

pillars-tiein-bookshot.pngReceived a press release about an "amplified" edition of Pillars of the Earth. It will be for the iPad and is now available at the iTunes store for $12.99. The enhanced edition includes an interactive Character Tree, contextual video and still images blending into the ebook from the corresponding section of the Starz television series, Follett's Multimedia Diary which contains his on-set impressions of bring the book to the screen, interviews with the actors, director and producers, and music from the series. You can find a video demo here. This look like a good use of the iPad platform....

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