Friday, February 11, 2011

My first ebook (sort of)

In the last couple of years the discussion about digital books and story apps in the publishing world has been steadily increasing. It has seemed to escalate in the last few months...there are conferences, workshops, seminars, articles, you name it. 

A group of authors including me had been talking about it privately on a listserv for a few months, then couldn’t resist it any longer and started a group blog called E is for Book. In less than a month we’ve had over 1,500 visitors which indicates there are many people who want to figure out how ebooks will affect the world of children’s books. The first post on the blog gives a good sense of the variety of topics we have been and will be talking about, including ereading devices, software for creating ebooks and apps, glimpses behind the scenes of making a particular title, and much more.

One of the simplest types of digital book is a straightforward conversion of the print book into a digital format without adding additional interactivity or sound. This has been available for a long time, in the form of PDFs. The question is how to get them out into the marketplace. In talking with my publishers, one of the venues they’re working with is Follett Library Resources, which has an ebook section. I don’t have the technical specs yet, but apparently they are using the PDF format. So, since I do the InDesign layouts for my books anyway, it was very easy to add the jacket front and back as single pages, add “endpapers” to page 1 and page 32, and output a PDF. This is just a sample for the publisher and I to discuss, not anything final. But, it is exciting to be moving in this direction, because it will make books more accessible for schools that prefer digital technology for whatever reason.

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