Publishing E-Books (Part One)

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Nook. Kindle. Kobo. Oh My! This semester, I am beyond fortunate to be able to take a digital publishing class and if I hadn’t already geeked out about the class title, you should have seen me on day one! It was energizing to be around a dozen or so literary lovers that discuss books the whole class. What was refreshing was when we introduced ourselves to the class, we had to share what format of reading we prefer, and to my surprise, almost everyone said a physical, print book! Now, if we are all in a digital publishing class, what does that even look like?!

The first two weeks of classes, we dug into praises and criticisms of the e-book BUT also came up with creative ways the e-book can be more enjoyable. We found that we wanted to physical engagement with the digital copy of the book. Here are some examples our class came up with to enhance the digital reading experience:

  • Pinpointing geography
    • Similar to Snapchat, maybe being able to see who else around you is reading the same book and being able to chat with them online
  • “Discover Weekly”
    • Like Spotify, having suggested titles to download for further reads – updating regularly
  • Texture simulation
    • Being able to see the pages aging and crinkling from prior readers’ usage (from a library)
    • Dog-eared pages visual
  • Customized Personal Bookshelf
    • We liked the idea of being able to organize your digital bookshelf how you would like: genre, color, hardcover/paperback, horizontal/vertical, etc.

Moving beyond the ‘what ifs’ of digital books, we are knee deep in the language of epub files aka xhtml. This was all Greek to me, but I am fascinated by the intricacies of coding – granted I’m a novice if you ever knew one! It is pretty cool thought that now I can look at the back end of web pages and the metadata and actually know what I am looking at! Knowing this language allows digital book designers to modify content, give more specific information about that content, and style the content. After we nail these pieces, we are starting our 2 big projects: CREATING and PUBLISHING e-books! One of which will be an older edition of a classic that has not been moved over to an e-book. The second project will be an original campus published print book that we will be able to have our names in the credit lines!

Wish me luck!

What are your thoughts on e-books? What should I consider as I am creating 2 to go out into the world? 


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