4 Simple Animation Techniques for Ebooks

While many may argue about the relevance of rich media in ebooks, it is without question that animations of any sort are more appealing to readers than static imagery. The idea of creating animations can be intimidating for authors. It’s not about the results – it’s about what’s required to make it happen. It can get ugly. Or worse: expensive.

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In our journey of developing interactive ebooks for others, we have realised the power of animations and leveraged it in multiple ebooks. Such a very minor addition to an image can really give a huge impact to your ebook, and make it stand out from the rest without question.

The real challenge is finding an efficient and easy way to produce animations. In this article we will have some background on animation technologies in ebooks, and then look at a number of relatively easy to produce animation techniques with clear examples. Continue Reading

EPUB and SCORM: A Healthy Affair?

They are both the most popular ingredients of elearning. For some reason, they were just not made for each other. In education, ebooks are an essential component for delivering knowledge to students, remotely and interactively. SCORM on the other hand, is the popular standard for web-based elearning, with sharable content objects (SCO) at its heart. SCORM allows for communication between the LMS and the e-learning content, which leads to the primary advantage of tracking user activity and reporting progress.

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I am surprised how most LMS’s do not have built-in support for EPUB. Take Moodle for example. You can add a Book Resource, which allows you to manually enter book content chapter by chapter. Despite the existence of an external EPUB import add-on, I find it disappointing not to have EPUB as a supported resource at the core of the LMS. Some academic organizations prefer to have their ebooks delivered through a separate portal. Nevertheless, EPUB support in an LMS is crucial.

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How to Edit EPUB Books Manually

At one time or another, you may find yourself cornered into modifying EPUB files manually. This may be the result of certain validation errors that can’t be fixed using your favourite authoring software. In those cases, it’s best to work at the low-level and get your hands dirty, but nothing to fear. You can wash your hands afterwards.main

Our experience with Kotobee showed us many forms of validations errors that are nearly impossible to correct using a software. No matter how much effort we put into Kotobee Author development, there are types of errors that are inevitable. Those errors originate from the user. For example, those who create their ebook by copying and pasting from their external PDF sources, can send along with their content a number of hidden meaningless characters, invisible to the eye, but visible (and prohibited) to the EPUB validator. That is a problem. Continue Reading

Why your EPUB is being rejected from Apple iBooks Store

mainIt has become quite unlikely to submit anything to Apple without getting rejected at the first few attempts. Even ebooks.

Apple. Rejections. A very unfortunate combination. While the most common reaction to those long-awaited rejections would be to flip your keyboard into the air and punch the screen into the back wall, we would not advise that. There is a massive audience behind those over-protected Apple stores, very willing to pay for good products they find. Also, back wall maintenance may be expensive. So take a deep breath. Once you’re calm, let’s resolve the submission issues. Continue Reading

Announcement: Introducing the Kotobee Reader App

featureThe Kotobee Reader app is the latest ebook reading app available on the app stores. Now your users will be able to read your interactive ebooks conveniently on their personal devices and laptops. Kotobee Reader opens ebooks created using Kotobee Author or any other EPUB-authoring software. The app supports reading EPUB and KPUB2 (Kotobee Author format)  file extensions.

Kotobee Reader gives access to the Kotobee official shared library, where anyone can upload an ebook for free. Access any ebook you wish from this library, or upload your own through Kotobee Author.

The Kotobee Reader app is available on the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store, Windows Desktop, and Macintosh Desktop. Continue Reading

Revisiting Your Book Marketing Strategies

I published my first novel a little over three years ago. As part of my promotion for that title and the three that followed, I was featured on a number of other blogs, either as a guest blogger, in an interview or as a spotlight feature. In total, it was over 53 posts. This past weekend I reviewed all of them as I consolidated them into one place. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that 20 of them no longer existed, whether because the post had been deleted or the blog itself no longer existed.

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I want people to understand this: when I published my first book three years ago, blogs were considered an important promotional strategy. Some of it was to improve our SEO, and some of it was to help expand our audience to readers of different blogs. Some authors—myself included—paid companies to arrange blog tours and get us space on other people’s blogs, because 1) there were so many blogs that most people couldn’t keep track of them, and 2) many blogs had a backlog of requests but were more likely to respond to someone they’d already dealt with. In other words, blog tour promoters earned their money.

But now many of those posts are gone, and so are a number of blogs that I posted on.

I’m not bitter about it—a few months ago, I cleaned house on my own blog, mostly to get rid of posts with missing images after I changed email accounts—but it served as an important reminder that indie authors need to constantly reconsider what our options are and where our time is best spent. Here are my recommendations based on what I’ve seen in the last year. Continue Reading

7 Free Ways to Promote Your Book

The most crucial step for the success of any book is marketing. This is an unfortunate truth since the content is what should really determine the book’s success. This is not how the world works, however. Many great books have died silently in the past due to weak marketing. If you spend 2 days writing a book, you should spend 8 days promoting it. This applies to books, ebooks, and any other product on your mind.

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Promoting your book requires time and patience. It’s not as glamorous as writing the book itself. It’s an ongoing process requiring continuous revision and adjustment. While there are many standard methods for general marketing and exposure, we will be looking at methods which can be used for books, with a stronger emphasis on ebooks. The more methods you apply from this list, the greater your chance for success. The most important ingredient here, is patience. Continue Reading

Creating a BMI Calculator Widget for Your Ebook

Book widgets may shape the future of interactive ebook technology. If you want to have utmost flexibility creating interactive ebooks, then its best to learn how to develop book widgets yourself. Following our previous post introducing Book Widgets, in this post we will be actually developing a BMI calculator widget to use in an interactive ebook about health and fitness.

BMI (Body Mass Index) is a metric used to calculate the amount of tissue mass in a human body, and based on that value, categorize the person as underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. The formula is simple: the person’s weight divided by the person’s height squared. The resulting units are kg/m2. To give you an idea, here is a screenshot of what the final widget will look like.

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If you’d like to have the source files for this widget to follow along, you can download it from here. So, let’s start! Continue Reading

Book Widgets: Everything You Need to Know

Book Widgets - Everything you need to know

Book widgets could be the next big thing in digital publishing. Ever since their introduction by Apple’s iBooks Author, they are being used more frequently in interactive ebooks. Especially with their easy customization and integration, they have the potential of rapid expansion in this industry. They resemble Lego blocks, with the difference that they can be reproduced and re-used infinitely. Because the contents of a widget are based on open web standards (HTML5), they can be created or edited in basic HTML/JavaScript editors. Thus, the flexibility.

However, book widgets are considered to be a new topic for many, as there are no confirmed standards yet (or is there?) to be employed by creators other than iBooks Author. So you will find online resources about book widgets scarce. This is why we decided to collect as much information as we can about book widgets, and give it to you here.

This article is divided as follows:

Book widget examples

Types of book widgets

Where to find book widgets?

Adding book widgets in Kotobee Author

How to create book widgets from scratch?

Conclusion

A lot of visuals will be used to make this article light and easy to follow, so no worries. If you’re ready, jump in to the first section. Continue Reading