The subsoil of the city of Rotterdam is a fascinating world where transport, electricity, garbage collection, archeology and other functions compete for space. The city wants to open up this largely unknown world to it's inhabitants and others through a series of interactive books. A big challenge was the limitations they faced in finding a great publication tool that worked on both Apple and Android devices. Kotobee not only helped them solve this problem, but the versatility in using widgets and coding also gave them more leeway when it came to their ebooks' capabilities.

We interviewed Mark van Heck, an ebook developer in this project, to learn how Kotobee Author helped achieve the city's requirements.

The Challenge

What challenges did you face prior to using Kotobee?

Before Kotobee, we mainly used Apple’s iBooks Author. It is a great system, but unfortunately, it only publishes to Apple devices. We wanted our interactive book to be available for Android devices as well.

What other options did you explore?

We tested dozens of systems, both online magazine makers and offline systems, using several criteria. The end-product (the interactive book) had to work without an internet connection on both Android tablets and iPads, it had to provide a smooth, book-like experience with elements that could be adaptable through code, and it had to be able to implement HTML5 widgets.

“We mainly used Apple’s iBooks Author ... but unfortunately, it only publishes to Apple devices. We wanted our interactive book to be available for Android devices as well.”

The Solution

How did you hear about Kotobee?

I found out about Kotobee through a developer colleague. I also stumbled upon it while searching for different publication platforms.

What drove you to choose Kotobee?

The most unique solution that struck me was the possibility it provided for manipulating elements with your own code.

Has Kotobee's support team contributed to your selection criteria in any way?

Yes. Kotobee’s support team was helpful and swift with answers. We experienced this firsthand experience when we scheduled a demo with them, and it played a role in the decision process.

How difficult was the onboarding process with Kotobee, transitioning from an older system?

We did face some difficulties. It was harder to develop an exact layout in Kotobee than in some other systems.

Is there a particular aspect of Kotobee that you rely on the most?

I really rely on Kotobee’s option of implementing HTML5 widgets and adapting the code.

“Kotobee’s support team was helpful and swift with answers. We experienced this firsthand experience when we scheduled a demo with them, and it played a role in the decision process.”

The Results

How did Kotobee influence the success of your business? Any metrics would be useful.

Since this is a newly launched product, we hope to reach a lot of people, so the number of downloads is important.

The Future

What are your plans for the future?

This book is destined to be the first in a series about the subsoil of Rotterdam. The apps are available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. A second part is planned.

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