Book Format Options:

Recommendations from Jen Simmons

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Format Pros Cons Example Verdict
Turn.js-based website
  • Looks like a book. Uses a page turning metaphor familiar to users of digital book readers.
  • Because the book exists as a website, it's easy to setup free access to a sample chapter and it's easy to link to & from external websites.
  • Readers can more easily cut and paste from the website to their coding environment.
  • Laborious and tedious to place content.
  • Text doesn't resize.
  • Fixed-sized book doesn't resize for different size screens.
  • Requires paywall infrastructure for restricting and managing access to the website.
Chapter 2 in turn.js  
Website created using responsive-web-design, web standards, and progressive enhancement
  • Works on a wider-range of devices and sizes of screen.
  • Works across a wider range of web browers.
  • Fully accessible, text resizes.
  • Because the book exists as a website, it's easy to setup free access to a sample chapter and it's easy to link to & from external websites.
  • Readers can more easily cut and paste from the website to their coding environment.
  • Might not "look like a book" with sexy page turning animations. Might feel like a website.
  • Requires paywall infrastructure for restricting and managing access to the website.
Early prototype sketch (v1) Design exploration needed to see what kind of book-like interface we could come up with.
iBooks Author book
  • Provides a book metaphor in a popular and powerful app.
  • Authoring tool makes it easy to place long-form content.
  • Might allow us to use HTML5 inside a book (further exploration needed).
  • Apple provides ecommerce platform for books with marketing tools.
  • The product makes sense to the customer as an object they've bought — a file to download and keep.
  • Book product only works in iBooks (iPhone/iPad/iPod only).
  • Can only be sold through the iBooks store, with Apple receiving a 30% cut.
  Need to try it out, creating an iBooks Author book example to learn more.
iOS Mobile App (the above responsive-web-design website wrapped up as an app with PhoneGap)
  • Provides all the technology we need.
  • The product makes sense to the customer as an object they've bought — a file to download and keep.
  • Could be offered along with the RWD website described above. Build one site, ship in two places (on the web and as an iOS app).
  • While a lot of publishers are making apps from their books, books and apps are different creatures in most customers' minds.
  • Sold through the Apple App store, with Apple receiving a 30% cut.
   
Traditional eBook files: ePub, Mobi, DAISY and PDF
  • Known quantity.
  • One file format or another will work on all ebook readers.
  • Can place videos in some file formats.
  • Can't implement any HTML5 technology.
  • No possibilities for the reader to edit code examples. No live demonstrations.
  • Provides nothing new.
  No
EPUB 3 book
  • Might be awesome.
  • Might be too early. Existing ebook readers don't support the format yet.
  More research needed

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