Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nook with a Book on a Hook

I was reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to my girls last night and this page really caught my attention (click=large):


It makes me wonder if that is what Barnes and Noble had in mind when they named their new eBook reading device...

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Monday, August 17, 2009

eBook Architects Website Launch

The new website for my company, eBook Architects has now been launched. The company is an outgrowth of my Kindle formatting work, but it covers much, much more ground. eBook Architects offers conversion services to authors and publishers, converting books into Kindle/Mobipocket, ePub, eReader, and Smashwords-compliant files. We also provide much-needed advice and assistance to publishers who are trying to develop in-house conversion systems or design processes that can help them make their own eBook conversions easier.

In addition to these great eBook services, we have partnered with other providers to offer great deals on services commonly needed by independent authors, including subject index creation, proofreading, interior layout and typesetting, cover design, marketing, and website development. These services are all provided by professionals in their respective fields, with special rates or discounts for eBook Architects clients.

Please spread the word about our new website and about the great services we are offering. If you are in need of any eBook assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me. You can follow company news on Twitter (@ebookarchitects), and even become a fan of us on Facebook.

Oh, and will continue to be a resource for anyone trying to figure out the Kindle format, as well as the central hub for information about my book, Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

eBooks are ugly, but it is not the fonts

Paul Biba over at TeleRead pointed out the other day a post at the Wired blog by Priya Ganapati about the ugliness of eBooks. I have written a response at length over at TeleRead. Please read the post there.

For the record, I am opposed to ugly eBooks, and I work very hard to ensure that none of the eBooks I create for my clients has that problem.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

eBook Reader Screens

There has been a lot of talk lately about eBook device screens, so I thought I would add my thoughts to the mix.

Stephen Windwalker wrote recently about the future of E Ink and what he expects we will see in versions of the Kindle coming in the next few years. He based his predictions on information from the makers of the e-paper screens and on the assumption that Amazon will stick with that technology indefinitely, and the predictions sound very plausible. My concern with that possible roadmap is that the "full-color" device Stephen mentions for 2011 will probably be quite anemic in actual color. The current color E Ink technology is limited to pastels, and from what I can tell will always look washed out and not true to the actual colors being displayed. The technology just seems flawed in that regard.

Note: As mentioned in the comments, I originally misread and misquoted Stephen in this post. After he graciously pointed that out to me, I have adjusted my previous thoughts. My sincerest apologies, Stephen.

The most interesting news recently is that PixelQi is developing a screen with three different settings: low-power black and white, e-paper, and full-color LCD. It sounds to me like this technology has some great value and will become a condender in the marketplace. Add to that Mike Cane's guess that PixelQi might be providing Apple with screens for its rumored tablet/eBook device, and we have some tantalizing reasons to stay up with the news.

However, I'd like to point out that three screen display modes is still that: different display modes. Just because I am outside do I have to stop seeing color? That might work well on an OLPC, but I like the best possible display on my devices.

That's where a little-known and seemingly ignored technology comes into play. I don't remember where I first heard of the Qualcomm mirasol display, but I am pretty sure it was not in relation to eBooks. The mirasol technology is reflective like E Ink, but it is full-color with faster-than-video refresh rates. Yes, you heard me right. We could have an eBook device that uses the same power consumption as the current ones, but with color and video. Where do I sign up?

The bummer is that the technology is still in development. Qualcomm has successfully deployed monochrome screens, but apparently making the full-color ones is more difficult.

I think the major players in the eBook market are barking up the wrong tree. E Ink is fine for basic devices, but I would much prefer the mirasol screen to a washed-out, pastel, slow-refresh E Ink screen that we might possibly have in two years.

Here is a sales video that might be interesting to the more sales or techie-oriented among us, and here are some interesting pictures of the full-color screen in different lighting situations.

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Free eBooks for Read an eBook Week

In honor of Read an eBook Week, some of my Kindle Formatting clients have graciously allowed me to offer their books as free downloads. The downloads are DRM-free Mobipocket files, which can be uploaded to an Amazon Kindle using the USB cable or via e-mail, or they can also be read on your PC or any other Mobipocket-supported device. Drop by the web page and take a look at the great titles that will be available next week!

NOTE: These books will be available for download only during the week of March 8-14.

Update: The books are now up, and the number has increased to 29! Enjoy!

Update 2: The free eBook downloads promotion for Read an eBook Week was a great success! A total of 7,200 downloads were fulfilled, and more than 4,000 visitors came by the site. Thank you to all of the authors and publishers who allowed me to make their books available and to everyone who dropped by and supported the promotion.

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rand McNally

Rand McNally, the well-known atlas company, has released three atlases for the Kindle: Washington State, Southern California, and Northern California. I was pleased to help in the design and implementation of these great books, and I think they exemplify the possibilities that are available on the Kindle for those with the courage and know-how to pursue them. Here is a screenshot from the Washington State Road Atlas:

Washington State Road Atlas

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Adobe InDesign CS4

I'm sorry for my long silence over the last month or so. Life has been really full, with lots of great projects. I am also in the process of writing a book about formatting for the Kindle... more on that later.

I just wanted to point you all to a great little post at Bill McCoy's blog about Adobe InDesign CS4. This latest edition of the popular book layout program supports exporting directly to the ePub format directly. This is a HUGE step for the eBook industry, and one that I applaud with all of my strength. The more the traditional publishing industry grabs hold of the eBook market, the more we will see the eBooks become as common in households as digital music.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Kindle Saves You Time

Here is a nice interview with a Kindle user (on the indispensable Lifehacker), with some examples of how the Kindle can make life a little easier. Be sure to check out the YouTube video, which is a great introduction to the Kindle. I have even added it to the sidebar here.

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

HCSB on the Kindle

Thom Rainer, CEO of LifeWay, the publishers of the HCSB Bible translation, has written an article about his use of the Kindle. I am posting the article here because he has a unique perspective on using the Kindle in religious services, and also because I created the Kindle version of the HCSB as part of my day job. Download it, or any of the other Kindle books I have worked on (see the sidebar for a list), for a sample of the work I can do for you!

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Read an eBook Week

March 2-8, 2008, is the annual Read an eBook Week. In honor of that event, Epublishers weekly has blogged Michael Pastore's list of 30 Benefits of eBooks. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Ebooks preserve books. (The library of Alexandria was burned and the collection ruined. Richard Burton's wife, after his death and against his wishes, destroyed a book he had been working on for ten years. The original manuscript of Carlyle's The French Revolution was lost when a friend's servant tossed it into the fire.) Ebooks are ageless: they do not burn, mildew, crumble, rot, or fall apart. Ebooks ensure that literature will endure.
  2. Ebooks, faster to produce than paper books, allow readers to read books about current issues and events.
  3. Ebooks are easily updateable, for correcting errors and adding information.
  4. Ebooks are searchable. Quickly you can find anything inside the book. Ebooks are globally searchable: you can find information in many ebooks.
  5. Ebooks make reading accessible to persons with disabilities. Text can be re-sized for the visually impaired. Screens can be lit for reading in the dark.
  6. Ebooks empower individuals to write and to publish, and in this way help to challenge "the crushing power of big publishing", that excludes so many authors from the New York City publishing circus. Publishing can move from the impersonal and profitable, to the personal and pleasurable.
  7. Ebooks help paperbook publishers to sell paperbooks. Cory Doctorow has explained that the giving away of ebooks, for free, has helped to sell the paperback editions of his stories and novels.

Update: Rita Toews posted a comment below with a link to a site with more info about Read an eBook Week. Check it out!