BookWright and eBooks

BookWright and eBooks – a great option for publishing family projects …

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If you think Blurb is just for photo books, think again. However, the fact that Blurb is focused on photos makes it a great platform for family history publishing projects. It supports the written stories and it shows off the photos and family ephemera to best advantage. Blurb doesn’t provide the editorial services you’ll find at other publishing platforms, but it offers unmatched layout tools…

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BookWright and eBooks

If you think Blurb is just for photo books, think again. However, the fact that Blurb is focused on photos makes it a great platform for family history publishing projects. It supports the written stories and it shows off the photos and family ephemera to best advantage. Blurb doesn’t provide the editorial services you’ll find at other publishing platforms, but it offers unmatched layout tools and support.

Blurb’s free BookWright software will help you create a gorgeous print book but it is also probably the easiest way to create your own ebook. BookWright supports both reflowable and fixed-length ebooks. Reflowable ebooks are the “text heavy” ebooks you read on Kindle and iPad devices and in most reader apps. The fixed-length ebook can only be read on iPads. Reflowable ebooks support images, but only within the flow of the text. If you want more control over each page’s layout and design you will need to create a fixed-length book. The conversion cost for a fixed-length book is $9.99. Currently the reflowable conversion is still in beta and is free to use.

BookWright is a layout program. While you can enter and edit text within the app, it does not have the writing tools you will find in word-processing apps or writing platforms. Once your manuscript is ready, BookWright takes over the layout effort – page layout, font styles, image placement and such. There are a number of design templates to make the layout process as easy as possible, but you can also develop your own custom templates if you wish.

Getting started is easy. Download and install the BookWright software on your desktop. There is a very nice user guide at the site. A good way to start is to create a “test” project and use it to try out BookWright’s features as you work your way through the guide.

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This chart provides a quick overview of the BookWright desktop. From here you can import photos and text files (in RTF format) so they are easily accessible when you’re ready to include them on a page. You can choose to use a pre-designed page template or create your own. BookWright offers 50 ebook-compatible fonts that have been licensed for use with ebooks. You’ll find them in BookWright’s font-picker.

Blurb provides a tremendous amount of support including webinars, an impressive knowledgebase, user forums and a blog full of great ideas. If you aren’t familiar with book layout/design, you might find Robin Williams’ book, The Non-Designer’s Design Book [Print – $14.42] quite interesting.

If you want a family history book full of stories, charts, photos and ephemera, Blurb and BookWright offer you the best options for designing and publishing both print and electronic editions.

Book Baby offer free book design guide

BookBaby, the publishing and distribution support provider, is now offering a free guide for creating a print quality book. Here’s the scoop . . .

BookBaby asked self-publishing expert Joel Friedlander to write the definitive guide to producing a great printed book. The result is our new guide: Printed Book Design 101. Friedlander provides step-by-step advice and tips to help you create a retail-ready book. Friedlander covers topics such as:

  • Picking the perfect typeface
  • Enhancing the readability of your book with interior design
  • Catching the reader’s eye with cover design tips from the pros
  • The most common mistakes made by self-publishing authors and how you can avoid them

…and much more

Visit BookBaby to request your free copy. You’ll be asked to sign up for their mailing list to receive it.

Book Design for eReaders

There’s a whole lot of Kindle going on in my family. Even before Christmas arrives it looks like just about everyone owns either a Kindle or an iPad with the Kindle app installed. Since Kindles can also read PDF documents, this opens up a whole lot of family history opportunities for me. The challenge will be designing my projects to be read on the small Kindle screen.

Unlike e-books, PDF documents don’t flow to fit the screen on the device. PDFs are paged documents and the whole page is resized to fit the screen. This means a PDF document designed for 8½ x 11 paper will be reduced to fit the 6-inch screen. Yes, the reader can zoom in to read a section, but all that zooming and scrolling can quickly become quite irritating. Why not design your document for the small screen from the beginning and make it easy for everyone?

Both the new Kindle readers and the iPad have screens sized with a 3:4 ratio in portrait view. The Kindles’ screens are 600 x 800 pixels and the iPad is 786 x 1024 pixels. If you format your projects around the Kindle’s smaller screen, you’ll insure your work will be very readable on either device. My first project is a sample book which I will pass on to each of my sisters for reviews. I have a couple of friends with Nook readers and I’ll probably ask them for help too.

For my template, I set my page size at 6″ wide by 8″ high with .25″ margins. I’m guessing a larger font like Palantino at 12pt or even 14pt will be a good choice for my body text and something like Bodoni 72 Smallcaps will work for my headings. Why these fonts? I chose these fonts because they are also available on my iPad and chances are good that I’ll be working on projects both on my iPad and on my desktop. This just makes things easy for me.

I will be using color photos and design elements in my project so that it will provide the best experience possible on each reader’s device. But, because many of those readers are using monochrome e-Ink Kindles, I’ll keep the designs simple. Instead of patterned paper mats behind photos, I’ll stick with the simple photo-style frames my word processing app provides. I won’t try placing text over an image either since chances are good that will result in a muddled mess. However, I can still add some style to my project by putting text inside shapes, by using some of the more decorative fonts or by including some typographic embellishments.

I recently sent a simple test document to my sister who’s had a Kindle since day one. She had a problem with the font (Techno Pro) being difficult to read – it was too “thin”. The photos appear much darker on the monochrome screen. Once we find the sweet spot for document formatting, I’ll save the results as a template so I can easily create and share family stories.

Now I need to work on getting the rest of my family Kindle users to give me the secret squirrel email address for their Kindles so I can send stories straight to their readers. Hmmm . . .