The clitorides voting is open until the end of April. Vote for your favourites [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Multi-media books

Crumbly Writer

My ex called me while traveling, putting another author on the line. They'd been talking, she mentioned me and showed her one of my books and one thing led to another. But she told me of her current project. Seems she's both an author and a musician, and she's writing a new score for each chapter of the book she's currently writing. She hadn't investigated how she's going to accomplish it, though.

I told her, the last I'd checked, that the only way to do that is through Apple with their iBooks Author software, which allows you to create multi-media books containing sound, music and video. Otherwise, she could simply publish via the 'normal' channels and simply include an active link at the top of each chapter to access the music (whether for free for pay).

However, I told her it has been a LONG time since I last checked the state of the art. Has anyone heard anything more recently, aside from audio books, which allows music to play in the background, but she'd also need to read her book, and most audio books sell for significantly less than either print or ebooks.

Replies:   Keet  Ernest Bywater
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

A simple on-line search for "creating multi media books" gives a multitude of options. Some very expensive, some geared towards schools. It's just a matter of finding the right tool(s) from what is offered. From what I read the biggest problem is creating a MM book that is supported on all platforms, not creating the book itself.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

A simple on-line search for "creating multi media books" gives a multitude of options. Some very expensive, some geared towards schools. It's just a matter of finding the right tool(s) from what is offered. From what I read the biggest problem is creating a MM book that is supported on all platforms, not creating the book itself.

As I said, the classic is Apple's iBook Author program, which is only available on Apple devices, but it's been a reliable service for quite a few years now. Many of us submit our works to multiple services to reach more readers, so I don't think the 'limited market' is as limiting (for self-published authors, at least) as you think it is.

However, audio books is an interesting option, as many people no longer read books, due to either limited eyesight, little available time, or simply preferring to listen while driving to work or on trips. The problem is, the cost of having a third part record a book professionally is prohibitive for a self-published author, and if it earns less money than ALL the other formats they publish through, it's difficult justifying such expenses.

That said, most of the iBook Author's works consist of children's books, often those used in your more 'well-funded' (i.e. all white) school systems).

One final note, the idea of a "MM" (gay romance) pop-up book is positive terrifying!

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

One final note, the idea of a "MM" (gay romance) pop-up book is positive terrifying!

You've got a dirty mind if you think of Male-Male when we are talking Multi-Media ;)

I responded to the request for tools for creating those books. From what I understood, the author you requested the information for is composing music for each chapter. Are you sure it's also supposed to be an audio book as in spoken text?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

I responded to the request for tools for creating those books. From what I understood, the author you requested the information for is composing music for each chapter. Are you sure it's also supposed to be an audio book as in spoken text?

I understood the context, but when you set up the puns on a silver platter like that, you've gotta expect me to take a swing. 'D

But no, she simply asked about options, and it occurred to me that I forgot that, fairly obvious one. It would be a natural fit for what she's looking for—especially if she's got a natural speaking/singing voice and has access to a recording studio. I was merely wondering which options I may not be current on. But then again, the active links at the top of each chapter is the simplest. That's what I'm doing with my epigraphs in my newest book. Instead of having to leave your place in the story and locate the bibliography page and check the reference, you just click the quote, it takes you right to the specific reference, you then click the chapter number (by the source material) and it takes you back. Easy peasy! But then, the music is not included in the book itself.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Apple with their iBooks Author software,


I've not checked recently, but isn't that the fancy authoring software they came up with which included a term of use that meant you could only sell any books created in it through the Apple iStore and you weren't even allowed to copy and paste it into other software to sell through another service?

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I've not checked recently, but isn't that the fancy authoring software they came up with which included a term of use that meant you could only sell any books created in it through the Apple iStore and you weren't even allowed to copy and paste it into other software to sell through another service?

It is, but those reports created such flak for the company, that they completely rewrote the user agreement to eliminate it. You now can cut and paste the text, the iBooks Authors still maintains exclusive rights to sell the audio-visual elements used within the book, which is just as well, since they all use proprietary formatting which can't be used anywhere else. Despite that, I'd never use the product myself, but since I have no audio-visual elements in my books, it's never been a big concern for me.

Dominions Son

have no audio-visual elements in my books, it's never been a big concern for me.


My kindle paperwhite can't handle video, but it can play music and has an audio out jack for a headset.

I don't know about tools for actually creating multi-media books for the Kindle format.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

which included a term of use that meant you could only sell any books created in it through the Apple iStore and you weren't even allowed to copy and paste it into other software to sell through another service?


What's wrong with that? If a publisher makes your cover and you get your rights back, you can't use that cover with another publisher or to self-publish. They paid for the cover, not you.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

My kindle paperwhite can't handle video, but it can play music and has an audio out jack for a headset.

I don't know about tools for actually creating multi-media books for the Kindle format.

Kindle does not support ANY multi-media, of any kind. I'm on there 'advanced sales' newsletter, so believe me, they'd have inundated me with requests to sell it for them if they had it. That said, I'm still not sure what other 3rd party options might exist out there, but the safest and easiest to implement is simply the live links to the album so users can download it. Anything else simply limits sales and only opens up a marginal market share for Multi-Media books (which again, consists mostly of kid's storybooks). Audio books, however, if she's able to record them herself, might be a valid avenue, because I know quite a few people who have given up reading entirely for audio-books, though the current pricing models have always worried me.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

What's wrong with that? If a publisher makes your cover and you get your rights back, you can't use that cover with another publisher or to self-publish. They paid for the cover, not you.

With their old TOS, any text you copy into their iBooks Author program automatically becomes exclusive to the iBooks Author program (i.e. you can't publish it anywhere else, in any form). However, they've given up on that overly Draconian TOS. But, to argue with your analogy, if a traditional publisher creates your cover, then they own the cover plus they force you to sign an exclusive multi-book deal, where you earn only $1 for a $24.95 book. However, if you contract with most reputable book designers, they will turn over the editable contents of the book cover (so you can make changes—say if you turn the book into a series) and their contract stipulates that you now OWN the design, with the caveat that you've got to publicly credit them with the design (that's indirect advertising for their services). Also, they typically create three separate versions, so you get to pick whichever version you like the best for the price.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

What's wrong with that? If a publisher makes your cover and you get your rights back, you can't use that cover with another publisher or to self-publish. They paid for the cover, not you.


Switch, whats wrong is they were talking about the content of the story itself, the component that's the creative product of the author. In short, if you used their software to write your story the only place you were allowed to sell it was through them and no one else. If you wanted to sell a copy via any other source you were required to retype every character into another program before you could use it.

However, from what CW said they changed that part due to the flack. personally, I think it was because so few people used the software and when they canvassed people about it they found most people were refusing to use the software because of that. Thus, to get people to use the software they had to loosen up on the restrictions a bit.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


and their contract stipulates that you now OWN the design


You're talking about hiring a cover designer to self-publish. That's different. You're the publisher and the designer works for you (with the mutually agreed terms).

The reason a traditional publisher keeps so much of the royalty is because they put up all the money — cover design, editing, marketing, distribution (which includes eating returns), and if the author is lucky, the advance. All you put into it is your novel (which we authors know is no small thing). So since they paid for the cover, they own it.

I don't know the answer, but I always wondered if the publisher assigns an editor to make your novel better, and you get your rights back, can you self-publish that edited version? My guess is no. You didn't pay them to edit it.

As to the original TOS, that's a different story. That was wrong. But if the Apple software creates an audio book, I don't see why they can't restrict its use to their products.

ETA:

@Ernest Bywater

You were typing yours the same time I was typing mine. I didn't see yours until I hit "post."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I don't know the answer, but I always wondered if the publisher assigns an editor to make your novel better, and you get your rights back, can you self-publish that edited version? My guess is no. You didn't pay them to edit it.

That's right. If the publisher provides a professional editor, they own the modified text in it's entirety. If you want to republish after they terminate the contract, you'll have to re-edit it on your own. However, those terms are from the ancient days. Nowadays, traditional publishers rarely provide editors for any but the biggest-selling authors, who typically prefer hiring their own anyway since then the author calls the shots, not the publisher.

The days of the full-service publisher is long past. You get the same restrictions with most vanity publishers, which is another reason why authors should avoid them at all costs. Unfortunately, many authors choose that route, even knowing the risks, because they're so intimidated by the multitude of other tasks they're forced to master.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Nowadays, traditional publishers rarely provide editors for any but the biggest-selling authors


That's not true. You don't get the editors like Max Perkins who worked side by side with authors and made Thomas Wolf's novels readable and Hemingway's and Fitzgerald's better. But you do get an editor. The editor tells the author what needs to be changed, not what it's changed to. And the author has the final say, but if they disagree there's a good chance the publisher will drop out.

Now the smaller the publisher, the less services they provide, and the editor is probably at the top of the list of services dropped.

Keet

It seems to me she first has to define exactly what she want the end product to be. Assuming a few things I can say this:
There's very little choice in the book format to use. EPUB is currently the only format that offers almost anything you want which includes images, audio, video and DRM possibilities along with the more "normal" features for reading.
Assuming the format of choice is EPUB, what follows is the choice of software to use. There are a lot of tools that can produce EPUB. For an author it might be interesting to know that even LibreOffice can export to an EPUB format. The problem is that there is a learning process before you can implement the options like audio as background (not for reading the text).
Again assuming she only wants each chapter to have her own background music AND she has the facilities to produce the audio files, it shouldn't be too difficult to create an EPUB.
She should take into account that some devices simply don't support audio.
Here is a link to the EPUB specifications for those interested: EPUB Media Overlays

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

There's very little choice in the book format to use. EPUB is currently the only format that offers almost anything you want which includes images, audio, video and DRM possibilities along with the more "normal" features for reading

Now that's useful information. I've been working with epubs for years, and never realized that you could embed music files. However, I'm not sure how technically proficient she is (I'm guessing not very, otherwise she'd already have some idea of what she's facing). While it's relatively easy exporting to epub, just like with html exports, there's a LOT of cleanup required to ensure it works efficiently.

But I'll have to research you linked information. Thanks for offering it, Keet.

Of course, the next question is how does an author guarantee that a single soundtrack will last for the reading of an entire chapter, given that readers read at a wide variety of speeds. Do you just play it once? Do you have it automatically look (which might get incredibly annoying after the 5th cycle)? Or, as I suggested before, do you simply offer access to the music, allowing them to play it to get a feel for the chapter, rather than playing it in the background?

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

But I'll have to research you linked information.

As is with all technical challenges. The basis of EPUB is mostly html, css, and xml so if you are familiar with those you have a good start.

Of course, the next question is how does an author guarantee that a single soundtrack will last for the reading of an entire chapter, given that readers read at a wide variety of speeds. Do you just play it once? Do you have it automatically look (which might get incredibly annoying after the 5th cycle)? Or, as I suggested before, do you simply offer access to the music, allowing them to play it to get a feel for the chapter, rather than playing it in the background?

The answer to that is simple: It's a choice she has to make and will very much depend on the type and length of the music.

BlacKnight

The answer is even simpler than that. You offer optional access to the music, because if you make it play automatically, 90% of your readers will delete your book as quickly as they can figure out how to make it shut up, and never read anything of yours again.

"Making noises" is very low on the list of things that people typically want their reading material to do. "Making noises without being told" is even lower.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@BlacKnight

"Making noises" is very low on the list of things that people typically want their reading material to do. "Making noises without being told" is even lower.

That's why I thought the simplest solution is likely the best, an inline link to the music at the top of each chapter. That way, if they're interested, they can fully immerse themselves. If not, they can simply avoid it altogether. All without using proprietary software that limits who can access your book.

Replies:   Centaur
Centaur

@Crumbly Writer

looks interesting, She will have to make sure to use free music or get permission to use the music. If she selling her book(s) she will most likely have to pay royalties on the music.

Ernest Bywater

@Centaur

looks interesting, She will have to make sure to use free music or get permission to use the music. If she selling her book(s) she will most likely have to pay royalties on the music.


In his original post CW said:

Seems she's both an author and a musician, and she's writing a new score for each chapter of the book she's currently writing.

which I take as meaning she's composing the music herself, so she'll be OK on that issue if it's her own work.

Rambulator

I used to have a pirated copy of Autoplay by Indigo Rose, It is very expensive but may work for her. The pirated copy quit working after windows 95.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer  Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Centaur

looks interesting, She will have to make sure to use free music or get permission to use the music.

It's her music, which she specifically wrote for each chapter in the book, so there's no trouble with her obtaining the rights to the music or lyrics. Since that likely means she's also a recording artist, or at least knows several recording artists, I'm assuming she wouldn't have any trouble with recording her own audio book, which would be another way to capitalize on her book. The only question is whether she's intending to capitalizing on the music itself (i.e. does she want to sell the album, or limit access to the music in any way)

Crumbly Writer

@Rambulator

I used to have a pirated copy of Autoplay by Indigo Rose, It is very expensive but may work for her. The pirated copy quit working after windows 95.

Just took a look at the Indigo Rose software, but seeing as it's a Windows software development tool, used primarily for creating multi-media apps, I'm pretty sure it's a bit out of her league. The price doesn't seem to be the big issue (AutoPlay only costs $295), but the fact most of the products would only play on a single device would be, as that would inherently limit her pool of potential readers. I'm sure, the last thing she wants, is to have the added feature means that she'd have to do more work, at greater expense, only to sell fewer copies. That's a losing proposition however you look at it.

Keet

@Rambulator

I used to have a pirated copy of Autoplay by Indigo Rose, It is very expensive but may work for her. The pirated copy quit working after windows 95.

Nowadays there are multiple very good open source tools. For example Calibre and Sigil.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Nowadays there are multiple very good open source tools. For example Calibre and Sigil.

That's more of what I was going for, as those produce very device-independent books, rather than the Indigo Rose products, which are specifically geared to producing device specific products, and which requires a LOT of non-author/musician skills to operate successfully. The suggestion to use Indigo Ross, wasn't bad, but given my assumptions about the person (who I've never actually met), it just doesn't seem to fit her most likely aims.

Keet

Anyone interested in a short, easy to read, semi how-to for creating epubs?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Keet


Anyone interested in a short, easy to read, semi how-to for creating epubs?


I suspect anyone interested in the subject has already mastered the basics. However, Calibre is really for book conversions, while Sigil is better for editing ebooks.

My main issue with Calibre, which I've voiced on many instances, is that Calibre's default behavior is based on conforming to Amazon's Kindles formatting standards. Thus ALL indents are reduced to only a single space, regardless of the page size, making the blocked text virtually unrecognizable unless your eyesight is exceptional. For this and a couple of other oddball defaults, I tend to edit (in Calibre) each case of indented text to change it from the Kindle standard to what I specified in my document. After all, if I specified particular dimensions (2.5 character spaces) then why change it to something I didn't ask for?

However, if you have any experience with adding sound files to an epub, we should talk. I haven't researched it yet, mainly because I only planned to tell her that it is possible, without planning to give her a detailed lesson in how to execute the procedures. However, it's the kind of information which would be beneficial to have under my best, just in case I ever do find a need for such esoteric uses.

Replies:   Keet
Keet
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


However, if you have any experience with adding sound files to an epub, we should talk. I haven't researched it yet, mainly because I only planned to tell her that it is possible, without planning to give her a detailed lesson in how to execute the procedures. However, it's the kind of information which would be beneficial to have under my best, just in case I ever do find a need for such esoteric uses.


EPUB supports the full functionality of the html "audio" tag so it should be relatively simple to implement it. It could be that EPUB has a preference for specific audio formats, I haven't researched that.

w3schools audio tag is an excellent resource for all things about html. Now you just have to find the specific place where to put the tags. Should be in the EPUB specs I posted a link for in a previous post.

By the way, I haven't encountered remarks that Calibre conforms to Kindle. You can configure Calibre towards a specific device but you can also configure it as "general". Maybe check your Calibre install if that might be the problem.

edit: Did you know that pdf also supports audio?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Keet

Did you know that pdf also supports audio?

Actually, I never even considered PDFs as an option, but now that you mention it, I was aware that they support audio files. However, few readers will even consider reading anything other than official documents on PDF, as they're worthless on tablets of smartphones since they're incapable of resizing documents on the fly. Thus, it's not really a valuable medium for selling ebooks. I have seen them used for comic books, but there are multiple apps (both iPhone and Samsung devices) which do a much better job of it.

By the way, I haven't encountered remarks that Calibre conforms to Kindle. You can configure Calibre towards a specific device but you can also configure it as "general".

The problem, the 'device' specification only controls page dimensions and allowable fonts (which Calibre generally doesn't include anyway). It doesn't change a thing about how the files are processed, other than outputting specific formats.

Once again, Calibre was only intended as a reader conversion tool, so the only settings are for page displays, with no real control for how the document is formatted (as that runs counter to the entire premise of creating ebooks). Why they chose to imitate Amazon is beyond me, other than the fact they must have figured 'why fight giants when it's easier just to fold so they don't target us'.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, I never even considered PDFs as an option, but now that you mention it, I was aware that they support audio files. However, few readers will even consider reading anything other than official documents on PDF,

I agree that pdf is useless as a replacement for ebooks, I just thought to mention the not well known audio feature .

Once again, Calibre was only intended as a reader conversion tool,

I don't know Calibre that well since I wrote my own reading library with all stories in html, not ebooks. From what I researched the idea I got that is was more usable then your experience so I will trust you on that. For me, I keep it to html and I can do anything I want with it. It's just not an option for authors.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I don't know Calibre that well since I wrote my own reading library with all stories in html, not ebooks. From what I researched the idea I got that is was more usable then your experience so I will trust you on that. For me, I keep it to html and I can do anything I want with it. It's just not an option for authors.


I use Libre Office for the story master file and to create the print ready PDF file. Then I use Calibre to create the e-pub file for sale and the Kindle file for a few who especially ask for it. I create the SoL/FS/SciFi file in basic html which I retain for my own use, and I also have some inverse color html files I create for a reader. Libre office recently introduce an e-pub creation tool, so I'll be trying that out in the future as well.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

Libre office recently introduce an e-pub creation tool, so I'll be trying that out in the future as well

There's an extension for LibreOffice: OpenOffice/LibreOffice Writer2ePub extension

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Keet


There's an extension for LibreOffice:


Libre Office has a one-click button to export as a PDF and the latest version has the same option to export e-pub. I've not used it before, so I need to try it and see what the e-pub comes out like with that button.

edit to add: I just created and compared the e-pubs from the same master file. The LO one-click does create an e-pub, but it seems to have an issue with some of the paragraph style font settings so the result isn't as clean as the Calibre e-pub. I need to see look if that can be fixed via a setting. Also, to have a cover in the LO on I have to embed the image in the start of the document instead of just link it while making the e-pub.

Replies:   Keet  Crumbly Writer
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

Libre Office has a one-click button to export as a PDF and the latest version has the same option to export e-pub.

Ah, didn't know that, I have Debian as my OS and that doesn't have the latest LO yet. I just use the PDF export for quotes, invoices etc.
Did you ever try the extension I mentioned? Or has that evolved to the new export function?

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

Ah, didn't know that, I have Debian as my OS and that doesn't have the latest LO yet. I just use the PDF export for quotes, invoices etc.
Did you ever try the extension I mentioned? Or has that evolved to the new export function?


I Have Zorin Linux which is derived from Debian via Ubuntu. The version of Libre office in its repository is a few behind the current one as well and it doesn't have the one-click option for e-pub. However, I simply go to the LibreOffice.org website and download the latest stable release compressed files, unpack it, and then run the install routine in a terminal window. Bingo, the latest LO and working well.

I didn't try the Open Office link you gave because since OO 3.5 and LO 3.5 the split between OO and LO has been getting wider and wider with the LO team tightening up the code and cutting a lot of the older OO Java code out of it. While the saved files of both meet the Open Document standards I'm not sure the in-program processing is now as close as it used to be.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Ernest Bywater

However, I simply go to the LibreOffice.org website and download the latest stable release compressed files, unpack it, and then run the install routine in a terminal window. Bingo, the latest LO and working well.

I know but I don't need the latest version for what I need, I could probably cope with an even older version. I try to keep to the default Debian repositories as much as possible because they are the most stable and trustworthy.

I didn't try the Open Office link you gave because since OO 3.5 and LO 3.5 the split between OO and LO has been getting wider and wider

Check again, it's a LibreOffice link but the extension works on both OpenOffice/LibreOffice.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Keet

I know but I don't need the latest version for what I need


A couple of years ago I started using a couple of 4K monitors and there was an issue with the way LO displayed in multiple 4K monitors. I reported, and they introduced a fix soon after. At that time I got into the habit of using the latest stables release of LO instead of the fully checked stable release in the repositories which were usually 3 to 4 releases behind. Since then I've just gotten into using the latest release. I only do story writing and spreadsheet work in LO, so I could get away with anything more advanced than Notepad, but I like the easy to use features I have in LO.

Since the version of LO I have and use in the system I rebuilt this week has the e-pub capability I see no need to try the extension you mention. If you want to use it you have the option of adding the extension or upgrading to either of the last 2 versions of LO.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Keet


I don't know Calibre that well since I wrote my own reading library with all stories in html, not ebooks. From what I researched the idea I got that is was more usable then your experience so I will trust you on that. For me, I keep it to html and I can do anything I want with it. It's just not an option for authors.


My approach is similar to yours, as I taught myself html by studying websites that did the kinds of things which impressed me, and examined the code to understand how they accomplished it.

If you're comfortable with html, then epub is simply a natural extension. Not all html commands are accepted, though most are, and a few have some different qualifiers (ex: "< br/>" instead of "< br>").

However, if you understand both, then it's relatively simple to correct the default behaviors in products like Calibre, especially now that Calibre has finally added the facility to directly edit the code in the book, though I'm still waiting for the ability to modify/update a book without having to start from scratch! Grrr!

Update: Added text delete when I mistakenly tried to enter the html command for angle brackets an the Forum translated them, didn't like them and removed the contents.

Replies:   Keet
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I use Libre Office for the story master file and to create the print ready PDF file. Then I use Calibre to create the e-pub file for sale and the Kindle file for a few who especially ask for it. I create the SoL/FS/SciFi file in basic html which I retain for my own use, and I also have some inverse color html files I create for a reader. Libre office recently introduce an e-pub creation tool, so I'll be trying that out in the future as well.

I go old school (at least for posting to lulu) and I create my epubs directly from my own html code (rather than WORDs or letting Calibre run roughshod over my final product). Since I like to get fancy with graphic chapter heads, graphic images and internal references, it's easier to manage them myself than assuming a 'conversion tool' can figure out what I'm trying to do.

As far as user convenience, that's why I continue to use SW, despite they're continually giving me grief and once deleting my entire 12 book library of works (most of which I've never yet restored). SW allows users to pick the format they want, rather than forcing them to convert their purchases with a tool like Calibre.

Amazon always gets the most hits and sales, and the most exposure, but as usual, returns the smallest portion of revenue to the author. :( Worst of all, because they refuse to make users sign in before showing them the final price of a book, they force authors to shoulder the entire sales tax and conversion charges for a purchase! Boo! Hiss!

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

There's an extension for LibreOffice: OpenOffice/LibreOffice Writer2ePub extension

I tried that, years ago when first moving to epub, and had significant troubles getting it to function correctly. At the time, they were rarely updating the software so I gave up on it. Though it's entirely possible that a later update fixed the outstanding issues I faced way back then.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Libre Office has a one-click button to export as a PDF and the latest version has the same option to export e-pub. I've not used it before, so I need to try it and see what the e-pub comes out like with that button.

A LOT of authors (Switch, maybe?) do it to submit their WORD files directly to Calibre and let it to the final epub output. I don't like the junk the dump into their conversions, and the lack of control over the final product, but that's definitely the most convenient way to produce an epub.

As far as PDFs, I do the same, but I ONLY use the PDF to create print-ready files for outlets to print my 'POD' books. No one ever reads those PDFs.

Replies:   Keet
Keet
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I don't like the junk the dump into their conversions,

That's a thing to look out for since it enlarges your resulting epub. If I understood it correctly companies like Amazon charge for every Mb if they distribute your epub so smaller is less charges. I think it's 15 cents per Mb and if your ebook is 1,99 that's a big percentage. It's just what I read somewhere so correct me if I'm wrong. I have no experience with iBook Author but I read that it produces unnecessary large files. No problem if you don't sell your ebooks through a company that charges for distribution but otherwise something to keep in mind.

Keet

@Crumbly Writer

My approach is similar to yours, as I taught myself html by studying websites that did the kinds of things which impressed me, and examined the code to understand how they accomplished it.

If you're comfortable with html, then epub is simply a natural extension.

I don't produce epub's myself, I'm not an author, but I do convert every book I download (SOL, gutenberg etc) to html and integrate them in my self-written "library" which is just for reading. It's simply a nicely decorated html file with a separate css file and some javascript for extra functionalities. It links to every listed book which is in a separate directory.

Crumbly Writer

@Keet

That's a thing to look out for since it enlarges your resulting epub. If I understood it correctly companies like Amazon charge for every Mb if they distribute your epub so smaller is less charges.

No, ebooks don't charge for size. That only applies to print books where the main cost is printing and shipping the paper. Ebooks are essentially 'free' to transport electronically, but since Amazon controls so much of the market, they dictate the most unreasonable terms, plus they tack on numerous unofficial fees (including those taxes normally paid by the purchasers).

Like the others here, I looked at iBook Author when it was first introduced, saw how unreasonable the basic ToS was, and how limited the market was (it was basically designed for children's pop-up and electronic display books) and never looked back. But they first started most of the 'multimedia' books, even if few ever used them to their full potential because of the costs.

Ernest Bywater

@Keet

If I understood it correctly companies like Amazon charge for every Mb if they distribute your epub so smaller is less charges. I think it's 15 cents per Mb


Unless they've changed their ToS that 15 cents per MB is what Amazon deducts as an operating cost before they pay the author royalties, it used to be listed on their page about royalties.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Unless they've changed their ToS that 15 cents per MB is what Amazon deducts as an operating cost before they pay the author royalties, it used to be listed on their page about royalties.

Damn. I guess I missed (or forgot) that detail. As my books are fairly substantial in size due to all the bells and whistles I include. I've noted that my 'reported income' NEVER matches their payouts, while I blamed on their weird billing/payment cycles, but I'm now thinking I'd best start posting TEXT ONLY files in order to improve my revenues. That little bit of trivia explains a LOT!

Ah, not that big a worry. My 5mg Word file comes in at a 2.8mb Kindle file, so I'm paying an extra $0.42 for each $7.99. Add that to the taxes and other indirect fees they hit you with, and it's no wonder every author hates Amazon so much. Still, I may try publishing a cheaper text only Amazon version, possibly on Kindle Express, just to see if it does any better.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Ah, not that big a worry. My 5mg Word file comes in at a 2.8mb Kindle file, so I'm paying an extra $0.42 for each $7.99.


You best check their latest rates, because I thought it was 15 cents per MB or part there of, so a 2.8 MB would cost you 45 cents not 42 cents, while a 2.1 MB file would also cost 45 cents.

edit to add:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634500

The delivery costs apply if you're eligible to have, and choose, the 70% royalty rate, go for the 35% royalty and there is no charge (I wonder why - sarcasm off). Info as per below:


Delivery Costs are equal to the number of megabytes we determine your Digital Book file contains, multiplied by the Delivery Cost rate listed below.

Amazon.com: US $0.15/MB

Amazon.ca: CAD $0.15/MB

Amazon.com.br: R$0.30/MB

Amazon.co.uk: UK £0.10/MB

Amazon.de: €0,12/MB

Amazon.fr: €0,12/MB

Amazon.es: €0,12/MB

Amazon.in: INR ₹7/MB

Amazon.it: €0,12/MB

Amazon.nl: €0,12/MB

Amazon.co.jp: ¥1/MB

Amazon.com.mx: MXN $1/MB

Amazon.com.au: AUD $0.15/MB

We will round file sizes up to the nearest kilobyte. The minimum Delivery Cost for a Digital Book will be US$0.01 for sales in US Dollars, INR₹1 for sales in Indian Rupees, CAD$0.01 for sales in CAD Dollars, £0.01 for sales in GB Pounds, ¥1 in JPY, R$0.01 for sales in Brazilian Reais, MXN$1 for sales in Mexican Pesos, AUD$0.01 for sales in Australian Dollars, and €0.01 for sales in Euros, regardless of file size. For sales in JPY, we will not deduct any Delivery Cost for books 10 MB or greater.


also be aware they have price mins and maxs

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634560

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

You best check their latest rates, because I thought it was 15 cents per MB or part there of, so a 2.8 MB would cost you 45 cents not 42 cents, while a s.1 MB file would also cost 45 cents.

If you read my other new thread, it looks like I'm going to try giving away a TEXT ONLY "Chapter Preview", so I'll see how that fares. Either I'll go totally text free, or I'll start offering Chapter Preview while charging full price for the entire book.

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

also be aware they have price mins and maxs

Yeah, I'm aware of the min and max pricing limits (that's why I couldn't publish my latest box set, because they won't allow me to price it as a combination of 3 books, but they'd force me to price it as a single price, despite allowing publishers to change the higher box set rates. :(

The problem was, they NEVER display the Distribution fee when you're actually preparing, submitting or examining a book, so you quickly forget that they're even charging you one. :(

Crumbly Writer

I finally talked with the author (via email), and gotten a better idea for what she wants (click to play a short snippet at the top of each chapter). I did a quick search, and the process is largely identical, whether it's implemented on Apple iBooks, the new Amazon Create, or you manually code it in epub.

For anyone interested, the author is Sonni Quick, and she's a first-time author but long-time musician. She's taking the right approach. She wrote out several chapters, realized she didn't understand what she was doing writing, took several online courses, decided that her initial attempt was all wrong and thenrewrote the entire thing (as it currently exists) from scratch.

The book, portions of which are available on her site, is titled "My Name is Jamie", and covers a classic misuse of the judicial system of someone he daughter is involved with, so it's a very personal project for her (raging against the machine, and all that).

It turns out there are actually several ways of implementing the ideas, using the overly complex current standards, or implementing the abandoned (but FREE) older standards which produces much cleaner and easier to work with code.

I need to pick apart her website, just to see how the implemented the audio recordings on her webpage. If it's the same as I'm proposing, she won't need ANY help, as she's already mastered most of it. But for me, it's a unique learning experience in fairly obscure literary tech.

Back to Top