Friday, February 08, 2013

The People's E-Book

I have been bitching (mostly on about how poor the tools and processes are for making ebooks. It is just weird and wrong that it's much easier for me to make a wonderfully formatted PDF file, which does not display well in small ebook readers, than to make a .mobi or .epub file, which does work well in ereaders, and should be simpler to make because it's just based on HTML and has simpler formatting.
Or to put it another way: it is just way too difficult to make an ebook, people either need a lot of study, or help from a pro. I think it should be a very simple process, once you have a correctly formatted script.

I don't know whether The People's E-book will provide the best solution, but they have the right aspirations.


umbra said...

The aspirations are laudable but the real problem is that certain books NEED fixed formatting and AND reflowable text at the same time. it's a contradiction but books needing art, diagrams etc - they simply can't be made good looking as the print/PDF ones because the designer has no final control over the final look of the page, that will depend on the user settings.

so while mobi/epub work fine for novels and books with large chunks of text, there is still not an easy solution for books needing graphic elements that are locked to certain chunks of text. All the solutions are either hard to implement or ugly looking. I don't feel like giving money to these three hipsters will solve this, but I'd love to be wrong, so I'll be following their work.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Right you are. Books with graphics, combined with different-sized ereaders are certainly a big problem, and probably not even truly solvable. ?

As an artist I'd love to make picture books. Only thoughts I've had so far (admitting I know only the basics of the tech side) is to either have one image on one page, and text on the next, or freeze the layout (in PDF (or I suppose, iPub3) and make it fit 7-10 inch devices. (If the app can zoom like it should, that helps a lot.)

But I was initially thinking just about simpler books, even those have tons of formatting pitfalls which really shouldn't be there.