Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Adventures in Digital Publishing
With the emergence of multiple eBook and digital reading devices, I wanted to experiment with the available fledgling (and free) publishing tools to see how my work might display on a variety of platforms. As far as both Amazon.com and Lulu.com are concerned the process of taking a PDF to a published eBook was quick and painless, I can't say the same for Apple's iBook work flow, which includes a few technical hoops of fire that need to be jumped through before they will accept a submission. What is most surprising is the variety of ways artwork is displayed on each device. The eBook industry is currently very novel centric and can't seem to wrap its head around the unique needs of anything involving art or page layout. This is probably the reason magazine and children's book publishers have decided to create stand-alone Apps rather then wrestle with the limitations found in the eBook format. This will all change in time, but for now we have to be content with limited control over the display of images and art.
My experience has been that the original art is compressed to make it a manageable download size, but the quality is sufficient for display on both the iPhone and iPad, although the way a layout is displayed varies. On the iPhone the artwork fills the screen while on the iPad, and the computer desktop, the artwork is displayed as an image floating above center against a slightly off-white page. If you would like to see the results you can find the various versions here:
You can find the traditionally physical version of the book available via LuLu.com for $24.
Available as a PDF document for $5.95
The Digital version of the book is available via Amazon.com as a Kindle book, which actually looks quite lovely on both the iPhone and iPad for $5.95, via the free Kindle App
The subject of the book is concept sketches created in the early 2000's for the virtual world There.com. Now defunct, There was a massive multi-player social network that allowed you to create your own 3D avatar and explore the same globe with people logged in from all over the world. Although it had promise, technical challenges and interesting management choices hastened its eventual demise.