Making interactive or fixed-layout ebooks? Try PubCoder.

It’s not easy to make ebooks that look and feel exactly like print books. But it is possible if you try tools like PubCoder and know a little about ebook production.

A fixed-layout ebook (right) looks and works like its print counterpart (left)


Unlike other tools (e.g. PressBooks, InDesign) PubCoder focuses on making it easier to create fixed-layout, interactive ebooks. Your book can be an iBook, an Android ebook, a Kindle fixed-layout ebook, or even an HTML5 web app.

screenshot 1

Not Here, by Sophie Natta (illustrator) and Fabrizio Bonaga (animator). Touch the title page to read.

Made with PubCoder, Not Here (Sophie Natta and Fabrizio Bonaga) is “a reading experience that pushes the boundaries between technology, design and visual poetry”

Not Here is interactive in that:

[it] takes full advantage of the multitouch capabilities of the iPad. Listen, touch, pinch, swipe and turn pages…

screenshot 3

Swipe the window to interact with the story.

Not Here is on iBooks and Google Play. If you know how to use ut here’s the .epub file. Remember that iOS-specific functions won’t necessarily work on your non-iOS platform.

I want to write about I found inside the .epub file if there’s enough interest. Expect plenty of screenshots and lots of complaints about platform-specific annoyances.

After a free 30-day trial, PubCoder comes at a price. It’ll cost you99€ – €599 a year (for the enterprise version), so be sure you understand how interactive/fixed-layout EPUB works before licensing the software. Or contact me to learn how!

If you already use InDesign PubCoder can import layouts and assets from Adobe InDesign CC 2015 (11.3) or later, and you’ll need an active Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

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Have you seen Google Chrome’s video about children’s book author Dallas Clayton? I happened to catch it during X Factor commercials last week. (Don’t judge. I was curious.)

The ad describes Clayton’s goal to write and illustrate a story for his son about “dreaming big.” After shopping An Awesome Book to publishers with no success, however, he made the decision to post it on the web for free. As a result of some major grassroots success (and a lot of downloads), the book was eventually acquired and published by HarperCollins Children’s. See Google’s full ad below:

In the video, Clayton states, “To me, it was never about writing a physical book; it’s about sharing an idea with as many people as possible.” And this is an interesting capture of the world in which we now operate.

Though producing a physical book may not have been his primary goal, thanks…

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Advertising in books – not a recent phenomenon.

Mike Cane’s xBlog

We think ads in books is a New Thing.

Broken Toys, a novel by Anna Caroline Steele, was published in 1884.

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David Gaughran

Amazon’s KDP Select introduced a new tranche of self-publishers to the upper reaches of the charts for the first time. For the first couple of months of this year, a new seam had been discovered in this self-publishing “gold-rush.”

It didn’t last too long, however. By the end of March, even those newly minted authors were openly considering leaving KDP Select, despite how successful it had been for them. Self-publishers were noticing that even when they had a stellar free run, garnering thousands and thousands of downloads, it was no longer catapulting them up the charts on their return to the paid side.

Science fiction and fantasy author Ed Robertson penned an excellent hypothesis and gave me permission to re-post. If you don’t understand exactly why successful free runs used to almost always translate into a run at the charts, then read my post on Popularity Lists first for background…

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While the Department of Justice lawsuit against the agency model rages on, the question I keep hearing, with a note of desperation, is: “What exactly are they suing about?”

I guess that’s kind of crucial to understanding the lawsuit. And while Appazoogle has written about the agency model in the past, we’ve yet to give you a play-by-play breakdown of the mechanics of this DOJ-angering monster. So here it is: the agency model, to the best of my understanding. With charts.

Book retail

Here’s how book retail normally works. The publisher makes a book. They give the book a list price—say $25. That $25 price tag is the publisher saying, “This is what the book should be worth to a final consumer.” This is important because author royalties are calculated from list price, so in order to balance a profit/loss statement (the financial end of a book proposal), they…

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David Gaughran

As reported yesterday, the Department of Justice has filed its antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the largest publishers (Macmillan, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster).

A settlement has been agreed with HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster; Macmillan claimed the terms were too onerous, and Penguin appears to have refused to contemplate settling.

The agreed settlement must still be approved by the court, but among the conditions are the end of Agency (despite the attempted spin by PW in the above-linked article) and the return of pricing control to the retailers (such as Amazon). In addition, the settling parties will be monitored by the DoJ, who must be copied on any communications surrounding this or any related matters.

While the DoJ’s case is getting all the attention, it should not be forgotten that all the above parties are also being sued by sixteen State Attorneys-General who are…

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