Sunday, 27 January 2013

Ebook Of Age

    Ebooks have been around for a few years and I've been keeping a watchful eye on progress with a view to publishing my own woodworking titles online.  With the recent launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire I think its true to say that ebooks have now come of age - well thats if you think the age of being capable of voting is sixteen! 
    The ebook age is also an age of uncertainty as there are no guarantees the ebooks you can view today will be viewable in five or ten years time. Many of the formats listed on Wikipedia are now obsolete and even when you think all the boxes have been ticked, its a bit like a radio station - it only needs to be slightly out of tune and you miss out completely on the message. Not only are there several different ebook formats out there but they require different readers and are exclusive to the major distributors/platforms such as Kobo, Kindle and iPad. The one that keeps on coming up is E-pub and when I enthusiastically contacted The British Library with a view to loan out my e-books was informed this is the only format accepted by their supplier. 
    It is a can of worms as I have spent the past month or two experimenting with some multi-media e-publications (including video embedding) that are the perfect platform for my intended market, except it use the old-fashioned 'Flash' protocol that has got many slick websites into trouble in recent years. Well I have been doing some research, reading forums, listening to what Adobe has to say about flash and HTML5 and they are not about to dump it. This heartening as you only need to look at the frantic launch of ever increasing social networking sites to throw the dice and reckon what will still be around in five years time. 
    Now, I'm fortunately in a market that is not primarily dictated to by fashion and the thrill of change. Lets face it some of my customers for videos (on average over 55 years old) are still using VCR's and although we have been told that DVD is obselete it will run on and so too is the consensus regarding Flash. Almost 99% of computers have flash installed and the FlippingBook software I am trying out currently is also HTML5 enabled so it loads on mobile devices. 
   I like this particular ebook format because it allows virtually instant access o sample books on my website, unlike most other formats I have tried that involve passwords and lengthy download waits. a particularly useful tool is the word search especially for lengthy technical books and the embedded video just brings it all together as great learning platform.  Well, see what you think:

a sample Ebook by Jeremy Broun

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