Thursday, August 18, 2011

eBook Writing Tools

If you want to write digital books, you'll need digital book-making tools. O'Reilly lists software for writing and designing digital books:

  • Demibooks Composer. For release later this summer, designs iPad books.
  • My Story Book. Another iPad design tool (see video below) due soon.
  • Aquafadas. A plug-in for Quark and InDesign to create eBooks rich in images.
  • Active Reader. A plug-in for Unity game developers to create graphic novels from games.
  • Periodic Technology. In beta, a tool from Atavist for iOS, Kindle, Nook, and Android (soon) that enables rich links that can be controlled from a CMS.
  • Moglue. Software (Mac or Windows) to create kids books for iPad or Android. Open beta soon.
  • InteractBuilder. Software (Mac or Windows) to create kids books for iPad.
  • App Press. Online site to build an iOS / iPad app for a book.

Some of these tools are for programmers, while other are simpler to use.

For instance, the My Story Book folks have made a how-to video that gives an overview of the entire process to create an eBook you can sell online at the Apple Store.



App Press provides a similar how-to video:




Scrivener is an authoring tool not included on O'Reilly's list that will create ePub- and Kindle-format files that work on iPad, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and Android devices. I've described in-depth experiences using Scrivener here. Scrivener also outputs to file formats like Word that are useful for creating printed books.

In an entirely different approach, consider HTML5 authoring tools to create cross-platform digital books. Here is a look at Aside Magazine. Aside is similar to Flipboard for the iPad, but it's based on HTML5 code rather than iOS proprietary code. The preview below gives an idea of the richness of HTML5.





I haven't listed any HTML5 tools in this post. HTML5 is rolling out in browsers over the next few months (you can use it in Chrome and Safari now). Full HTML5 market penetration only takes place when everyone upgrades their browsers. Expect to see traditional HTML tools upgrade for HTML5 support as well as new authoring tools tailored to eBook production.

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