E-Textbook Exploration

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--D. Thiebaut 08:45, 2 January 2013 (EST)


Courses on Lynda.com

Lynda.com provides many video tutorials on many subjects, including e-Publishing. Access to Lynda.com is available free of charge to the Smith community.

A search for iBook returned the following results:

  • 19 courses
    • iBooks Author Essential Training: Demonstrates how to use the Apple iBooks Author application to create and publish your own iBook, without extensive design or publishing experience.
    • Add a Video to an iBook for iPad: Integrate video into an EPUB destined for the Apple iBookstore or a web site.
    • Digital Publishing Fundamentals: Helping you transition your skills from the print to the digital publishing world and select a format (from EPUB to iBooks) for your project.
    • Edge Animate Essential Training: Discover how to use the complete Edge Animate toolset to lay out and animate motion graphics for your website, mobile devices, digital magazine, iBooks, and more.
    • InDesign Secrets: David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepción, co-hosts of the web's top resource for InDesign tips and tricks, InDesignSecrets.com, share some hidden and sometimes surprising workflow tips that will make working in InDesign more efficient and more fun.
    • Creating Photo Books with iPhoto: Discover how to use iPhoto to create photo books.
    • InDesign CS6 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad: Shows publishers, designers, and production assistants how to use Adobe InDesign CS6 to create print books for the exploding ebook market.
    • Edge First Look Preview 6: Take a first look at Edge, a new tool from Adobe for creating interactive motion graphics, which utilizes the latest web standards including HTML5, JavaScript, and jQuery.
    • InDesign CS6 New Features: Introduces InDesign CS6 and its workflow, document distribution, and flexibility improvements.
    • Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter: Promote a brand, increase sales, engage customers, and drive site traffic using Facebook and Twitter.
    • Creating a Fixed-Layout EPUB: Shows how to create fixed-width EPUBs to sell in the iBookstore.
    • iPad Tips and Tricks: Gives expert tips and techniques for getting the most out of the iPad.
    • InDesign CS5.5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad: Shows publishers, designers, and production staff how to use the software they already use to create print books—InDesign—for the emerging ebook market.
    • Up and Running with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite: Shows designers how to create interactive publications for tablet devices using Adobe InDesign and the Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.
    • Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training: Demonstrates how to develop full-featured applications using Visual Studio 2010.
    • InDesign CS5.5 New Features: Provides an in-depth exploration of the new features in InDesign CS5.5.
    • InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad: Shows publishers and designers how to use the software they already use to create print books and apply it to the emerging ebook market.
    • InDesign CS4 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad: Shows publishers and designers how to use the software they already use to create print books and apply it to the emerging ebook market.
    • InDesign CS5: Interactive Documents and Presentations: :Shows how to use InDesign to add animation and interactivity to digital documents.

The E-Pub Format

The E-Pub format is a standard for describing the files that compose an e-publication. It's in xml format, and describes the hierarchy of the text, as well as the embedded metadata.

EBook Publishing Solutions

A list of various packages can be found on 2000ShareWare.com.


From the company's Web site: "Kno is a killer education software company on a mission to shake up higher education by making learning engaging, efficient, and social for students.

Founded by Osman Rashid, the co-founder of Chegg, and Dr. Habib in May 2009, the company has built an impressive set of learning products supported across multiple devices and platforms.

The company has received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Goldman Sachs, Advanced Publications, FLOODGATE, First Round Capital, Ron Conway, Silicon Valley Bank, SV Angels, GSV Capital and TriplePoint Capital and is based in Santa Clara, California."



Since 2008, Vook has created eBooks for some of the world’s leading companies, including news and media organizations, technology companies, universities and major corporations, helping content holders create and sell great looking eBooks. Our experience makes us the perfect solution for teams looking to transform a high-profile project or a vast amount of content for the exciting world of eBooks.

EBook Maestro

From the EBook Maestro Website:

  • eBook Maestro is a versatile universal software that compiles any types of digital information products (such as eBooks, Presentations, Magazines, Albums, Galleries, Guides, Offline Sites, Reports, Documentations, Training Courses, Educational Materials, Tests, Quizzes, Software Wizards, etc.)
  • eBooks compiled with eBook Maestro software support all character sets and can contain and open any files: HTML Pages, Graphic Files, Flash Files, Javascripts, VB Scripts, Style Sheets, Sound Files, Video Files, etc.
  • eBook interface is completely customizable. You can change any detail in the user interface, including the navigation bar, search menu, program icon, etc.
  • The IE rendering engine is used to visualize pages. It guarantees that everything is displayed without distortions and supporting the features used in Internet Explorer.

Note: This looks like a package that takes html pages and packages them into a single file + browser. Work in Windows. couldn't make it work on Mac with wine.

Anthechinus eBook Wizard

Anthechinus is another packager that takes a Web site and packs it into a .exe file to be viewed under Windows. Allows javascript.


Sigil is a linux-based editor with the following features:

  • Online Sigil User's Guide, and Wiki documentation
  • Free and open source software under GPLv3
  • Multi-platform: runs on Windows, Linux and Mac
  • Full UTF-16 support
  • Full EPUB 2 spec support
  • Multiple Views: Book View, Code View and Preview View
  • WYSIWYG editing in Book View
  • Complete control over directly editing EPUB syntax in Code View
  • Table of Contents generator with multi-level heading support
  • Metadata editor with full support for all possible metadata entries (more than 200) with full descriptions for each
  • User interface translated into many languages
  • Spell checking with default and user configurable dictionaries
  • Full Regular Expression (PCRE) support for Find & Replace
  • Supports import of EPUB and HTML files, images, and style sheets,
  • Documents can be validated for EPUB compliance with the integrated FlightCrew EPUB validator
  • Embedded HTML Tidy: all imported files have their formatting corrected, and your editing can be optionally cleaned

Note: can't find reviews of product. Comments on Web site seems to indicate several bugs...


From the jutoh Website: Jutoh makes it easy to create ebooks in popular formats that you can sell on many ebook sites, including Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iBooks.
Create your project in seconds from existing files using the New Project Wizard; or create your book from scratch using the built-in styled text editor.
Select a book cover design from Jutoh's templates, or create your own with the built-in cover designer.
Jutoh works on all major desktop platforms - Windows, Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD - and is fast and flexible.

BlueGriffon ePub Editor

Commercial version at €195. The list of features from their Web site:

  • Windows, Mac OS X and Linux
  • Truly Wysiwyg
  • Conformance to EPUB2 and EPUB3 specifications
  • No proprietary pivot format, works directly on your *.epub files
  • Creates EPUB2 and EPUB3 books from scratch
  • Conformance to XHTML 1.1 and HTML 5 (xml serialization) for content documents
  • Full metadata support for both EPUB2 and EPUB3
  • Files and directories management
  • Full support for Guide (EPUB2) and Landmarks (EPUB3)
  • Full support for NCX (EPUB2) and Table of Contents (EPUB3)
  • Compatibility output of Guide and NCX in EPUB3
  • Full support for Spine (EPUB2 and EPUB3)
  • Full support for EPUB3 properties on meta/link/item/itemref
  • User interface for direct manipulation of epub:type attribute
  • UTF-8
  • One of the best CSS editors on the market
  • Builtin SVG editor
  • DOM view and ActiveView
  • Word count
  • MathML editor
  • HTML Table Layout editor


Writer2xhtml (open source) is an extension for LibreOffice or OpenOffice. The documentation says "If Writer2LaTeX is used as an export filter, objects are converted to graphics. The command line application ignores objects. Applets, sound and video are not supported."

Examples of eBooks with animation

Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland by AtomicAntelope.com. Also from the same company, Alice in New York.

The Magic of Reality

A book by Richard Dawkins.                                

Operation Ajax

Operation Ajax is a "motion comics" telling of the CIA’s involvement in the 1950s Iranian revolution.

The video on the right is a presentation published on Jun 27, 2012. It is based off the recorded audio of Daniel Burwen's 2012 SXSW solo panel. This talk looks at the way we value our media as it transitions from tangible to digital to service, with a case study of the interactive graphic novel CIA : Operation Ajax for the iPad. Around Minute 26 of the video, the author demonstrates

  • How the panels are created, in multiple layers,
  • How animation is used as one flips through the pages, and moves from panel to panel, and
  • how to access secondary material for the graphic novel, looking into the files of various characters who are part of the plot.

Bobo explores light

Scientific exploration of light's properties with an interactive application. From Bobo GameCollage.com's Web site: Designed for children ages 8-12, Bobo Explores Light introduces kids to 21 light-related topics, like lasers, reflection, refraction, photosynthesis, bioluminescence, aurora borealis and the human eye. In each section, readers engage in hands-on experimentation to build a deeper understanding of science concepts. Supplementary videos, articles, animations and trivia are designed to meet children at whatever learning level they feel most comfortable.

Creating Widgets in Apple's iBook Author

Apple Resources


Libraries of Widgets

  • Bookry.com a collection of widgets to include in iBooks.

Javascript Resources


Creating Widgets by Hand

  • A great resource is kinetic-media.com. The author presents several tips and tricks specially targetted for including HTML5 into iBook Author. The full blog posting on creating a widget from scratch is available here.

Software Tools

  • Hype, but Tumult.com is a great application ($49) for generating HTML5 animation. These animations can be embedded into Apple widgets and then imported into iBook Author. The gallery contains great examples of the possibilities offered by Hype.

Tutorials and How-Tos