eBooks
an Overview
by Beat Oderbolz
2007, November
2010, July
2011, January
2011, May
Kindle and Kindle eBooks introduced
Kindle eBooks outsell Hardbacks
Kind...
Ok…
But what is so
great about
eBooks?
James Joyce’s Ulysses
EPUB file
iBook Store
3 $
James Joyce’s Ulysses
First Edition
The Manhattan Rare Book Company
60’000...
eBooks…
+ do not use up any space:
1000s of books in one tiny box
+ are searchable
+ let you change the size of the
letter...
eBooks & ADL
offline
online
eBook formats:
The Tower
of eBabel
eBook Reading Devices
Hardware Readers
Tablet PCs
With iOS, Android or Win 8
Smart Phones
With iOS, Android, or Else OS
Most popular eBook Readers &
the Formats they support
Amazon Kindle AZW, KF8, PDF, TXT, non-DRM MOBI
B&N Nook EPUB, PDF
Ap...
EPUB
Powerful
Open
Widely supported
EPUB
EPUB internally uses
• XHTML to represent the text and structure of the
content document
• a subset of CSS to provide...
EPUB2
• Text
• Tables & Lists
• Pictures
• Cover Picture
• Table of Content
EPUB3
• Text
• Tables & Lists
• Pictures
• Cov...
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
«But there’s one small problem!»
• 0 Hardware Readers…
• a few Software Readers
• 0 Editors…
… are supporting* EPUB3 until now.
* more or less…
Sigil
Open-source editor for EPUB2 eBooks.
Supports both WYSIWYG and code-based
editing of EPUB files.
For Microsoft Windo...
Resources
Sigil – Windows / Mac / Linux http://code.google.com/p/sigil/
Calibre – Windows / Mac / Linux http://calibre-ebo...
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
eBooks
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eBooks

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Presented at the ADL Working Group Meeting. Vienna, Austria: 11/07/2012

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  • ADL WG Meeting in Vienna, November 2012 Beat Oderbolz, oderbolz@sipo.gess.ethz.ch
  • Small Data Collection: Who has read at least one eBook? Who regularly reads eBooks? What device do you read them on: Hardware Reader? Tablet PC? Smart Phone?
  • After Anim: So, apparently a lot of people are reading eBooks. And their number seems to increase year by year… That seems to be a fact
  • The interesting question is not «are they reading eBooks?» but «why are they reading eBooks?» Why is it, that a lot of people prefer an eBook to an actual book? So, let’s see…
  • The most obvious advantage: size and weight You can carry along literally a whole bookcase of books on one small device.
  • The reading experience is similar to an actual book: page flipping, not scrolling (even if Apple, for some strange reason, introduced the possibility to scroll ebooks in the latest update of their reading app iBooks…) Then, very important for us old people with bad eyesight: changable character size and reflowing text!
  • They have nice features like changable fonts and changable «themes» (I love the night theme of iBooks) Ok, not really USPs, but nice features anyway…
  • Talking of USPs: These two features are: eBooks are searchable and they can access a dictionary ! Very, very cool!
  • Another pair of really cool features – especially for us as educators: Add Highlights & Notes which will then appear in a list…
  • Another very convienient feature: Interdevice Synchronisation – You read an eBook back home on your couch on one device…
  • … then you have to leave but can’t take your tablet PC with you (probably because your kids would start rioting if you did…) and continue reading on your smartphone. The devices are automatically synchronised via a cloud service and the reader on the second device opens the eBook at exactly the same location where you left it.
  • Also very interesting for teaching/learning, and probably the «next big thing» in eBooks: Fixed Layout eBooks with a lot of Multimedia and Interaction. At the moment it’s just Apple who really supports this, but it’s just a question of time until other companies will jump onto this train. If you got an iPad: check out the free eBook «Life on Earth» Another interesting possibility: – eBook-to-Speech
  • eBooks are « green » and « cheap »: No paper – No transportation – No stockpiling ----------------------------------- So we got a pretty long list of valid pro-eBook arguments. Let’s see what we can find that speaks against them:
  • Let’s pretend you went on an adventure trip in the amazonian jungle… which turns ugly when you lose your group and find yourself lost in said jungle. But hey! <click> No worries! You got your SAS survival guide on your iPhone that can tell you everything about survival in a hostile environment – so, no worries! Until that moment in time <click> when the battery indicator turns red… That’s when you wish you would have brought your hardcopy of the guide along… The long story’s short message: eBooks need electricity – no power – no reading
  • This pro-book arguement is a special request from Reto who likes to read in the tub… probably not a good idea to do that with an eBook reader… The message hier: eBook readers can break: don’t throw them, don’t get them wet, don’t swat flies with them… you get it. On a byline: There are solutions to Reto’s problem… <click>
  • Waterproofed Kindle
  • eBooks have no physical presence and carry no emotional value – they are just files on a reading device…
  • … and they carry as much personality and warmth as this living room.
  • eBooks are no investments
  • A big problem that concerns mostly academia: eBooks have no static page numbering – how do you refernce quotes in a paper? There are some ideas floating around on how to tackle this, e.g. numbering the paragraphs or setting so called «locations» in the text (Amazon)… This will be solved in the near future, I’m convinced.
  • So, let’s recapitulate: Advantages of eBooks Advantages of printed books <after «no static page numbers»> No, as educators, this points here … do not really count… So… that leaves us with a pretty long list of pro eBook arguments and just two valuable ones for the printed books. Now let’s see which points on the left side are relevant to us educators:
  • So, more than enough reasons to get interested in them, don’t you think?
  • Now, you’re probably thinking: «This is all very nice, but we are doing ADL, we have our SCORM editor or Articulate – what do we need eBooks for?» Sitting in front of a computer and going through a text-heavy course like «Introduction to NATO», «PAP DIB» (Building Defence Institutions) or «CSDP» (Common Security and Defence Policy of the EU) which means most of all reading and digesting a lot of information – this is, frankly said, a pain in the ass. <click> Now imagine to have all the text of this course as a nice little eBook which comes accompanied <click> by a set of learning cards covering the Learning Objectives. Both of them can be downloaded onto a mobile device and used offline. Wouldn’t that be nice? So, why not create an ADL course consisting of an eBook, Leaning Cards (i.e. a Question Pool) and <click> a Test and put everything on <click> ILIAS. The learner downloads <click> The eBook and Learning Cards onto his mobile device and can learn anywhere, anytime (offline). <click> When he’s ready, he goes online and takes the test.
  • Now, let’s have a look under the hood of eBooks and eBook readers: There are many different eBook file formats. To many! So – what format should we use?
  • To decide that crucial question we need to know on what kind of devices eBooks typically are used. There are three types of reading devices: Hardware Readers (Kindle Paperwhite, Barnes & Noble Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo eReader…) + lightweight (around 200 g) + small power consumption (around 2 months of battery life) Tablet PCs (iPad, Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Kindle Fire, Galaxy Nexus…) + full fledged PCs, not just eBook readers Smart Phones (iPhone, HTC, Samsung Galaxy III, Nokia Lumia…) + small, always with you
  • Out of all this devices, this is a list of the five most popular readers and the formats they support. If you look at this list, what would the logical choice of format be?
  • Yep, PDF – virtually every eBook reader unterstands PDF… However, PDF was not really developed as an eBook format – this means, that a lot of the nice features from our list do not work. Most of all: PDF text does not «flow». Have you e ver tried reading a pdf with a multi-column layout and pictures on the small screen of a smart phone? So you know what that means… Btw: GoodReader (for iOS only, sorry) is probably the best PDF reader for mobile devices on the market! It even has a function called “PDF Reflow” which extracts the pure text out of a PDF and tries to emulate the text flow of an actual eBook – the result is somewhat pitiful… So: PDF, allthough widley supported, is not a good choice.
  • Our second choice would probably be EPUB - The fact, that we keep out the users of the most popular reader out, shouldn’t concern us to much right now. We tackle that problem later. First, let’s have a look at EPUB – what is it exactly and what can it do?
  • EPUB stands for Electronic Publishing and is the official standard of, and maintained by, the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) It is Powerful: In it’s newest version, EPUB3, it supports more possibilities (audio, video, interactions, etc.) than most other eBook formats It is Open: EPUB is an open standard, no proprietary technologies are used It is Widley supported: Apart from the Kindles, most of the more popular readers (hard- & software) support the EPUB standard ----------------------------------------- Sidenote: Everybody just remotley connected to electronic publishing is member of the IDPF: Apple, Sony, Kobo, Barnes&Noble, Google, Booksellers Associations all over the world, Library Associations all over the world, Universities all over the world… - read the members list on their homepage. Everybody is there except Amazon
  • To open a EPUB container (without any DRM protection!), just change the extension from .epub to .zip and unzip it.
  • There are two versions of EPUB that are used: The older EPUB2 that can show the same kinds of content a printed book can show Then there’s the new version EPUB3, which handles everything EPUB2 handles plus…
  • «But there’s one small problem!»
  • Apps, that support EPUB3… more or less… iOS: iBooks Android: Ideal Group Reader Beta So, for the moment, EPUB2 is still the way to go – but we keep our eye on EPUB3…
  • Let’s talk Production tools! Sigil – probably the best EPUB editor on the market, better than the commercial tools – and it’s free. The problem is, that the developers do not like EPUB3. Their argument: «eBooks are books and books do not have audio, video and all that modern nonsense»… iBA – very cool! – If you have a Mac, try it out. It’s easy to use and your eBooks look stunning and give you a glimpse into what would be possible with EPUB3. However, they can only be sold via the Apple iBook Store and can only be read on a Apple iPad. Calibre – is on one hand an eBook management software, on the other hand, and this brings us back to our friends with Kindles, a very powerful format converter!
  • Sigil is an open-source editor for EPUB eBooks. As a cross-platform application, it is distributed for the Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux platforms under the GNU GPL license. Sigil supports both WYSIWYG and code-based editing of EPUB files, as well as the import of HTML and plain text files. Sigil homepage: http://code.google.com/p/sigil/
  • iBooks Author (iBA) is an eBook authoring application by Apple. iBook Author eBooks are fixed layout eBooks and support most of the EPUB3 specifications: you can add audio, video, interactions and a lot more. However, documents created with iBooks Author may only be exported as PDF files, iba files (a proprietary eBook format, very similar to EPU3, that runs only on the Apple eBook reader app iBooks on iPads) or be published to the Apple iBooks Bookstore. iBooks Author runs only on Macs and is available free of charge from the Mac App Store.
  • Calibre is a free and open source eBook library management and eBook conversion application developed by users of eBooks for users of eBooks. Calibre can also be used to sync your eBooks to a wide variety of devices. For more and device-specific information consult the Calibre hompage («About Calibre»). Calibre homepage: http://calibre-ebook.com
  • One last, very cool thing! Well hidden in the sidebar Wikipedia has a book creating tool: With the Wikipedia book creator you can create a book containing a collection of wiki pages of your choice. You can export the book in different formats (for example PDF or EPUB) or even order a printed copy. A conclusive description on how to use book creator: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Books Btw: “Diamond Age” by Neil Stephenson is a very cool sci-fi novel in which an “eBook” (well, actually it is more of a KI-book) plays a very prominent role. Read it!
  • Some resources
  • eBooks

    1. 1. eBooks an Overview by Beat Oderbolz
    2. 2. 2007, November 2010, July 2011, January 2011, May Kindle and Kindle eBooks introduced Kindle eBooks outsell Hardbacks Kindle eBooks outsell Paperbacks (115:100) Kindle eBooks outsell Hardbacks and Paperbacks combined (105:100)
    3. 3. Ok… But what is so great about eBooks?
    4. 4. James Joyce’s Ulysses EPUB file iBook Store 3 $ James Joyce’s Ulysses First Edition The Manhattan Rare Book Company 60’000 $
    5. 5. eBooks… + do not use up any space: 1000s of books in one tiny box + are searchable + let you change the size of the letters, or even change the font + let you add notes and highlights which can also be removed again without any trace + let you directly access a dictionary + can be enhanced with non-static content + interdevice synchronisation + can be read to you by a text-to- speech application + can be updated + are “green” and “cheap”: no paper, no transportation, no stockpiling Printed Books… + work without electricity + do not break + have a physical presence and can carry emotional value, they can be more than just content + can be investements + have static page numbers
    6. 6. eBooks & ADL offline online
    7. 7. eBook formats: The Tower of eBabel
    8. 8. eBook Reading Devices Hardware Readers Tablet PCs With iOS, Android or Win 8 Smart Phones With iOS, Android, or Else OS
    9. 9. Most popular eBook Readers & the Formats they support Amazon Kindle AZW, KF8, PDF, TXT, non-DRM MOBI B&N Nook EPUB, PDF Apple iPad EPUB, PDF, iBook Sony Reader EPUB, PDF, TXT, RTF, DOC, BBeB Kobo eReader EPUB, PDF, TXT, RTF, HTML
    10. 10. EPUB Powerful Open Widely supported
    11. 11. EPUB EPUB internally uses • XHTML to represent the text and structure of the content document • a subset of CSS to provide layout and formatting • XML to create the document manifest, table of contents, and EPUB metadata Finally, the files are bundled in a zip file as a packaging format.
    12. 12. EPUB2 • Text • Tables & Lists • Pictures • Cover Picture • Table of Content EPUB3 • Text • Tables & Lists • Pictures • Cover Picture • Table of Content • Audio • Video • Animations • Interactions • Internal and External Links • Embedded Fonts • And basically anything you can do with the combination of HTML5, CSS and Javascript
    13. 13. Sounds great, doesn’t it? «But there’s one small problem!»
    14. 14. • 0 Hardware Readers… • a few Software Readers • 0 Editors… … are supporting* EPUB3 until now. * more or less…
    15. 15. Sigil Open-source editor for EPUB2 eBooks. Supports both WYSIWYG and code-based editing of EPUB files. For Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. iBooks Author eBook authoring application by Apple. The output of iBooks Author is a proprietary Apple file format similar to the EPUB3 standard. Runs only on Macs and is free of charge. Calibre Open-source software that organizes, saves and manages eBooks. Can convert eBooks between differing formats. For Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.
    16. 16. Resources Sigil – Windows / Mac / Linux http://code.google.com/p/sigil/ Calibre – Windows / Mac / Linux http://calibre-ebook.com/ iBooks Author – Mac only http://www.apple.com/ibooks-author/ (download via the Mac App Store for free) eBook reading apps for Tablet PCs and Smart Phones EPUB3 support Grid http://www.bisg.org/what-we-do-12-152-epub-30-support-grid.php idpf-Homepage http://www.idpf.org for iOS iBooks for Android IDEAL Group Reader ® Beta

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