Mobileread
Complicated ebook, multimedia > ebook of some sort
#1  pshoebri 10-13-2020, 06:00 PM
Hello all,

I'm creating an ebook that has a few technical challenges, hoping you folks can offer some advice.

1. The book is also going to be a print book. It has 100 color illustrations.

2. The illustrations are also triggers that will activate an augmented reality animation when you hold up an AR app on your phone to them, revealing 15 second loops with audio, overlaid on top of the printed book reference image.

We've dealt with the design and technology of these two questions. I'm here to ask questions since the publishers would like us to make an ebook of this book.

The book is designed in indesign right now. Is multi-column, has drop caps, and images are placed throughout the book.

Options include:

Publish the ebook so that all of the animations are built right into the text, and could be activated, played, as well as the book be read. Possibly pages/iBooks could do this? We have to rebuild this completely in Pages to make this happen....?

Output an interactive PDF from indesign? An ePub 3?

Use calibre to translate this somehow?

Hopefully someone here has some experience and can offer some guidance. Thanks in advance!
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#2  BetterRed 10-14-2020, 06:13 AM
Moderator Notice

You're in the wrong place for this sort of question. Best place is the Workshop forum, so I'm moving it there

BR
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#3  Hitch 10-14-2020, 11:24 AM
Quote pshoebri
Hello all,

I'm creating an ebook that has a few technical challenges, hoping you folks can offer some advice.

1. The book is also going to be a print book. It has 100 color illustrations.

2. The illustrations are also triggers that will activate an augmented reality animation when you hold up an AR app on your phone to them, revealing 15 second loops with audio, overlaid on top of the printed book reference image.

We've dealt with the design and technology of these two questions. I'm here to ask questions since the publishers would like us to make an ebook of this book.

The book is designed in indesign right now. Is multi-column, has drop caps, and images are placed throughout the book.

Options include:

Publish the ebook so that all of the animations are built right into the text, and could be activated, played, as well as the book be read. Possibly pages/iBooks could do this? We have to rebuild this completely in Pages to make this happen....?

Output an interactive PDF from indesign? An ePub 3?

Use calibre to translate this somehow?

Hopefully someone here has some experience and can offer some guidance. Thanks in advance!
Can you elaborate on what platform you envision supporting this? As an eBook?

I can tell you that it's exceedingly unlikely that you can achieve any of this with Calibre.

Next, multiple columns per page are not natively or organically supported in eBooks, either ePUB or MOBI. HTML doesn't have tabs and it doesn't have columns. The only way to achieve 'columns' in ebooks is by putting your content inside table cells, inside tables.

For most eBooks/eBook formats, an image zooms when tapped--it's not a TRIGGER for anything else. For that matter, on the Kindle platform, it's difficult to get users to understand how to tap images for links, because of the fact that the primary action upon tap is zooming--not activating a LINK.

If by "augmented reality animation," you mean video, you can achieve that in ePUB, for iBooks alone, primarily, or browser/web-based reading apps like Readium, but most of the other ePUB readers don't routinely or natively support embedded video. For B&N, you can't upload it b/c they have an upload limit of 20mb. You might have some success at Kobo.

If you mean actual animation, not video...I would suspect that maybe, MAYBE, iBooks might support that, but I don't know another eReader that would. (FWIW, I can tell you that generally and routinely speaking, for most of my authors, they'll sell 1,000 books on Amazon for every one that they sell on iBooks--or fewer, even. And they'll sell 80-ish, on B&N, for every one book that they sell on iBooks.)

Pages is a word processor, not an eBook reader; not sure what you're thinking there.

Then you have filesize issues, based upon the size of the animation elements and the rest of the eBook. eBook readers aren't really small computers; they're limited and you need to be careful about file-size, both due to retailer limitations and user reality/usability.

If you try to do this using Fixed-layout, for Kindle, you won't be able to. Fixed-layout in Kindle (to support columns), can't have interactive linked or active elements. You can embed video--that's it. It also significantly limits your download audience; the book can only be read on Fires, realistically, not the huge eInk audience/owner demographic.

To me, this sounds like an app, not an eBook. Or an interactive PDF that you sell from a website, as none of the major ebook retailers allow/sell PDFs, including Apple, as far as I know. The columns are HUGELY problematic, in terms of making the eBook work on varied ebook platforms. Almost more than the animation, in some ways.

I do want to point out, ignoring all the other problem areas, about columns--I don't know if you've exported this file to PDF and then put it on your smartphone and then tried to actually read it--not look at it, not skim, but READ it--there's a reason that nobody's really tried to address the column issues, a la bootstrap, for eBooks. Trying to put two columns of text, on a 3.5" wide screen, typically, with a quarter-inch margin, all around...that's not a fantastic end-user experience.

If the book is long, the reading experience is not good...it's tap-zoom, pan-scan, read; pan-scan, read; pan-scan, read; page-flip; tap-zoom, pan-scan, read; pan-scan, read; pan-scan, read; page-flip; lather-rinse repeat for however many pages. If you've ever tried to read a large (6x9 or larger) page size PDF on a smartphone, that's lengthy, then you know what I mean.

So...I'd say, engage an app-building company; make the layout responsive, for mobile; that will get your client everything that they want and you won't be trying to be Sisyphus, rolling an unwilling rock up an unforgiving hill that isn't going to do what they really want. And the "book" app can be sold on the Droid and iOS platforms.

Offered FWIW.

Hitch
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#4  Quoth 10-14-2020, 03:23 PM
Quote pshoebri
Hello all,

I'm creating an ebook that has a few technical challenges, hoping you folks can offer some advice.

1. The book is also going to be a print book. It has 100 color illustrations.

2. The illustrations are also triggers that will activate an augmented reality animation when you hold up an AR app on your phone to them, revealing 15 second loops with audio, overlaid on top of the printed book reference image.
AR in with/a paper book?

Do an App that is interactive and then do an ordinary printed book and a reflowable epub2 with lower resolution colour images. That will upload to Amazon KDP to make Kindle ebooks.

Totally forget columns. They are for magazines and newspapers or VERY large format books. Horrible on a handheld book and IMPOSSIBLE sensibly in an ebook.



On the Fire and Kindle App, or an epub app it will be colour. On eink Kindles and eink epub readers it will be mono.

You can easily at each point, use a centred QR code, on it's own with a caption below it. That will work an app and work on paper, colour app and eink app on all platforms.

So just make an ordinary book, do it without headers, footers etc for epub first, then reformat a copy when proofed for paper. Insert the QR codes as required, but never as floating images with surrounding text.
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#5  Quoth 10-16-2020, 12:38 PM
I was testing this idea.
You also need a link if a QR code goes to a web video. Not needed if you are pointing a phone at an eink or paper book or LCD screen on a tablet or PC. But certainly my phone or tablet can't use a QR code in an app, PDF or ebook. It can only use one on something else.

So if you just want videos, you can create a YouTube channel and put a QR code in paper book and ebook. Then point phone or tablet at it. The QR code is only an image, so can also be a link, and ought to have a caption with a link, then when you read the ebook on a phone or tablet instead of paper or ink, you tap the caption or the image. Some apps zoom image, hence best to have a caption too. Anyway, a QR code should ALWAYS have an honest caption.


show attachment »
Artists and Rooks Blurb
My phone's QR reader is set to preview with options to open link, copy to clipboard or open a text editor (or other default app for text, could be Contacts).


I was once tempted to replace the QR codes on Tesco vegetables and some posters with alternate QR codes. It's stupidity that some phones automatically go to a web site and shortened URLs are an evil invented for Twitter that are no longer needed. Twitter does it automatically now.
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#6  Hitch 10-16-2020, 03:27 PM
Quote Quoth
I was testing this idea.
You also need a link if a QR code goes to a web video. Not needed if you are pointing a phone at an eink or paper book or LCD screen on a tablet or PC. But certainly my phone or tablet can't use a QR code in an app, PDF or ebook. It can only use one on something else.

So if you just want videos, you can create a YouTube channel and put a QR code in paper book and ebook. Then point phone or tablet at it. The QR code is only an image, so can also be a link, and ought to have a caption with a link, then when you read the ebook on a phone or tablet instead of paper or ink, you tap the caption or the image. Some apps zoom image, hence best to have a caption too. Anyway, a QR code should ALWAYS have an honest caption.
Yabbut, snookums, didn't the OP say that they wanted actual animation? Driven by the software? I realize, yes, of course, can't be done and I admire you for your research, but I suspect that's the sticky wicket.

Hitch
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#7  Quoth 10-17-2020, 11:00 AM
Save animation as a video or gif in the phone app, or even just on the Internet. The QR code + link will work on all platforms.

As you know, animation only works on phones, tablets, PCs, MACs, and never on paper or eink, though Harry Potter style semi-animated eink has occasionally been glued onto a magazine as an expensive marketing gimmick.

Most eReading apps on phones and tablets don't support animation, if they display even a gif (most won't), you'll get only the first frame.

Hitch knows all this.

I found even on the Forum here, that while I managed to have a link on a centred image in my signature, I could only get the the link to work on a caption for an image in the post. It was offering to Zoom / Enlarge image rather that load link. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but I'd concluded that in ebooks a while ago, that not all ereading software would easily allow a link on an image to work.
Also a few really old readers don't support ANY kind of link!
Also a link outside of a book doesn't work on all ereaders, and a link to a video or animation will only work on a phone, tablet, PC etc.

So while I dislike QR codes, if you have a separate phone (or tablet) to what you are reading on, they do work on ANY platform that can display a small mono static image. Paper, eink, OLED, LCD, anything.
So the only ereading app I have where the QR doesn't display is the Palm Z22 PDA (any ereader on it, though maybe the PDF viewer works, but as screen is 160 x 160 pixels I didn't install Adobe's PDF reader for Palm PDA. Maybe I should for a laugh?)
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#8  Hitch 10-17-2020, 11:37 AM
Quote Quoth
Save animation as a video or gif in the phone app, or even just on the Internet. The QR code + link will work on all platforms.

As you know, animation only works on phones, tablets, PCs, MACs, and never on paper or eink, though Harry Potter style semi-animated eink has occasionally been glued onto a magazine as an expensive marketing gimmick.

Most eReading apps on phones and tablets don't support animation, if they display even a gif (most won't), you'll get only the first frame.

Hitch knows all this.

I found even on the Forum here, that while I managed to have a link on a centred image in my signature, I could only get the the link to work on a caption for an image in the post. It was offering to Zoom / Enlarge image rather that load link. Maybe I was doing it wrong, but I'd concluded that in ebooks a while ago, that not all ereading software would easily allow a link on an image to work.
Also a few really old readers don't support ANY kind of link!
Also a link outside of a book doesn't work on all ereaders, and a link to a video or animation will only work on a phone, tablet, PC etc.

So while I dislike QR codes, if you have a separate phone (or tablet) to what you are reading on, they do work on ANY platform that can display a small mono static image. Paper, eink, OLED, LCD, anything.
So the only ereading app I have where the QR doesn't display is the Palm Z22 PDA (any ereader on it, though maybe the PDF viewer works, but as screen is 160 x 160 pixels I didn't install Adobe's PDF reader for Palm PDA. Maybe I should for a laugh?)
You have the heart and soul of a Tesla; you're always experimenting. I admire it enormously. I drive my crew nuts, saying things like "hey, kids, let's try this and see if we can make it work," and mostly, they ignore me. lol. I guess I'm just not channeling my inner Cruella DeVille clearly enough, (sigh).

Hitch
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#9  j.p.s 10-17-2020, 01:43 PM
Quote Quoth
As you know, animation only works on phones, tablets, PCs, MACs, and never on paper or eink.
What about lenticular printing and flip books?
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#10  Quoth 10-17-2020, 03:32 PM
Quote j.p.s
What about lenticular printing and flip books?
A) It's expensive.
B) It's not really animation, though we bought some wildlife ones that are well done.
C) It's two or three images printed in interleaved strips. It's a prism over each group of strips, not a lens. The prisms are a single sheet of grooved plastic. At least existed in 1960s. Might be much older.

I love the 3D popup books the Victorians invented. They are rather fragile and even the contemporary ones don't survive long. They had various animated gadgets, usually just a short sequence. Essentially mechanical gifs.

I have this one, in poor condition: The Model Menagerie (1895)

However I've bought contemporary ones for pre-school kids, some of which have tabs rather than pop-up when page turned.

Books with lights and sound effects are usually totally rubbish. A cloth or board book holds interest longer.

Stereoscopic isn't really 3D at all and very poor for stills. Doesn't even work well for about 1/5th of people. A Victorian invention surviving as the Viewmaster using discs of dual images.

None of these are any good for any length of story or informational, hence replaced by CDs and then CDs by Web pages and now Apps for iOS and Android.

The kids in the wider family and the adults (5 to 90) want either books, games, or video. Not animated books. Only the older kids (from maybe 9) to 90 yo are happy to read on eInk or paper. The youngest ones want paper, or boards or cloth.
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