Kindle your relationship with reading

That sounded a little like an advert for Kindle – and it sort of is.

Ebooks – electronic books – are extremely popular for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is also the same reason that makes having a MP3 in your pocket a lot more popular than cramming a few dozen CDs in there: mobility.

Ebooks, for those living under a hardcover rock, are essentially special digital files of a book (novel, non-fiction, whatever), that can be opened and read by certain devices and/or programs. Not all ebooks have to be in those special digital file formats, but all special digital file formats need a dedicated program that can open it.

Here are some of the most common formats for ebooks:

PDF:

The first format that would have come to your mind would be PDFs. They’re great when you’ve typed up your 30-page long manuscript, all in 12pt Garamond, and all you have to do on your Microsoft Word is hit “Export” and the computer does it all for you. Then, you can send it off to anyone with the proclivity to read it, and you know that it won’t mess up, because almost all devices can recognize PDFs. PDF is even better if you have images, because we’ve all had to deal with images going on a walkabout whenever you try to move some text around it.

Then you hit a snag: Ralph wants to read your 30-page on his 5-inch phone, except because the PDF was made with 12pt Garamond, it’s too wide for his screen! He has to zoom in, and keep swiping and moving the PDF around, and he keeps losing his place.

No PDF

Alright, Ralph, calm down. There is actually a way for him to read your manuscript on his little screen, without any compromise on anyone’s behalf.

Ebook formats are formats that allow the text to be resized, and free flowing. Imagine your text to be a box of nails: PDF sees those nails hammered into a piece of wood, and you just can’t move them around. Ebook formats, on the other hand, is more like having those nails on a sheet of metal, and the user is a magnet. They can freely move the nails around so there’s more or less of them clumped together. This is what they call ‘free-flowing’ text.

Alright, that was a terrible analogy, but you get my drift.

There are two major ebook formats, firstly, we’ll look at EPUB.

EPUB:

Epub is the industry standard for ebook formats. That means, most publishers or software developers would work with Epub in mind. Epub is most commonly used on Apple devices, like your iPad or iPhone. It is also used on many other, third-party apps for tablets and such.

Here, let Wikipedia explain it better.

MOBI:

Great! You’re super excited about being able to read A Song of Ice and Fire without building up biceps. You go to your nearest electronic store, and you tell them you want to buy an ebook reader. The gal points at the nearest Kindle, and that’s what you go home with. You’ve already got a few DRM-free ebook files from a Humble Bundle that you paid for, and since epub is the way to go, you try to load them up into your Kindle.

Except…it won’t work!

Amazon’s Kindle is probably the most ubiquitous and well known e-reader (electronic reader) around. And they do not read epub files.

Apart from their proprietary, DRM protected AZW files (for the ebooks you buy off of their Amazon store), Kindles accept only PDF, and mobi.

Fun fact: Mobi might not even stick around for Amazon…who could be moving onto something else that’s not epub.

Let’s make an ebook!

So, you’re looking at your 30-pager, and Ralph is ralphing on about his 5-inch deficiency. You know that as an author, you need to please your readers, so you’re going to make your manuscript into an ebook. Here are some ideas:

Bookbaby has a great series of articles that explain some preliminary steps you need to take before publishing.

The first step is to know what you are publishing. If it’s text-only, then epub (or mobi, if you are wanting Kindle readers to access your product too) is the way to go. Otherwise, if there is a large quantity of images, such as photo-books or instructional booklets, then PDF may be the easiest course of action.

After that, it is a matter of deciding which platform you will publish in. Remember that epub is the industry standard, and will work on iPads, as well as other e-ink readers such as KOBO, NOOK, etc; mobi is the only one which Kindles will accept (apart from their proprietary AZW format).

There are electronic publishers for your ebook, which also help you format your work. Jutoh; Lulu; and Smashwords all offer publishing in epub. Mobipocket, the people who made the mobi format, obviously allow you to publish in mobi.

What to take away:

Ebooks are much more sophisticated than reading as a PDF; a well formatted ebook an be read easily on any device, using any sized font.

There are many different kinds of file formats for ebooks, depending on the device you’re using to read. Generally, epub is the way to go, being the industry standard. However, the format decision need to ultimately be made with the knowledge of intended audience and platform in mind.

There are several online electronic publishers who can help you create an ebook and distribute it.

Finally, Ralph needs to find himself a better reading device.

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Tiny tragedies

[No Such Thing – John Mayer]

Day 06: Recommend some books to read.

The awkward moment when you don’t read as much as your aspirations allude to.

Just recently I got 3 of Jeff Lindsay’s Dexter series for super cheap, so I’ve been reading those. They’re very good, but I suppose having seen the TV show first I compare the book in relation to the TV show rather than the other way around.

Also recently saw Tomorrow, When The War Began (so behind schedule), which has made me want to read the 7 books again, even though it takes so long, and they’re hard to track down these days. They were good too, but the last I read them was in Yr 8, so my memories and tastes might have been changed.

Other than that, I used to read a lot of teenage sci-fi, most of them about people whose bodies get enhanced, or who gets super awesome tech. Spy High and CHERUB were good series for my phase of secret agents, and who could forgo Animorphs? I also remember a series called Fearless, which was pretty cool, but probably a lot chick-y if I read back on it now.

Ooh Jackie French’s Outland trilogy was also pretty awesome in my memories. And Michael Lawrence’s Withern Rise.

And anything by Isobel Carmody, assuming you can slog through the thick volumes. And Gillian Rubenstien’s Galax-Arena trilogy was pretty neat too. (Very Australian selection, I know, because of my primary school library’s stock.)

Douglas Adams, who can forget him? Totally worth renewing his trilogy of 4 countless times just to work through it!

Yeah I’m nothing special when it comes to books recommendation.

Oh um, that wizards book that got really popular. Movies were made. With the hot actress. You know which one.

Alex.

Time flu…ahem flew…

I procrastinated rather guiltily last night, reading through my old blog posts instead of doing Legal homework. Soon it would be 1 year since I started blogging frequently.

I was reading through some of the first ones I wrote when I first started. There was that once when BRuCE sat outside the crepe place in the wind laughing loudly and having fun together. Or that time in assembly last year when Dani and I sat together and wondered at how there were only 6 weeks of school left…for Yr 11. And yet here I am now.

Relived Sale all over again. Every word brought back the amazing moments that we had in Sale, the drinking contest that Julia lost, Jen’s mozzie bite through the jeans…

I was going to relive those first few weeks of holidays too, the few days I spent with Bianca. But it all became too nostalgic. The knowledge of how close I am to the next big step in my life…

Well, Term 3 starts tomorrow. It’s my final full term ever. Soon I’ll be blogging about how we’re six weeks away from ACTUALLY graduating.

Alex.

25 Things I Hate About You

Got this off Vania’s blog but I also know that it’s been circulating around Facebook.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You  have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

(Clearly, tagging is a Facebook thing. I’m not tagging anyone. This is a BLOG. I just don’t have too much to blog about.)

1. I’m short-sighted but I only wear glasses when I read, not when I’m out and about. It’s a bit of a contradiction because I suppose short-sighted people technically need it for out and about, and not for reading. But oh well.

2. I have that stupid “7 Things” by Cyrus stuck in my head right now because of my title.

3. I bite my nails, which is a bad habit. But for a while in Year 8 I went through this phase of growing my nails so long, that someone said I should cut it ‘cos its length is disturbing. I never managed to grow my nails again.

4. I wish that FRIENDS is still going. Actually, I just wish that I can write for FRIENDS. Not because it was successful (that too) but because it’s such a well-made show.

5. I. I don’t know, I wrote the last four starting with I. I should write one starting with something else.

6. YOU. Heh.

7. If there’s any mythical creature I could be (and I mean, in any myth. Ancient Greek, Gothic, Ancient Chinese, Japanese etc) I would be a vampire. Yah.

8. Once, I read a book where a main character had a habit of chewing his lips. I liked that character a lot so I started chewing my bottom lip as well. It’s now become a habit, and my bottom lip is dry, cracks a lot, has bruised-looking bits where the flesh split. Stupid son-of-a-bitch book. It was a good book, though.

9. I have a tendency to make close friends with people significantly taller, or at the very least noticeably taller than me, with a few exceptions. And by them I mean Bee, April, Yeleng, Swinsetbsnm…(Shorty Who Is Not Short Enough To Be Shorty No More. Yeleng came along and took the title of “Shorty” from Christina. Christina is now known as Swin.)

10. 25 is a really big number. I could end it here and it will become “10 Things I Hate About You” but of course THAT concept has been taken.

11. I’ve planned out my funeral songs. I think a few people already know this. But for reference, those songs are “Savin’ Me” by Nickelback, “The Reason” by Hoobastank, and at the end of the service, when they’re playing a nostalgic but fun-filled slideshow of my life, I want “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter playing. So far, barring Nickelback, my funeral songs have been put on Singstar for me to fail miserably at whilst I’m still alive.

12. [BANG!] Mm whatchoo say…

13. I think back in Grade 5 or 6, I wanted and wished that Pokemon is real so badly that I even made up this story in my head about what would happen. Basically, it went something along the lines of every one of my other classmates getting a Bulbasaur or a Charmander or Squirtle, but then a specially lucky student gets a Pikachu, and I got the Pikachu, and then there was this invention which allowed us to open portals from our world to the Pokemon world (I have to specify, I only went as far as the Kanto region, but I suppose it’s okay seeing as from there you can travel to Johto and Hoenn anyway). I wanted that so badly one day I woke up thinking, “okay, today the news will say that Pokemon is real and that all the children will embark on their new journey as soon as possible.” Of course it never happened.

14. Going onto that, I also wished for a while that Beyblades did more than just zoom around the stupid shoebox. I wished and I pretended like I could control the toy with my will, like they do in the anime. I’m such a dag.

15. Looking back, actually I wished a lot of the anime world was real, depending on which one I was into at that time. Case in point, I wanted to be one of the ninjas and live in Konoha with Naruto. I wished that I believed in “The Heart Of The Cards” and kicked ass alongside my alter ego like Yugi. I wished that I one day realized that I’ve got Saiyan blood in me and I could power up to Super Saiyan and fly around and shoot energy balls from my hands. I wished that I was one of the Wicked Witches and killed Bloom and all her stupid fairy cronies (Ha, okay, I wasn’t into Winx Club but I was going through Toasted TV in my head and I remembered it). I even wished I was in Onizuka’s class in GTO, even though I would have to have something drastically wrong with me.

16. I started blogging on WordPress after I went to  journalism conference with April all the way back in 2007 (or 2006, but I’m pretty sure it’s the former) and they were saying, if you want to get better at writing, then keep a blog. I’ve sort of tried to write with accurate grammar, or thereabouts, on my blog.

17. It annoys me when people just say to me “You’re smart, you’ll ace it.” I’m not, and I don’t.

18. Haha this just popped into my head from this afternoon: “I have CDO. It’s OCD but in alphabetical order, the way it should be.”

19. After I think reading on a book about 2 girls who were raised as individuals but one day found each other by chance and realized that they’re twins, and together they had magical powers (I said I’m a dag, right?) and I think the series was called T*Witches, anyway, after reading that, I wondered if maybe I had a twin out there. At first it went like my parents had to give up my twin and I’m living with my birth parents. Later it changed to I’ve been given away and I meet my “real parents” and they’re awesome and my twin is heaps fun but she’s much girlier and all my friends are surprised when they see her because it’s strange to see a girly version of me.

20. Fuck, nearly there.

21. What a cheat, haha!

22. I’d like to think I’m a good listener. The thing is I wasn’t before, at all. So I don’t know if I’m a good listener by general definition because I can’t be any worse of a listener than I was before, save actually saying “LA LA LA LA” over someone else talking to me.

23. Pon and Zi are so adorable, and I loved them more when I saw the artist’s earlier works, when he didn’t find his love, and they were really hurtful and pained, and to see the pictures now when he’s become happier makes me love Pon and Zi more. My favorite at the moment is the one where the yellow one (can’t tell which is which) is saying to the blue one “I love you” but the blue one has music on and didn’t hear him.

I Love You

24. I love Bianca, Carmaine, Eunice, Dani, D.P. and April. More than anyone else. I know it seems a bit redundant when I’ve put up so many names. But well yeah.

25. FINALLY! This was harder than the ones with prompts. If someone has one with prompts send them over.

Keep Cool (I love You)

D.F.