In the early 1990s I wrote and illustrated Tracks in the Sand, which tells the life-cycle story of sea turtles. It was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers Association and it’s long seemed likely candidate to bring back to life via a digital edition.
In the last few weeks I’ve been scanning the original artwork into Photoshop and changing the proportions of the pages to get rid of the overly wide shape of double page spreads. This will allow the pages to fit better onto both regular computer and tablet screens. It has required moving some sea shells and turtle heads around, but it seems to be working out. The (not final) text layouts were done in InDesign. Here is a miniature flip-book showing a few pages—click on the right corner to turn the pages:
(If you’re reading this post in Google Reader or similar and can't see the little book, click on the post title to come to the blog.) The technology...surprise!..has been a bit of a pain. I’ve been playing with the page-turning effect, for example, and can get it into a PDF (cool!) But, once you get to the last page, the only way to get back is to laboriously flip back through every page again. (After digging around on the ‘net and various forums and trying all sorts of work-arounds to get some kind of navigation, I would love to be proved wrong so somebody, please do.)
If we forget the page-flipping (which is a Flash animation) and use a fade effect instead, it looks nice plus it’s possible to add a nice Start Over button at the end, yay! By using a PDF I can avoid having the hassle of putting it into EPUB format (required to sell it in the iBookstore.) That’s because the iBooks app allows you to add PDFs (cool!) But, in testing today, when you bring the PDF into the iPad, not only does the Start Over button not work, it gets disappeared entirely (boy, Apple really does not like Flash!) But, at least Tracks looked nice and the iBooks navigation was okay.
Whew, it’s all been a bit exhausting and I’m not 100% sure what the next step is, but at the very least I learned how to make very cool digital flip-books of my print books to put on my web site. Here are a couple more here and here. If anyone is interested in how to make one, I put a tutorial on my books blog. Here is a close-up of one of the hatching turtles taking a little break from the hassles of eggscaping... is he cute or what?