Monday, August 15, 2011

Creating a B&N Nook Picture Book (part 2)

So last week I announced that I converted my picture book app, LULA’S BREW, into a .pdf for download to The Illustrated Section and various electronic devices... and a Nook color picture book. I got you started on preparing your files for the process. Here's the rest...

The latest buzz is that Adobe InDesign 5 (CS5) can convert files to .epub. VonLogan's tutorial will walk you through this step-by-step, so you'll need to download it from Will Terry's blog. My first glitch was that I only have ID4 (CS4), but turns out, it can do it too. The only difference is, when I went to save, rather than “save as .epub,” it said “Export Book for Digital Editions” (wait for it = .epub). It did crash the program, but it gave me the file I needed. So, okay.
The trick with picture books is you have to create a new document in ID for every page, which is what forces page turns in what would otherwise be flowing text for a typical .epub file. Those documents can then be converted into an .epub “book.” However, there is some coding in those files that needs to be tweaked to get the images to show up full-screen on a Nook. 
By converting the .epub file to a .zip file (by changing the suffix), you can open the separate documents and change the code in the templates. Follow VonLogan directions meticulously. And be sure to use a text program that doesn’t have “smart quotes” on as all those reversed quotes can negate the html commands. (He used WordPress on a PC; I used Dreamweaver on a Mac.) You also have to save a cover file into the master folder, then convert the folder back to .epub from .zip (I used WinZip for Mac to get what I needed, although you could also use Stuffit). 
My file was ready!

The next step was to create an account through Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! site (accessed through their main page). You will need an associated bank account to which any profits can be directed. (I opened an account especially for Paypal and transactions such as these, rather than allow access to my main bank account.) I plugged in all the information (setting my book for the 3-5 age range), uploaded my file, previewed the document online and hit “Sell Now.” 
With an already existing book, the entire process took me about two days - mostly because I didn’t know what I was doing. I imagine a day or less would work once a comfort zone is established. Granted, with Tom Gilson's reasonable rates, you may rather hire him to do the techie stuff, but I wanted to get a full idea of the beastie. 
It took one day to go live on Barnes and, and you can now find LULA’S BREW HERE at B&N (or just search “Lula’s Brew”). The only down side? I have an iPhone, iPad, and a Kindle, but I don’t own a Nook color! Here’s hoping lots of people do...
- Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Click here to read part 1.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Creating a B&N Nook Picture Book (part 1)

I recently converted my picture book app, LULA’S BREW, into a .pdf for download to The Illustrated Section and various electronic devices... including a Nook color picture book. It isn’t an exercise for everybody, but it can be done if you have the right software, some ease around technology, and a good deal of patience.
I have to give a nod to author/illustrator Will Terry who has several eBook-themed videos on his blog that got me started (see April 2010 in the archives especially). He interviewed his developer, Tom Gilson, who discussed much of the tech side; and he includes a tutorial by VonLogan Brimhall which walks you through converting to .epub (the standard file format for the Nook) via Adobe InDesign (CS5) on a PC.
The first step was formatting the files. I suggest keeping your picture book files in layers so that artwork can be moved around and text adjusted as needed for various devices. (Lots of space needs to be reserved for text and large, simple images tend to work well.) Since I’d already sized my book down for the iPad/iPhone, I didn’t have to do too much tweaking. Vertical layouts work best on most of these electronic devices, despite Apple’s rotating features, to keep text readable and allow the greatest visual impact. Think single pages rather than double page spreads - eBooks really aren’t the same thing as a traditional books, despite the debates.
There does seem to be some wiggle room on height on the Nook, although the easiest dimensions to work within safely are 562x750 pixels. (It can go as tall as 850 pixels.) By using batch processing in Adobe Photoshop I was able to size my files easily (saving them in a new folder), tweak the layouts, then convert them to jpgs. 
Important - I numbered my files from 01-cover.jpg to 34.jpg to keep them in order. Without end papers included, the book is a bit shorter than your average picture book. 34.jpg was a closing page directing people to my website (and includes a QR code).
Then I dove into VonLogan’s tutorial. I'll share the rests of the process next week if you'd like to play along!
Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Click here to read part 2.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer re-reading about digital books

In case you missed them the first time around, here are a few “summer rerun” posts from E is for Book:

An Interview with App Developer PicPocket Books 
by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

The iPad App as a Therapeutic Tool 
by Freddie Levin
by Amy Timberlake 

by various members

Publishing an eBook? Three Questions to Consider:
Part 1 and Part 2
by Janet Wong

Happy reading!

Loreen Leedy
my blog