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.


  1. Thank you so much for testing this out and sharing your progress. :o)

  2. Thanks Elizabeth. I saw Will's video as well and it sparked my attempt to reformat my first out-of-print book at an ebook. I'm not quite there yet since I don't have CS5, but I've got a nice batch of correctly sized jpg. files ready and waiting to go -- once I figure out how to achieve the epub format that is!

  3. Erik, If you have CS4 you can still do it. It's just a little clunkier! (I used CS4.) :) e

  4. Thanks E. Embarrassingly still on an even EARLIER version of Adobe CS, I went with the Mr. Gilson rec. on Will's site. He was great, and everything thing on the newly digitized versions of OCTAVIUS BLOOM for Nook and Kindle work as hoped. I'd love to follow your lead and figure things out for myself when I finally upgrade the whole system later this fall, but I'm happy for now to have dipped a little toe into the eBook world!