Hacking your way into being self-published

As Dr. Jerz requested, I took a look more specifically at the art of “hacking and making” your own eBooks. In Matthew Kirschenbaum’s “Hello Worlds,” he discusses the importance of knowing how to hack and how to code programs. The same could definitely be applied to generating eBooks. In a way, Aja and I have been “hacking” through e-publishing since we were freshmen in EL 236, where we created our first interactive fiction games.

Today, as we plan to hack our way into the Setonian Magazine’s ebook, we’ve got a couple options. As Dr. Jerz mentioned, we can build the eBook through Apple’s iBooks and iBooks Author, but I’ve found a couple issues already.  For one, in order to run iBooks Author, you have to have the latest version of OS on your device.

That means I’ll be looking at $30 for the new Lion software (which is frustrating since I purchased the last OS in fall 2010 so I could use quicktime for screencasting). Also, it appears that we might not be able to import our full layout designs straight into the program. Like I said, because I don’t have the software, I haven’t tested it out, so I can’t be sure just yet. However, the way it looks now, this could turn into twice as much work as we’d planned.

As for InDesign CS 5.5, users can export their existing indesign files straight to an “interactive” pdf. This isn’t entirely an eBook, but it should work with little issue. You can check out a demo here.

Depending on just how creative we want to be, and depending on how much time we have, we also have the option of exporting the indesign files to Adobe Flash Professional, where we can “add sophisticated interactivity, animation and navigation to complex layouts.” Check out the preview for this as well!.

Overall, the whole process doesn’t look that challenging, as show in this tutorial.

Via Hackers and Makers: Kirschenbaum

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