A Cube with More than Six Sides

So far I’ve mostly written about eBooks but bookleteer also makes StoryCubes, and to inspire my experiments I’m thought I’d write about this cube of cubes created by Sydney-based illustrator Matt Huyhn.

During the Perception Peterborough project Matt worked with Proboscis to create visual representations of Proboscis’ research. These images were put onto each side of eight storycubes which were then connected together to create an object that can be opened, folded and turned to hide and reveal various themes and elements drawn from the research work.

There’s something quite hypnotic about playing with this cube object and seeing different images come and go in your hands.

You can see more of Matt’s work on his website here..



From Alices Adventures in Wonderland by Robert Sabuda

I came across the work of Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart when I was investigating the idea of making an e-Book pop-up book. Robert and Matthew’s books don’t just pop – they also spin, slide and grow! While the subject of the books is often aimed at children the construction is most definitely for adults. The pop-up of Alice growing inside a house, or the tornado spinning across Kansas in the Wizard of Oz have me mystified!

The spinning tornado in The Wizard of Oz by Robert Sabuda

From watchingthe video I learnt that Robert began by making white pop-ups and this became something of a signature style for him. The construction seems simpler in these books and is matched by the simplicity of the style to create something I think is  beautiful.

You can find their all their books on Robert’s website and Robert and Matthew reveal a little more about their craft in this video here..



Cover and Page 1 of the cut-out version of Dusk by Saki

Another bookleteer experiment I thought I’d show you is another  version of Dusk by Saki. This short story is set in the West End of London around Piccadilly and this time I illustrated the eBook with a cut-out of a map of this area.

bookleteer eBooks are made by folding  and cutting sheets of A4 paper and slotting these together to make the final A6 size eBook (see here for a detailed video of how this is done). One sheet of A4 paper makes 4 eBook pages. Thanks to the folding technique pages from one sheet are not included in sequence but are interspersed throughout the eBook.

For the cut-out eBook I marked up one A4 sheet with 4 A6 size boxes and put a section of the map into each leaving a reasonable sized border so that the final eBook pages wouldn’t be too flimsy. Once I had cut out the map I cut the A4 sheet vertically down the centre (you would cut the sheet differently for different designs of eBook) and inserted it amongst the A4 translucent sheets onto which I’d printed the text.

Dusk cut-out eBook deconstructed

Because the map was only printed on one side of the A4 sheet the flip side of the cut-out pages is blank. I really like the effect of seeing the text through the cut-outs and the fragile quality that the cut-outs give to the book.

(See some other bookleteer experiments here)


For the lazy reader

Feeling too tired to turn the pages of your book? You need les éditions volumique…

The making of les éditions volumique, Bertrand Duplat and Etienne Mineur

Created by Bertrand Duplat and Etienne Mineur les éditions volumique is a physical book with computer-controlled self-turning pages. Watch the video here..

At first glance I thought this seemed a very different digital / physical hybrid to the ebooks and storycubes, however, why shouldn’t the little books be augmented with electronics and programming? The potential is great. Imagine stories with sound effects, guide books that know which direction you’re facing or self-lighting books for reading in the dark. Suddenly the content is brought to life, as the book becomes aware of its surroundings and responds to them expanding the experience of reading beyond the page.


Your House: Olafur Eliasson

A few pages from Your House, Olafur Eliasson

Looking deceptively simple, Your House by Olafur Eliasson (the artist behind the Weather Project at Tate Modern in 2005) is beautiful and detailed. The book shows a laser-cut negative impression of Eliasson’s house in Copenhagen. As you move from the front to the back of the book you make your way through the rooms of the house constructing a mental and physical narrative as you go. Every sheet is individually cut and every time you turn the page your perspective on the building changes. Each page is to scale and corresponds to 2.2 cm of the actual house.

The book is a limited edition of 225, published by the Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2006. Concept by Olafur Eliasson, design is by Michael Heimann, Claudia Baulesch /

See more pictures of it on Olafur Eliasson’s website here..


Rainbow in your hand: Masashi Kawamura

I’ve seen the photos and the video but I still can’t quite believe this works. I hope it does because it’s so simple and such a unique way of experiencing a book.

Rainbow in your hand is a flip book by Masashi Kawamura. Each of the 36 pages has a colour spectrum on a black background. As you flip through the book you see the illusion of a rainbow hovering above the pages.

Seeing this makes me wonder if it’s possible to make an eBook flip book. I’m quite surprised to hear no-one has tried this already and it’s definitely something I’d like to experiment with in the next few weeks. Do let me know if you have made an eBook flip book already and have any tips or examples…

Watch Rainbow in your hand on YouTube


Paper selection

A while back we spent some time in the Proboscis studio playing around with different papers for eBooks. Not many people have seen these experiments so I thought I’d start my investigation into eBooks-as-objects by writing about them. For all of the books here I find that the combination of paper, content and illustration gives them more depth and makes them more engaging than if they were printed onto standard white A4 paper.

For the diffusion notebook we tried out a brown paper cover with translucent inside pages. Because of the way the eBooks are put together (see here if you’ve never done it yourself..) the brown paper also appears on two inside pages. For me, the brown paper gives a rough, temporary feel to the notebook and the semi-transparency of the blank internal pages hints at half-imagined sketches glimpsed through the pages.

diffusion notebook: A brown paper cover and translucent internal pages

Next up is the eBook of Dusk, a short story by Saki created by Carmen who used a combination of blue-grey and cream matt paper, slightly heavier than standard printer paper, for the cover and inside pages. The paper has been printed on twice. First, Carmen printed the blank sheets of A4 with the silhouette illustrations she’d selected, then the paper was put back through the printer for the eBook PDF. And so the text appears over the illustrations. Lovely, hey?

Dusk, by Saki: Double-printed paper lets the story appear over the illustrations

If you’re thinking of trying out this double-printing technique, my advise is to work out exactly how each eBook page is oriented and to understand the sequence in which they are laid out on the A4 sheets as this is not intuitive. And I recommend testing it out with cheap printer paper first if you’re going to be using more unusual or expensive papers.

Finally, my favourite of these early eBook experiments is A Manifesto for Black Urbanism by Paul Goodwin. This was also made by Carmen usign thin black card for the cover and translucent paper for the inside pages. Like Dusk, the translucent sheets were double printed and show black and white images of urban industrial environments behind the text.

On the cover and two internal pages the black card is printed with black ink. Because the ink is shiny and the card is matt the text is still legible though maybe not as easy to read as black text on white paper. While this wouldn’t be suitable if you’re trying to make the eBook accessible to as wide an audience as possible in the right circumstances perhaps asking a little more of the reader is a way to engage them more deeply with the content?

A Manifesto for Black Urbanism by Paul Goodwin: Black ink on black card and double-printed translucent pages


Introducing Karen

Hi, Karen here*. Recently, Giles invited me to take some time and explore the potential of bookleteer.  And I’m very happy to do so. I’ve known bookleteer for a while now and have made my share of eBooks and storycubes while I was working with Proboscis .

Anyway, I have a confession.

In Proboscis studio contemplating the merits of two storycubes

While I appreciate the digital-ness of bookleteer eBooks and storycubes and how they can be shared around the world with friends and strangers, what I really like about them is their low-tech, tangible, crafty, physical-ness.

At the most recent Pitch Up and Publish one of the participants said they hadn’t really understood the eBooks until they printed them out and made them up and that’s exactly how I feel about them. So for the next couple of months I’m going to explore the eBooks and storyCubes as objects.

This gives me a great excuse to scour the web for inspiring examples of books that are experienced as objects, and cubes that do more. And then to try out some ideas of my own and see what can be done with a few sheets of A4 paper, the bookleteer software and imagination.I’m very excited about it… and all the outcomes will be posted here, come back soon to check how I’m getting along!

*In case you want to know more, I’m interested in all things around making, technology and art. And I’m especially curious about the places where these things overlap. (I’m fascinated by people and cities too but that’s another story..)

help & guides publishing on demand

bookleteer user guides


Giles asked me to help put together some user guides for bookleteer so I took the opportunity of the first Pitch Up and Publish event to see how people went about using bookleteer and to ask them the kinds of problems they encountered. Having worked with the original Diffusion Generator it was really satisfying to see how far the new bookleteer version has come in making the process of creating an eBook or StoryCube an intuitive one.

During the event I took notes on Giles’ introduction on how to use bookleteer and noted down the questions asked by participants. These are the basis of the help guide and faq on bookleteer that you can see when you login to

Currently, the user guide describes how to create an eBook in one of the four available formats (shown below). A guide to making StoryCubes will be added soon.


eBook formats Classic Portrait and Classic Landscape


eBook formats Book Portrait and Book Landscape

In the future we plan to add more detail to the help section and divide the user guides and faq into separate pages. If you have any comments on the usefulness of these guides, or how we could make them more relevant to you, or if you’ve had any difficulties in using bookleteer that we haven’t covered, please do get in touch and let us know..

And don’t forget Pitch Up & Publish 2 tomorrow night!