Created at our first Pitch Up & Publish event by Matthew Sheret, co-founder of We Are Words + Pictures, Expeditions in Paper Science is a compilation of blog posts written for his website. Matthew says:
“I’ve long been interested in the idea of physicalising web articles, and while an industry has solidified around POD in the last few years they remain a step removed from the immediacy I’m itching for. Bookleteer instantly unlocked that; simple cut-’n’-paste gave me a nice little document I’ve been throwing around since.”
A collaborative eBook produced as a result of our City As Material: Skyline event, Ancient Lights, City Shadows features mixed media collected on the day and material we were inspired to create after our wander through the city.
Adorning the cover is one of Martin Fidler’s intricate skyline drawings, opposed with an ambiguous photograph of Tower 42, taken from ground level, looking up – once the image is reversed, it resembles surreal train tracks, running into the horizon. Flowing throughout the book are two lines, mapping our elevation over distance and over duration, captured via a iPhone GPS / Altitude app. They stream through notebook scraps and photos, providing a locational narrative – we liked the idea of extending and distorting this digital data into an abstract visual, creating our own man-made skyline for the backdrop of the eBook.
Read Ancient Lights, City Shadows below, using our online bookreader, or download on Diffusion.
Pitch up & Publish One day workshops to create and publish booklets and StoryCubes using bookleteer: guiding you from concept to publication and beyond, bring a particular project you want to undertake, or come for an introduction and to experiment. The day will be tailored to your needs so you can bring a particular project you want to undertake, specific questions you want to address, or come for an introduction and to experiment. For new to experienced users, all are welcome. Book tickets on Eventbrite for these dates – 12 July, 13 Sept, £50 / £40 (early bird). Max 10 places per workshop.
Get Bookleteering! Come along to one of our ‘Get Bookleteering’ 2 hour surgery sessions ranging from beginners to advanced, to answer your questions about specific projects as well as introduce new users to Bookleteer. Book places on Eventbrite for these dates – 28 June , 26 July, £20 / £10 (Concessions). Max 6 places per session.
Both event prices include (complimentary Alpha Club membership, 5% discount off your first Short Run Printing order, free pack StoryCubes).
Bookleteer is an online service to help you create and publish booklets and StoryCubes. It’s simple, quick and free – print and make them in minutes using only a pair of scissors, or share them online, anywhere there is an internet connection, computer and standard inkjet or laser printer. Make field notebooks, workbooks, gifts, private journals and folios, or just test your design idea’s before using our short run printing service to print your book professionally in small or large quantities. Unlike other publishing platforms, Bookleteer enables quick and easy modification, as findings may change, mistakes made. It allows you use only the handmade versions or experiment with them before professionally printing. The opportunity to create is endless.
Selected by writer and journalist Bill Thompson, this eBook compiles three of Samuel Johnson’s essays in a slim, portable format; Rambler 2, pondering the nature of ambition and self-deception, Idler 48, in which he speaks of how we ‘play throughout life with the shadows of business’, and Adventurer 95, exploring the process of writing and original ideas. As Bill says, “They are the perfect refuge from the blogosphere and, since they require no external power, excellent for those long journeys when your laptop battery dies before you reach your destination and the only discarded newspaper to hand is yesterday’s Daily Express.”
We’re really excited to announce a major new feature to bookleteer : an online bookreader allowing you to read and share your eBooks online. The bookreader is built in HTML5 and can be opened by standard web browsers – so now your eBooks can also be read on screen on a computer, laptop, smartphone (iPhone/Android etc) or tablet (iPad etc). Anyone can read an eBook that’s been shared via bookreader, but authors wanting to share their eBooks with bookreader will need to join the Alpha Club for the time being or have a Guest or Pro account.
The QR code image can be embedded in websites, or downloaded and printed onto stickers, or incorporated into other things (postcards, business cards, other publications etc).
Embedding your eBook in your website or blog
The bookreader also allows you to embed a ‘mini reader’ of your eBook in web pages or blog posts (see below). You can share it in single or double page mode, as well as specifying a specific page to open to:
A link in the mini reader opens up the full screen version.
To see more examples please visit http://diffusion.org.uk/?tag=bookreader where we’ll be adding more embedded eBooks into the post pages over time.
Re-vamped interface for creating/editing eBooks
We’ve also re-vamped the interface for creating and editing eBooks to make choosing the right format easier. Selecting which design (Basic or Custom) you want to use is done by toggling the panes, then selecting the radio button at the bottom of each icon to decide which binding and orientation you want. The drop down menus below allow you to select the Sheet Size (A3 or A4) and the Reading (Left to Right or Right to Left) :
A new section now enables you to add more information to your book such as a short summary, an author bio, the name of the publisher, and copyright statement. This information show up in the bookreader’s information window.
You can add your own personal bio in the “my account’ page then simply click the “add my bio” button to add it to each publication you make rather than fill it in each time:
Acknowledgements & Thanks
The bookreader is open source software from the Open Library, who maintain one of the largest online knowledge resources and are part of the Internet Archive. Huge thanks to them for making this fantastic piece of software available to others to use.
A collection of 36 short stories by Saki (Hector Hugh Munro), each an individual eBook, the tales in Beasts and Super-Beastsdeal mainly with “the presence or role of an animal and its relationship to the humans in the narrative, acutely dissecting their foibles and pretensions” (an exquisite summary by Giles there). They’re in a similar vein to Aesop’s Fables, albeit shifting the focus from the characteristics of animals as analogies for the noble ways people should behave, to the sharp satire of existing human behavior. First published in 1914, two years before Saki’s death, they can now be freely published, re-printed and read due to the expiration of copyright – generally 70 years after the author’s death in the United Kingdom. In this manner, older texts that might otherwise remain undiscovered by contemporary readers, can be openly enjoyed and shared through modern distribution models and publishing platforms like bookleteer and Diffusion.
Whilst searching for new and unusual publishing methods, I came across something which is definitely inventive in producing invitations, by www.burning-house.com. I have previously blogged about using Bookleteer as an method to produce invites to weddings, birthdays, baby showers and so on. However I came across the ‘DIY wedding invitation wheel’ which I think is a marvellous, playful creation.
Just like Bookleteer, this is another great way to make something and personalise it, then have them printed and can also be kept as a keepsake, just like eBooks and StoryCubes.
As part of the City As Material series, after being our special guest for the Underside event and helping to co-ordinate the resulting collaborative eBook, Layered, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino was asked to produce an individual effort. She created Deep City, an attempt to “extract the individual elements we see in cities over and over again, to help me develop some sort of vocabulary for the cities I know and love, building blocks that make them all melt into one another”. Containing striking photographs of streetscapes, skylines and various nooks and crannies, accompanied by Alexandra’s thoughts and observations, Deep City is an ode to the cities we live in and their commonalities that we discover over time.
Our former bookleteer blogger, Karen Martin, wrote about the effects of using different types of paper when printing eBooks in a previous post, “Paper Selection“, but having just rediscovered a few examples, I thought I’d share them with you again.
Carmen Vela Maldonado created these lovely eBooks by experimenting with different coloured paper and card, as well as cutting out parts and using scanned scraps of paper as backgrounds. So much more impressive then using standard paper, they add a whole new dimension of texture and depth, engaging the reader on a higher level. “A Manifesto for Black Urbanism” by Paul Goodwin, which uses black ink on black card and faint images of urban environments printed onto tracing paper, looks stunning. The map overlays used in “Dusk”, by Saki, also work really well – visual place-marks to a tale defined by its location and references to surrounding areas.
Tim Wright joined Giles and I for our second City As Material outside of London on Tuesday, as we took a trip to Norwich, where Tim spent his early years.
The train from London seemed distinctly commuter-free compared to our journey to Bristol, with only a handful of people in our carriage. We bagged table seats, and sat down to some much needed coffee, battling against the dreary weather outside. Mucky, sepia-tinted windows gave the landscape outside a grainy, nostalgic vibe, the perfect accompaniment to tales of Tim’s childhood in Norwich.
Arriving there, after setting up the GPS tracker and sound recorder Tim had brought, we walked down the main stretch of tacky nightclubs and kebab joints, possibly not the best introduction to the city. However, we soon spied Norwich castle, a curious structure, almost too uniform and perfect considering it dates from the 11th century. Tim said it looked like a fairy-tale castle, a manifestation of the first thing you’d see when you heard the word “castle”. Next to it, a space-age cylindrical lift ferried visitors to and from the lower levels – a bizarre combination.
We descended to the city centre, passing the market, towards Elm Hill, a historic cobbled lane with houses and shops dating from the Tudor period. This amazing street is home to the Strangers Club, set up to entertain those from outside Norwich, and where Tim’s father regularly took him to lunch. I couldn’t resist a peek through a lofty window, and was greeted with the sight of a woman carrying flagons from the kitchen, hastily ducking before she noticed. Further up, the window of an antique and curiosity shop in a side court displayed Crowley-esque goat horns and all manner of surreal exhibits.
After passing through the beautiful cathedral and it’s ornate cloisters (and a hilarious sign outside which read “We apologise for the untidy appearance of these ruins”), we popped into the Writer’s Centre, recruiting Chris Gribble briefly as our tour guide. He mentioned that Norwich was barely affected by the industrial revolution, apparent in the structures pre-dating it which are so common. We cut through the shopping centre, past the cinema where Tim first saw Star Wars, and arrived by a huge derelict building adorned with a giant graffiti mural; originally zoned for development, but now a victim of the property crash. A dystopian counterpart to the medieval niches of the city.
Before departing, Chris recommended The Window, the “world’s smallest coffee shop” (appropriately next to the “UK’s best pizza and kebab” shop – a dubious claim). After lunch in the refreshingly different Cinema City dining rooms (housed in a building where parts date back the the 14th century, yet the courtyard is sheltered by a modern glass roof), we stopped by. It resembles a tiny kitchen, with only a small bench and a chair or two to perch on, but has a great atmosphere. We chatted with the owner and several locals, and left with the after-glow of a dynamic and friendly venture trailing behind. Tim’s previous statement that nothing much had changed since he left, and that the pulse of the city was definitely on the slow side, had a small, yet charming, contender.
All day we had noticed plaques underneath various street signs, some with slightly vague origins; the phrases “may have been named because” and “could be” were used an awful lot. Paired with peculiar names, such as “Rampant Horse Street” and “Tombland”, these gave us the idea of perhaps creating some Storycubes with street-sign images, and fictional explanations on the other side, which could be fun. We were also interested in using GPS data and sound recordings from the day for an eBook output, particularly Tim’s childhood memories, and the peaks and lulls in conversations when passing through certain areas, so that we could contrast the physical experiences with raw data, examining the correlations and disparities. We’ll be starting work on those soon, so keep an eye out on Diffusion.