During our recent pop up publishing workshops I was able to observe that one of the most common tricky aspects of using bookleteer for new members was remembering the steps for setting up a new document to create the ‘Content PDF’ to upload. I’ve now put together a very simple crib sheet for users to download to remind them how.
Click here to download it as a PDF.
We are excited to announce another update to bookleteer including a new feature called Collections. This new feature allows for eBooks or StoryCubes to be grouped together to form a collection. This can be given its own title, author, publisher, colophon, summary, copyright info and a cover image. Collections can be shared or kept private – those shared are listed in the Collections Library.
This will open a new page where you can add details such as the title, author, publisher, copyright, colophon, summary and publication date. You can also upload an image to act as its ‘cover’ and select which book or StoryCubes are to be included in the collection.
The Collections feature is a crucial step towards building an internal ‘crowdfunding’ mechanism (“Pledge For Print”) that we have written about before, and which we hope to bring to bookleteer later this year. We’d love to hear feedback about this new feature, please use the comments section here or email us direct.
After some tinkering and testing, we’ve just uploaded the new eBook back cover designs to the bookleteer server. Alongside an improved colophon layout, all eBooks generated with bookleteer now automatically create a QR code link as well as a short URL, to the online bookreader version, featured on the bottom left corner of the back page. This means you can scan the code from a friends printed eBook with a smartphone or tablet device, to instantly bring up the digital version on your screen – another interesting dimension to hybrid publications. We’re looking forward to discovering similar intriguing uses…
Recently, we’ve discovered a very, very simple way of making your own cardboard, hard-wearing StoryCubes, using only:
- A free bookleteer account
If you haven’t signed up for a free bookleteer account yet, do so here.
- A4 single label paper, suitable for Inkjet or Laserjet printers
Full sheet label paper, available from any decent stationers (Avery code: DSP01).
- Blank StoryCubes
Read about StoryCubes, and order blank packs here.
Firstly, design your StoryCube.
Sign into bookleteer. If you’re a new user, read the help page.
Select Generate StoryCube and download the file, from the top right corner of the screen.
Next, print and make.
Print using the label paper, and cut around around only the faces of the cube, not the tabs – it should look a crucifix (You can also protect your cube by using adhesive cellophane, by affixing a layer on top of the label sheet, then cutting out).
You can even use this method to make your own A3 size StoryCubes, without even owning an A3 printer.
Simply crop the A3 cube PDF into two documents, so that it can be printed across two sheets of A4 paper.
Then, cut out the two segments as shown, to form a two-part crucifix shape.
If any bookleteers discover more clever ways to make StoryCubes, do share!
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.
Short Codes for easier linking
Each bookleteer publication has a unique short code for its bookreader version (e.g. http://bkltr.it/xxxxxx) which make sharing the links easier. The short codes also have QR codes (e.g. http://bkltr.it/xxxxxx.qrcode) for mobiles and other enabled devices to open the link directly:
For instance the eBook, “City As Material : Skylines Ancient Shadows, City Lights” can be found here: http://bkltr.it/iH4ndY and its QR code is http://bkltr.it/iH4ndY.qrcode
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.
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 mini guide to an activity is always a great ‘must – have!’ Using Bookleteer to create a type of guide is a quick and easy way to do so, with the handy pocket size, easily fitting into a pocket or a handbag, meaning easy access whenever needed! Creating the guide or even a scrapbook, means its can be printed numerous time for many people and purposes.
There are a variety of things I decided to include in my camping guide. For example:
- how to build a tent.
- a survival kit/checklist – compass, plasters, tents, sleeping bags, a whistle, a torch and so on.
- a map of the area
Alternatively, you can add to the guide and turn it into a scrapbook too, so for children not only is it an informative book, but also a keepsake or memento if you like of their camping trip. For example in my scrapbook I included:
- blank pages for a treasure hunt map – for kids on camping trips it could be a fun idea to draw treasure hunt maps in each others books and have a competition to see who can find the most ‘treasure.’
- ‘My Journal’ section to write about my daily (and nightly) happenings.
- activity pages – ‘starry eyed’ – search the sky for constellations – draw and match up the stars in the sky, or ‘night time sounds’ – listen, write and guess what your hear in the woods!
- Keepsake pages – ‘things I found on my camping trip’ – collecting and sticking in things found, such as different types of leaves, funny shaped twigs etc.
Have a look at the ‘Guide to Camping for Kids’ book I have created…
This is a format which can be replicated for a number of activities, such as Sailing, Skiing, Golf, Poker, Surfing and the list goes on!
We’re starting a new regular series of Pitch Up & Publish workshops to help people get started and make the most use out of bookleteer as possible : guiding them from concept to publication and beyond. The 2 hour workshops will be held at our studio, will have a maximum of around 6 places and will probably be held every 2-3 weeks.
We’d like to hear what sort of things you’d like help with: from basic level introduction to specific topics – such as designing project notebooks, embedding multimedia links via QR codes and preparing books for printing via our Short Run Printing Service. If there’s interest we can run specific workshops aimed at transferring our experiences of working with kids in schools to use bookleteer, or with other community groups.
Each workshop place will cost about £20 (UKP) and will include complimentary Alpha Club membership, discount on Short Run Printing Service orders and a free pack of new Medium size StoryCubes. You’ll be able to book places online via eventbrite.
We’d also like to hear whether people would prefer the sessions to be run during the day or evening – we may alternate if it helps more people take part.
Please contribute with your suggestions and requests – we’d like these sessions to be as useful and focused on your needs as possible. You can post comments here, or add them to the discussion on Facebook.
bookleteer members will have noticed a few changes to the site in September and October as we’ve pushed through a series of updates, changes and fixes to the platform. Here’s a quick run down of the most important of these from a member’s perspective, since many more were ‘under the hood’.
First Time eBook & StoryCube Generation
We’ve streamlined the process of generating eBooks and StoryCubes by making the initial button on the Create pages into ‘Upload & Generate PDFs’.
eBook & StoryCube PDF Thumbnails
This week we’ve implemented a change to replace the generic PDF icon with actual thumbnails of each PDF’s first sheet. This is designed to make it easier to distinguish different publications when shown in lists (such as the Inspirations or My Publications pages) and to give a quick preview once your eBooks and StoryCubes have been generated.
Adding Images, PDFs & My Gallery
We have completely changed the way images and PDFs are added to eBooks and StoryCubes – there are now three ways to add an image :
PDFs can also be chosen by either uploading a new file from your computer or selecting from a previously uploaded file in your gallery.
Members can use the My Gallery page to review (and delete if necessary) any image files or PDFs in their account.
Lastly, for those of you who use facebook, we’ve integrated bookleteer’s login so that you can automatically login to bookleteer when you are also logged in to facebook.
We’ve updated the help page to reflect questions arising from the new features and services we introduced last week. Please refer to it for information on the differences between designs, page sizes, image dimensions and ordering. Do please give us feedback (via this blog, our twitter account or by email) if you have further questions or queries.