After organizing their bookshelf, Sean Ohlenkamp and his wife decided to take it to the next level. They spent many sleepless nights moving and stacking books at Type Bookstore in Toronto to produce this whimsical stop-motion animation.
Amazon has released early tools and documents for producing ebooks in the new KF8 format.
A more thorough tutorial on KF8 will follow in an upcoming post, but here are links to Amazon’s KF8 tools and documents along with links to relevant articles.
The Kindle Format 8 Home Page – includes links to the Previewer, KindleGen, and supporting documents.
KindleGen2 – A command-line application for creating KF8/Mobi ebooks from X/HTML and ePub, this tool is probably too technical for most self-publishers. However, the ability to convert from ePub files to KF8 files is notable. Because all other eReaders use ePub files, the most efficient workflow will likely involve exporting a single ePub or ePub3 file for distribution across eBook stores and then converting that same file into Kf8 for distribution by Amazon.
Things are about to get interesting for readers, designers and the eBook publishing business as new formats bring enhanced formatting and interactivity to eBooks. Amazon has just announced a new KF8 (Kindle Format 8) format. The KF8 format replaces Amazon’s .mobi format and adds over 150 new formatting capabilities, including fixed layouts, nested tables, callouts, sidebars and Scalable Vector Graphics. New specs for the ePub format (used by Apple, Google and many others) were recently finalized but barely mentioned by the publishing media.
The idea that a book is nothing more than a container for text data is anathema to anyone who appreciates the art of typesetting. Graphic Design exerts a powerful influence on ease of reading, and also on more abstract considerations like how the choice of typeface affects the mood of the writing. Today’s eBooks sacrifice appearance for flexibility, enabling text to be resized and flowed from screen-to-screen without any relationship to the original numbered page or typographic design. ePub and .mobi files are little more than bundles of basic HTML pages. They’re particularly bad for educational texts where sidebars and multicolumn layouts are common. KF8 and ePub3 standards will greatly improve the aesthetics of eBook design.
From an Internet writer’s forum:
Comment: I see self-publishing as vanity publishing. There’s a reason there’s a traditional route; it really does sift out the crap. I may not be a published author, but I’ll be damned before I chuck in the towel to push out my writing through self publishing. I did not spend years honing my craft, get myself into all sorts of tight corners just to get my stories, and lose all those late night hours redrafting just so my work can get lost in the crowd.
My Response: I’m a proud self-publisher. Self-publishing is, by definition, not vanity publishing. I own all my own rights and my own ISBN numbers. My press is a legal entity. I also got myself into all sorts of scrapes to get my stories and I spend hours honing my craft every day, seven days a week. It’s 5:30AM as I finish this. I challenge any traditional press to exceed the quality of the work I produce.
Traditional presses do indeed filter out some crap, but to assume everything not vetted by a Big Six publisher is crap is the literary equivalent of racial prejudice. Major marketing vehicles like the New York Times Book Review serve only the upper crust of the publishing world, defining by exclusion who “the crowd” is. Continue reading →
It’s the latest big deal in publishing: Big publishers are being sued; accused of using the ‘agency model,’ to keep prices of eBooks artificially high. Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller, is complying but only offering agency terms to the Big Six publishers. But in spite of all the brouhaha, independent publishers don’t need to worry themselves about it.
Certainly, Amazon has well-founded concerns that if they don’t meet the terms of their largest suppliers, they could lose the right to distribute their eBooks. Not only would that be costly, it would dilute Amazon’s strategy for the Kindle; namely having the world’s largest selection of popular, desirable eBooks.
But small publishers—especially self-publishers—operate under an entirely different set of business conditions. While the judicial system referees the conduct of the publishing industry’s big players, other market pressures are more deserving of indie publishers’ attention. Continue reading →