A lot of our (potential) clients contact us with basically the same questions:
We want a digital app of our book.
We want an interactive ebook.
We want an ebook in the appstore.
We want an interactive book.
We want a book app.
and how much does it cost…..
Al these questions are legitimate but not right nor wrong. Let me try to explain the major difference between an ebook, ibook and apps.
An ebook is basically a digital version of a normal book. You read an ebook on a ereader, tablet or phone. With an ereader app on your tablet of phone you can usually access the store where you can buy the ebooks.
In the beginning an ebook was just text. After a while images were added. The ebooks you usually read are so-called reflowable layout EPUB files. These ebooks are independent of character size and the type and size of the ereader.
Epub is basically a zip file, inside the zip file you will find a HTML version of the ebook, you can see this as a website of the ebook. There are tons of rules you have to follow to make it compatible with every reader.
A lot of books and magazines have a specific layout. A specific layout does not work with a reflowable layout because it changes the layout. In comes the fixed layout structure with a new EPUB3 standard. This epub3 format gives you audio, some interactivity and limited animation. But not all readers support all the features of Epub3: the possibilities are limited, animations and interactivity are cumbersome. Adobe InDesign is an excellent tool to create fixed layout Epub3 files but to create animations and interactivity it is best to use other tools. You sometimes have to edit the HTML and CSS files manually to add extra features. Furthermore Adobe Indesign does not create 100% compatible Epub3 files. So besides that not every reader can read epub3 files, even less can handle the preferred epub3 publishing tool. In other words it is not a straightforward process, and can take a huge amount of time if you want complex animations or interactivity.
Most ereaders or tablets can handle epub3 files but most of them handle each file just a bit differently. So it is wise to stick with the basic fixed layout structure for magazine or illustrated books but try to avoid complex animations, interactivity or narration for now.
Apple decided to use their own publishing format for more enhanced ebooks. Tthe Apple reader can handle PDF or Epub but for enhanced ebooks they created IBA which can be created with the iBooks Author tool. This is a much smarter publishing tool for enhanced ebooks, but can only be read on Apple devices and the ibooks are sold through the Apple stores. There are more possibilities but creates a lot of limitations are created regarding compatibility with other devices.
We specialize in creating interactive storybooks, aka interactive illustrated books with more images instead of more text. We make an experience out of an illustrated book. Although the development process is completely different, in the beginning it is the same approach as an Epub3 interactive ebook.
We also have made ebooks and ibooks for clients, and to keep up-to-date on the new techniques. Most of the time it is a frustrating and limiting process if you just want to do a little more or want to add that little extra. That is something we usually do, always add that little bit extra.
App development gives us and you as a client more flexibility and more possibilities, animation, interactivity, music, sound, audio narration, games – the sky is the limit.
The apps we build are mostly cross-platform, meaning that it will work on Google Android devices and Apple devices. You have one development process for both platforms. The apps will work and look the same on all devices.
How much does it cost
This is always a difficult question to answer before we know a lot more about your project, how many pages, how much artwork, how is the artwork created and a lot more….
Each project is unique and it all depends on the wishes of the client.
- More text and some pictures with a flexible layout – ebook
- Less text more pictures, flexible layout, no interactivity or animations – ebook
- Less text, more pictures, fixed layout, no interactivity or animations – ebook/epub4/ibook
- Less text, more pictures, fixed layout, interactivity, animations, sound, music, extra – Apps
We have just scratched the surface of the limitations and possibilities of ebooks/ibooks/apps, this is just a brief summary.
There are major differences between digital stores, marketing and pricing but that is for a later post.
For more questions about this subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org