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Publishing Biz/eBooks

Ebooks on the New iPad’ aka ‘iPad 3′ aka ‘Retina Display iPad’

Posted by Scott Gregory on

Wondering how your ebook will look on the new iPad with the high-resolution display? Let me break it down for you.

Existing Ebooks

Firstly, your antiquated ebook made two months ago can be reformatted specifically for the iPad3. The images can be made larger to suit the higher-res display which has more pixels than HD TV. On older iPads this higher-res art will be scaled down to look fine. Unfortunately, the reverse is not true. Like baby chicks, images do not scale up gracefully. Your images that looked great on the iPad2 will look slightly jagged and pixellated on the new retina display of the iPad3.  If your images were not optimized, they may already be big enough (but probably not).

Not bigger in your hand but bigger pain for developers.

Text is usually rendered on the fly by the device so it will be fine. The exception to this is text that has been rasterized. You’ll have to treat rasterized text just like images and double the size of the art for the new iPad.

Formatting rules are the same. Elements on your pages will not shift around unless your ebook is formatted with absolute pixel values. Dragonpencil always uses percentages and we recommend you do the same. For example you could shift an image away from the right edge with image:left-padding100px but, like $20 of gas, those pixels now get you only half as far they did before. The better way to do it would be image:left-padding20%. The exact syntax will vary depending on how you implement your formatting.

New Ebooks

Expect new ebooks to have larger file sizes unless they have no images. This means longer download times. We are designing all new ebooks to this new higher-res standard. Dragonpencil is also the leading children’s book app company and our apps will also now be scaled up. While apps are always over 20MB, picture books have not been. But now file sizes will quadruple. This means that they won’t be downloadable via 3G/4G which limits downloads to 20MB. Not a huge deal but might push some publishers to apps vs. ebooks which is already the trend in picture books. Once a kid gets a reaction from touching an image in a book app, there’s no going back.


Your existing ebook can be reformatted if it looks clunky on the new iPad. New ebooks will have larger images and file sizes and work retroactively on the older iPads. And the iPad4 will make everything obsolete, especially this blog post.

Publishing Biz/eBooks

Ebooks are toppling the empire!

Posted by Scott Gregory on

Everything is new for children’s publishers now. The barriers to electronic books have been finally dismantled in 2010. First, the iPad surged onto the scene and provided us with a color reading device. Despite its high cost, parents showed little reluctance to their kids putting their sticky hands on it. The direct interaction of fingers on screen is exactly what tykes crave. Try showing a two-year old how to double click and you’ll understand. In the first half of the year, children’s books accounted for 81% of all iPad books downloaded.

The combination of ebook and on-demand has put authors in control.

Clearly there was some pent-up demand for a device like this. Barnes and Nobles responded to this apparent market by hurrying out a color Nook. And many other color readers are emerging in quick succession. So that was the first hurdle. The second hurdle was on-demand children’s books. If you wanted to release a book in electronic form, then on-demand makes the most sense for those who still desire a paper version. If you dismiss the printed book altogether, you would miss out too many customers. If you print thousands of books, you’ll risk too much investment. How many printed books can we expect to sell? Hard to say, especially when you factor in buyers who choose ebooks instead. Well good news to us! We can now print hardcover, color children’s books on-demand. Again, a new revelation for 2010.

So, the game has changed but publishers don’t want you to know it. The entire publishing industry is built around the big publishing houses and the big retailers. Ebooks and on-demand books bypass their entire establishment. Small publishers can now release a book in just a few months and get as many sales as the big guys and without the costs. Now, the big guys are also enjoying the higher profits and lower costs of ebooks but they see it only as a bonus to their traditional methods. If you, as a talented author, decided to publish your own book, you easily could now and you will eat away a tiny fraction of their sales. As more and more of us do the same thing, we dismantle the establishment like ants at a picnic.

Don’t think it will last forever though. A new establishment will form, somehow, to protect the market share of the elite. It always happens. Just the natural evolution of the marketplace. So, if you have been waiting for the right time… tick tock.