Book Design and Digital Books


Posted on August 17th, by Liam in Blog, musings. No Comments

Sandy Cull invited me to post some stuff related to what I’m doing on her Australian Book Designer’s blog. I thought I’d post an excerpt here.

My current passion is working on creating AppBooks for the iPad, and – as they come on the market – other ‘tablet’ devices running OS like Android, in the belief that the future is an inevitable one in which digital books outsell printed books.

Lately, I’ve been looking at cross-platform solutions for AppBooks with audio, video and/or animation enhancements.

‘Darby’

A few years ago, Sandy Cull designed my book ‘Darby’ – she did an amazing job – you can see a couple of examples of the design here.

It’s been a bit of a challenge. One of the issues with converting a physical book to digital and supporting two orientations is deciding whether to crop full page images for both orientations or decide on one for full screen and the other to display as a smaller image with white or black space either side.

For example, if a book was full screen in portrait mode, then in landscape you could choose to centre the portrait image leaving ‘white space’ either side. I may not do this with my own book – as I can make the creative decisions about its presentation – however when presented with adapting someone else’s book design, I see this as a potential solution that maintains the integrity of the photos and without having lengthy discussions with the original designer, author or photographer. Unless you just support one orientation.

I’m fascinated to see how the publishing and book design industry is going to develop to embrace digital books. I’m also excited about how authors, illustrators and storytellers are going to approach a hybrid future where books, video, audio and websites are all formats that are available as storytelling mediums of entertainment, study, manuals, ‘cookbooks’, ‘novels’ and biographies… the stuff that we know as books now.

The book publishing industry is in transition – we’ve already seen it happen with music, photography and a number of other industries – it’s an adaptation to a new medium – an extra one – in our continued desire to consume, learn, engage and contribute to the age old tradition of telling, sharing and enjoying stories.





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