As the eBook market expands we are seeing a surge in the demand for "Enhanced eBooks." Most authors and publishers only think of video or audio as enhancements, but there are many more things that we can do to make your eBook stand out from the crowd. Because of inconsistent progress in eBook technologies over the last few years, some of these enhancements are limited to specific eBook apps or devices.
The most prominent candidate for eBook enhancements is Apple's iBooks application. We can create great-looking ePub files with features that are unique to the iBooks platform, some of which are not even included in the ePub2 specification. Please be aware that an ePub file with enhancements will require a new ISBN, one that is different than the print file and different than the standard ePub file built without the enhancements.
Some other eBook companies might try to tell you that endnotes that link both directions or linked subject indexes are enhancements to eBooks. At eBook Architects, we do not consider those to be "enhancements" because we see them as integral to the very concept of an eBook. eBooks should not just be flat digital versions of print books. The basic functionality of linking within an eBook, linking to outside resources, implementing good design work, etc. are what makes eBooks so great. We believe that those elements should be included in every eBook, so that is what we do.
Enhancements are extras that most eBooks do not have, functions that go beyond the "lowest common denominator" formatting that most eBooks must have because of device limitations, or new content that is added to the eBook that would not be possible in the print book.
When most people think of "Enhanced eBooks" they think of video and audio added to an eBook file. Because of limitations in the current formats, devices, and retailers, video and audio are not features that can be added to standard eBook files. Media content is currently supported in the following reading systems: Apple iBooks, all of the Barnes & Noble Nook tablet devices, Kindle Fire (2nd Generation), and Kindle Fire HD 7" and 8.9".
Apple's system is a fairly easy to work with. They do not require that you sign up for a specific program; you can just submit your eBook to their system directly or through a distributor. Apple may take a little bit longer than normal to approve your ePub file, but once they do that the book will become active in the iBookstore. It can then be purchased by readers using iBooks on any Apple device. Here is an example of how video and audio look in iBooks:
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You can download this sample media file here. Just load it into iBooks on your iPad or iPhone to see how it looks and works.
Barnes & Noble's video and audio embedding works on their tablet devices (Nook Color, Tablet, HD, and HD+) and is limited to publishers who have a direct relationship with B&N or who are using a distributor. Anyone using the PubIt! system to upload their files cannot currently include embedded media. If we help you create your enhanced eBook to sell through B&N, we can also get you in contact with the right contact there to set up a publisher account.
Amazon also has support for audio and video. The media will only work on the Kindle iOS Apps, Fire (2nd Generation), and Fire HD 7" and 8.9" devices, but not currently in the 1st Generation Fire, the Android app or the eInk Kindle devices. As with B&N, you need to have a publisher account with Amazon or go through a distributor who can handle the uploading of enhanced files.
If you have video or audio content you would like us to add to your eBook, we can certainly help you. The cost for these enhancements is a flat fee of $200 when adding up to 20 media files to eBooks we have developed, or $400 when adding up to 20 media files to ePub files created by other companies. We will have to give you a specific quote if your project contains more than 20 embedded media files. Also, be aware that these charges do not cover the base eBook development or the creation/editing of your media files. Please contact us to get instructions on how to create your media files according to the proper specifications for Amazon and Apple.
One of the difficulties with eBooks is that the small screens on eBook devices sometimes make it hard to see large, detailed data that would normally be easy to see in a print book. Apple has created a great feature in iBooks that allows us to embed a single-page PDF file into an ePub document. The standard use for this feature is to embed large, detailed tables, timelines, and forms into eBooks, but it could be used for any single-page PDF file. It is important to note that these embedded PDF files will not work in Adobe Digital Editions or on any device that uses the Adobe software, and the embedding makes the ePub invalid; it can only be uploaded to Apple's iBookstore.
Here are some screenshots from the iBooks app showing how these PDFs look:
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You can also download this sample ePub with the embedded PDF of the New York subway system here.
If you have content that would work well as an embedded PDF file, please let us know. The cost to add these features is a flat fee of $10 per single-page PDF file. If we have to extract, crop, or do any other work to your book PDF to create the single-page PDF files, the cost will be $25 per PDF file, but we will need to discuss your project and whether that is even possible with the content you want to include in this manner. Be aware that PDF files with large file sizes can be slow to respond in the iBooks window (you will see this with the NY subway map). Take that into consideration when making the single-page PDF files for your eBook.
One of the more important advantages an eBook has over a print book is the ability to link within itself. In addition to tables of contents, footnotes, and subject indexes (all of which we link be default within every eBook), there are sometimes other sections of a book that would benefit from being linked to other parts of the text. Some examples are:
If you have linkable sections like this, the cost to link them is usually an hourly fee. Please contact us to get a quote.
In addition to internal hyperlinks, some eBooks benefit from the addition of external hyperlinks to other resources. We activate all hyperlinks within the text of your book as part of the base conversion package, so you don't need to worry about website links located in footnotes or other places in your book. However, there are some cases when an additional external hyperlink adds a lot to the eBook's value. The most prominent example of this is adding links to other books in a series or other books by the same author.
In standard ePub and Kindle files we can add links to your own website's product pages, Amazon product pages, B&N product pages, and similar online locations. In iBooks-specific ePub files, we can link to the iBookstore product pages of other books, and that product page will open in the iBookstore automatically (not in a Safari window).
If you would like to add additional external hyperlinks like this, the cost is usually a flat fee between $25 and $100. Please contact us to get a quote.
At eBook Architects we are always looking for new ways to enhance our clients' eBooks and to push the boundaries of eBook design. We will add more options for enhancements here as they become available.