Guest Post: One Author’s Experience Creating Children’s Read Aloud Ebooks

By David Hoobler

David Hoobler is both the author and illustrator of the Zonk the Dreaming Tortoise series. In the post below he shares his experience creating read aloud ebook versions of his children’s books.

Recording studios and mixing boards meant nothing to me a year ago. To me these are the realm of Rock and Rollers and Super Stars. That was then, before I decided to record my books. Is book narration a DIY proposal? It’s not that easy, in fact it’s very hard work. Continue reading


An Explanation of E-Book Formats


If you are a self-published author or someone looking to do e-book conversions, it can feel daunting at first because there are so many different formats to worry about. The two main formats, however, are EPUB and Kindle’s proprietary format. EPUB can be used and read on Apple, Nook, Kobo, Sony, Google, and more devices, and Kindle’s format can only be read on Kindle devices. Here’s a breakdown of the EPUB and Kindle formats and what that means for developers and publishers: Continue reading

E-Book Review: Cinderella, an interactive EPUB3 book


Cinderella by Charles Perrault, Stanislav Ustymenko

Cinderella – World-famous fairy tale accompanied by questions.

During the reading children are constantly interacting with the characters of the fairy tale, so they need to answer a small educational question to move to each next page. This turns reading into an exciting and entertaining process supporting comprehensive development of the child.

Languages: English, French, German, Russian. Continue reading

EPUB3 Read Aloud Code


Per request, I’m posting snippets of code to use to enable read aloud functionality on an iPad. You usually do this for children’s books in EPUB3. Above is a sample of the SMIL file you will need to include. Remember to make a SMIL file for each “page.” And don’t forget to add it to your OPF! Below is a sample of the extra code to include in the HTML file. You will also need your audio file (use Audacity to easily create labels for the SMIL files). Good luck!

The New Kindle Format 8 (KF8)

Part 3 of the Understanding EPUB 3.0 webcast series was called An Alternative to EPUB 3.0: Inside the New Kindle Format 8 (KF8). The presenter was Joshua Tallent, president of eBook Architects. (To read my other posts on this series, see EPUB 3 and EPUB 3.0 Workflow). Continue reading

EPUB 3.0 Workflow

Today I attended part two of the Understanding EPUB 3 webcast series, called Working with EPUB 3 : How EPUB 3.0 Will Affect Your Workflow. Read about the first webcast here.

Ron Severdia, the CTO of Metrodigi, was the guest speaker. Metrodigi is a conversion house that has been around for two years, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The company focuses on highly-designed and very interactive ebooks. Clients include Time,, Apple, and Triumph.

Metrodigi uses the tool Chaucer, an ebook conversion software that converts InDesign, Quark, PDF, and other source files to epub, KF8 and B&N ebooks. At some point the company plans to license this tool to other businesses. Continue reading