The field of electronic book formats is growing–even for picture books. These include:
Apps: Interestingly, this format is the oldest (at only a few years old) and most dominant for creators of electronic picture books. Apps exist for many devices, but the two main players here are Apple (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) and Android phones and tablets. Those who want to develop books in this format must have some technical knowledge, or work with a third party who does. Native file is a stand-alone program.
iBooks: Originally designed by Apple for books containing mostly text, recent developments have allowed content creators to create fixed layout books complete with sound and word highlighting, resulting in a more ‘app-like’ experience for the reader. A bit of technical knowledge helps here as well, or there are tools available like Red Jumper’s Book Creator app to make the process easier and more intuitive. Native file is an enhanced ePub.
Nook: Similar to iBooks in capabilities and feature set, the Nook is the proprietary Barnes & Noble electronic format. Currently B&N doesn’t allow anyone besides a major publisher of print books to upload enhanced, fixed-layout books to their Nook store, but this may change. Native file is an ePub.
Kindle: Until the recent introduction of the Kindle Fire, the Kindle family of hardware devices (Amazon’s e-readers) included only black and white eInk screens, although a color device like the Apple iPad can display Kindle content in color. The Kindle Fire is a color Android tablet capable of running apps and displaying enhanced content, so the eventual addition of a fixed-layout/animated/narrated creator hub would be a welcome development by Amazon. Native files are in Mobi format.
Come join us for a discussion of the pros and cons of these and other electronic book formats at the October 9 installation of our weekly #storyappchat hour. We’ll get things kicked off at 9:00 p.m. EDT–just use the #storyappchat hashtag to chime in!