So here is the status on this week: Today, we talk about customized eBooks (more specifically Pride and Prejudice) and Thursday I’ll give you tips on making delicious French Crepes! Which by the way are far less daunting to make than you may think. I’m also going to try to sneak a design post in this week as well, any preferences as to topic?
Thoughts on Making a Customized eBook: Pride and Prejudice
So an odd thing happens once you know how to make an eBook… You want to make them for all your favorite books to suite your own tastes. I’m not kidding, I have day dreams of getting to redesign my Favorite Meg Cabot eBooks, of adding sound and video clips to the Harry Potter eBooks and even of making Epub3 Fixed formats of my favorite crafting books. So a leap into customization was a natural one. So what did I do? I made my very own version of Pride and Prejudice but with my own name instead of Elizabeth Bennet’s. I mean why not?
Then I thought, why stop there? I collected old Hugh Thomson and C.E. Brock illustrations from wikimedia (in the public domain), embedded some fonts, and added a little color…Oh and then there are the letters. which I really wanted to look like letters so I added a little texture.
And finally I had so much fun doing it that I thought, hey why not put this up on my Etsy shop? So the long and the short of it is that I’ll sell you a customized Pride and Prejudice (and soon other Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte works) where you’re the main character!
Maybe at this point you’re wondering why publishers don’t offer customized eBooks when many offer customized print books (Chronicle even has their own line of customizable children’s books). The short answer is easy – the math doesn’t add up. Digital departments in publishing houses are very small and are typically handling quality control of 15+ eBooks per week. No one has time to churn out hundreds of individual custom eBooks where each one has to be changed separately and publishing houses don’t have the money to expand their digital departments (yet). Even if one person simply made custom eBooks all week, at a large publishing house they still wouldn’t be able to get it all done! Can you imagine the number of orders that J.K. Rowling would get for custom Harry Potter books alone?
So for the time being custom eBooks are left to us small “e-tailers” but perhaps when publishers realize that Regular Expressions will work wonders – they’ll understand that customization is an option. A very viable one at that, especially if customization is kept in mind when the eBook is built.