Audiobooks

More options are available for authors to produce audiobooks

Audiobooks are the latest trend in book publishing. They’re the part of the podcast boom, and they’re helping US publishers to keep losses down as e-book sales for big-name companies continue to slump. What’s been around since the 1980s has a sleek new face, and today who’s listening, where, and why, offers a glimpse into a new reading trend sweeping the US.

In our multimedia world, audiobooks offer the chance to read in between tests, papers and extracurricular activities. We spend an hour or more every day just walking to and around campus, working out or in the shower. This is a perfect time to catch up on reading by listening instead. Additionally, listening to the audiobook can truly enhance your experience of a story—no matter the genre. Many libraries now offer free rentals, so they’re easy and free to download.

ACX, an Amazon company, is a marketplace for the creation of audiobooks to be created where the barriers to entry are low.  Via the ACX web portal, authors, literary agents, publishers and other holders of book rights can connect with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and other professionals with audiobook production skills. Content owners can audition talent, and talent can bid on projects via the ACX portal. It’s a convenient and relatively inexpensive way for authors and publishers to find creative artists and technologists with the skills to turn their manuscripts into digital audio publications.

Bookdigitizers now provides studio-based production services to authors and content owners on a contract basis. When working with bookdigitizers, in addition to ACX, authors and publishers have a range of both exclusive and nonexclusive options to consider for producing audiobooks.

Designing Book Covers

The book cover design: 7 guiding principles

An effective cover design grabs attention and prepares the reader for what one might find within the book. On this blog we give you some tips that will ease you to navigate the process, and better equip you to demand a design a superior cover.

A good book cover doesn’t equate to being crazy or loud. You don’t have to yell at people to get their attention; there’s enough of that happening already. It just needs the cover to be clear, well done, and compelling. You may want to grab people with the title of the book; entice them with the emotion and narrative the title alludes to, and then let them know who you are. Make your title the largest and clearest part of your cover design. If you’re a new author, it’s a safe bet that no one knows who you are (yet), so designing a cover that suggests otherwise is not going to engage an audience

Similarly if your name is as big, or bigger, than the title, you’re doing it wrong. There are general guidelines that a good designer will understand when creating a design – and it’s good for you to know them so you can articulate these from the outset.

#1 Provide a Hierarchy of Information

Some elements are more important than others. This should be reflected in the design through use of scale. Another way to say this is: if everything is the same size, nothing is important. Don’t make the various elements of your design compete for eye-attention, use size and scale so the elements complement one another.

 #2 Avoid clutter
If there’s too much competing information and imagery on the page, it just becomes visual white noise; there is no focus and it’s hard to discern what’s important or relevant (similar to what we discussed above when considering your hierarchy of information.)

Too much clutter includes:

  • Too many colors
  • Multiple images or components within an image
  • Use of more than 2 fonts (more on that in typography)
  • Having quotes competing with title or author
  • Using drop shadows
  • Having Outlines on multiple things
  • Use of excessive gradients

 # 3 Typographic considerations
Avoid decorative fonts, such as scripts, which are difficult to read (particularly in small sizes) and should be avoided- AND THEY DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT BE USED IN ALL CAPS. A general rule of thumb in typography is to only use two fonts in a single design – one serif and one sans serif – and they should have some kind of visual harmony or relationship. That being said, you can choose fonts that have a variety of weights and italic options to give you some spice while maintaining unity. Avoid anything below an 8 point font size will require a magnifying glass to read.

If you are going to format your typography vertically, it should read from top to bottom. (Look at any spine on your bookshelf.)

# 4 Size matters
A cover will not be able to convey everything about you and your book, but it should say one or two things in a striking way. It’s important to remember that the cover will initially be viewed as a thumbnail. Make sure the cover is compelling and clear, even when reduced to the size of a postage stamp. This is a universal design rule that applies to book covers, event posters, corporate logos etc. You should know the size of the finished product before you start designing. That might sound like common sense, but plenty of amateurs make the mistake of designing first, only to discover that what they’ve come up with won’t work within the dimensions they later select for their printed book. Strip it to the basics. Make your book cover about the title and who you are.

 # 5 Print and Digital (e-Book) considerations

Even if you’re only planning an e-Book at first, you may want to print in the future, so always plan for printing. The final book cover design document for printing has to be created at a higher resolution than the version for your e-Book cover. You can always “save down” to a smaller file size, but it does not work the other way – you can’t take a web-ready 72 ppi file and expand it for print. So as a rule of thumb, set files up at 300 ppi !

#6 Pixels vs. vector
Digital files are read in one of two ways: raster (pixel based images), or vector (based on points and lines). Vector is infinitely salable with no loss of quality; raster is not. If you’re working in pixels (i.e. Photoshop), make sure NOT to take an image that’s smaller than you need and attempt to blow it up. It will look like trash. Get a file that is 300 ppi at the size it will appear in print (at least).

#7 Consistent visual branding

Cross-branding and reinforcement of your product is important. Here’s a few things to think about in terms of branding: Is the book part of a series? If so, maintain visual consistency (use the same fonts, similar photographic imagery, illustrations, typography, etc.).Do you have an online presence? Integrate design elements from your website, press, social media marketing, advertising, etc. into your design – and vice versa. Now that the book cover design is established, use the same aesthetic and elements to promote your writing on various platforms, including your Facebook author page, your website, print and banner ads, posters, or the side of a bus. Keep the look consistent to build familiarity, excitement, and interest for your awesome book. Of course, all the above rules for design still apply!

Conclusion

We are constantly looking at existing cover designs for inspiration and motivation. Many of the books on our shelves are kept as much of their form as to their content. If a story is going to stand the test of time, shouldn’t the image on the front do the same?

ebook conversion service

How to prepare your manuscript for e-Book conversion

Weather you are undertaking conversion yourself, or submitting the manuscript to someone else, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with the basic principles of e-Book formatting from Word, before you begin.

This post will help if you are preparing your manuscript using Microsoft Word or similar software, prior to  conversion to standard e-Book file formats, mobi for Amazon Kindle devices and Apps, and EPub which is the required file format for all other retailers.

These guidelines are for manuscripts with simple layout (novels for example, or any book that is mostly text). Images, illustrations and photos can be included in standard e-Book files, and you can incorporate some simple styles. However, if you intend to convert your file to e-Book files using software, it is wise to prepare carefully in order to avoid errors, which can then take time to troubleshoot.

If you are using Bookdigitizer conversion service, we will be able to incorporate some style elements into the conversion, but in order for the file to be read easily across a very wide variety of devices, the format is deliberately simple.

Note: Its best to convert manuscripts to Standard e-Book file formats. Especially true, if the books that contain mostly text content. Such files can be distributed to the widest possible range of retailers, libraries and subscription services, and they are readable on all e-Book reading devices and Apps.

Guidelines for preparation:

The most important piece of advice we can offer is to keep it simple. Always bear in mind that the book will be read on a variety of different devices; mobile phones, Kindles, Nooks, PC’s, laptops, tablets etc. This means that the page sizes, font size etc will all be variable, so the original document must be clean and simple.

 DO NOT include any of the following:

  • Page numbers (some devices will allocate page numbers to the e-Book based on the preferences of the device owner, but e-Book files do not have universal page numbers)
  • Headers and Footers
  • Borders, background colors or background images – not recommended, as these can look to make the text faint or indistinct on greyscale e-Reading devices
  • Fancy drop-caps at the start of each chapter
  • Different color text – see above
  • Multi-column layouts – just use a single column
  • Text Boxes – These can be included but bear in mind that the box may break if the text within runs onto the next page. This can happen if someone is viewing the book with a large font size, and therefore as less text on each ‘page’ or screen view
  • References to specific e-Book retailers such as Amazon or Apple, as the retailers do not allow promotion of competitors in products listed on their websites.
  • Advertising – although you can of course, mention other titles, or your website or Facebook page.

Page layout:

  • The page size is not relevant – A4 or letter is fine.
  • You do not need to consider margins, just use the standard settings.

 Manuscript formatting:

  • Separate chapters with a page break (Ctrl + Enter/Return) – do not use multiple paragraph returns to move to the next page.
  • Separate paragraphs with a single paragraph break – do not use double paragraph breaks.
  • Separate sub-sections or sections within a Chapter with a centred break – usually  * * *   – do not use a double paragraph break.
  • Do not use tabs or multiple spaces – if you want to indent a paragraph use the Word Quick Styles

 Fonts and text styling:

Support for different fonts and styles is limited in many e-Reader devices, so again, keep things simple. Using Word’s inbuilt Quick Styles tool is a great way to save time and maintain consistent styles across your using Quick Styles. If you do use Quick Styles we recommend that you send us the final manuscript in PDF format to ensure the styles are maintained.

Main Body Text:

  • Use a standard font like Times New Roman, Georgia or Arial for the body font.
  • 10, 11 or 12pt is ideal for the main body text.
  • Use black text.
  • Single line spacing is fine, but avoid line spacing that is greater than 1.5
  • You do not need to consider leading or kerning – these are not relevant for e-Books.
  • Ideally, use the ‘Normal’ Quick Style in Word for the main body text, and manage the appearance of your body text through the Quick Styles.
  • If you need to make certain words or sentences stand out try to only use basic formatting such as bold, italic, and ALL CAPS.

 Chapter and Sub-Headings:

  • Use the Heading styles available in the Quick Style Heading 1 for Chapter titles, Heading 2 for sub-titles or section headings, etc.
  • If you want to use a fancy or unusual font for your Chapter titles, that is fine. Usually we can display these as images to maintain a consistent style.

Images:

You can include images but please be aware of the following:

  • Color images are fine but some e-Reader devices cannot display colour and will display images in greyscale instead. If you have diagrams that rely on color, make sure that they still make sense if they are shown as greyscale.
  • Insert your images into your manuscript but, if you can, also supply them as separate files (JPG, PNG, PDF, TIFF, GIF formats are fine)
  • Do not float images to the left or right of text, but keep them on their own line instead.

 Links:

You can add links to websites and email addresses within your manuscript– although these will only work automatically on e-Reader devices which have an Internet connection.

To link from one place in the manuscript to another, use Word’s bookmarks and hyperlinks tools.  

If you are linking to or referencing another part of your manuscript, avoid using page numbers. For example, rather than writing “For more information on cars see page 120” use “For more information see the section on cars ”

Adding a Table of Contents:

If your book is a fiction title we will add a simple, linked Table of Contents (ToC). If your title is non-fiction, the ToC can be a very useful tool for a) navigating the book and b) displaying a snapshot of the scope of the book. Again, we will add a ToC, although if you want to ensure that the ToC displays all the relevant chapter and section headings it is straightforward to use Word’s inbuilt ToC generator – especially if you have used Quick Style headings. Do not include page numbers on your ToC as these will be irrelevant on the reflowable e-Book version.

Finally, PLEASE do the following:

  • Run a spell check and grammar check before you consider the document complete, make any corrections and then run the checks again. It is better that you find any mistakes rather than the first person to review your e-Book on Amazon

Ensure that someone competent, other than you, has read the entire document before you sign it off. If you can afford to, it is advisable to engage an editor or proof-reader to go through your complete manuscript. (Unfortunately, we do not have the time to read through every book we work on, so it really is your responsibility to find and fix any typos before you submit the file for e-Book conversion.)

Note : Alternatively if you find the preparation of  your manuscript is taking too much time or effort bookdigitzer.com can prepare the manuscript for e-book conversion as a service and send it for your approval and accommodate changes if required.

layout e-Book and a regular e-Book format

When to choose publishing a fixed layout e-Book and a regular e-Book format

What is a “standard” e-Book?

A standard e-Book (generally in EPUB format) employs real-time flowable text so you can read it on any e-Reader and adjust the font size and style to fit your reading preferences. There is no set pagination with a standard e-Book because the number of words displayed per page can change based on user settings and the screen size of the particular device. Most e-Books are standard EPUB format. This format is ideal for text-based books and books with small images embedded amongst the text (which essentially creates paragraph breaks).

What is a “fixed layout” e-Book?

When it comes to books that rely heavily on design elements or large illustrations/photos (cookbooks, children’s books, coffee table books, comics, etc.), fixed layout e-Books may be the better solution if you want to preserve the qualities of the printed page. To put it plainly, the pages of a fixed layout e-Book are… fixed! Content (images, text, etc.) will not “flow” across the page if you change your settings, though most devices will allow the reader to zoom in and out.

Fixed Layout is like the digital version of typesetting; you can embed fonts, choose the exact placement of visual elements, etc. The benefit of fixed layout is that you’re in complete control of the experience. The drawback is that readers are NOT! with fixed layout, readers lose the ability to resize text, change margins, change spacing, and change fonts.

Keep in mind that a fixed layout e-Book is different from a PDF file. While the content is not re-flowable, a fixed layout e-Book can make use of enhanced interactive features. Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon all support derivations of fixed layout EPUB files.

Choose the standard EPUB format if:

  • The book is mostly text (besides the cover art).
  • The book features small images that are embedded between paragraphs.
  • Its required to ensure maximum usability for your book (since standard e-Books are readable on most e-readers, tablets, smart-phones, and computers).

Consider fixed layout if:

  • Preserving text is more important than images.
  • A set a background color is important.
  • You want text to wrap around images.
  • The book has horizontal orientation.
  • Book has multi-column text pages.
  • Fixed aspect ratios that are required.

Since fixed layout e-Books require some extra attention during the conversion process, fixed layout EPUB conversion often costs more than a basic EPUB conversion. Bookdigitizer can handle either format and can help you deliver the best out put for the intended format.

Book Digitization Services

Transforming Education with Book Digitization Service  

Schools & Colleges around the nation are already seeing a shift from printed material to digital files. As more universities, high schools, and even elementary schools turn to screens to supplement or complete educational goals, bookdigitizer digitization services can help. Allowing students to access material online gives them a richer experience, and works with their natural learning style or life rhythm. Students can access materials at any time, create digital portfolios of their work to be referenced for years to come, and do much more.

By digitizing the educational materials, students also have a wider variety of textbooks and supplementary materials to learn from, and in more affordable ways. When bound book digitization services make it easy for publishers or educators to distribute millions of copies without extra printing costs, that savings is passed to the students. Gone are the days when college students need a loan just to purchase books each semester.

Materials that previously would not have been available due to the cost of obtaining historical works, or materials that require translation, are far easier to access when they are available in digital format. Students and teachers alike can also get rid of heavy bags and piles of books to remember at each class.

Bookdigitizer Digitization Services also allow educational materials to become interactive. Educators can highlight and add notes to explore topics deeper; students can add questions or take notes that will always be searchable and accessible. Group projects become easier as students can share information and notes in Cloud-based learning groups, and more. Supplementary materials that give students a better understanding of certain ideas are easy to attach and share via book digitization services, and students could even tag sections just as they would physical notes for faster navigation.

Document Scanning Services

Preserving heritage with Historic Book Scanning Services

One of the challenges of running a library, academic research facility, or public book collection of any sort, is protecting historical documents while also providing the public with access to them. Precious books and other materials that may be fragile or extremely rare should be protected, but sharing information is the entire point of the item in the first place. In order to balance these two needs, many libraries and facilities are turning to book digitizer historic books scanning services. These services scan historic documents and turn them into digital files that can be shared and accessed by patrons instead of the source material itself.

These services provide an easy way to make information accessible to all patrons, while keeping precious materials in safe, controlled collections. Historic documents, special editions or collections, handwritten items, and more, can all be kept in a preserved state behind glass or another storage location? Meanwhile, patrons can access the digital version from anywhere, read it at any time, and never have to worry about returning the item. Librarians don’t have to be concerned with damage, and the material becomes instantly searchable, tag-able, and more useful.

With bookdigitizer historic book scanning services, the process takes into consideration the delicacy of the documents, utilizing equipment and careful car so that the material isn’t harmed during the scanning itself. Historic documents aren’t just those from previous centuries or ancient times, either. Librarians suggest that materials published as recently as the late 1920s are very vulnerable to decay or damage, and should be digitized for regular use. This number will only become more and more recent as time goes on.

Through bookdigitizer historic book scanning services, we’ll be able to access information from centuries back, and still preserve the source document for generations to come.

Human Resourcse
Choosing a Bulk Document Scanning Services

Are you in the market for a bulk document scanning service? Do you need numerous pages scanned and converted into digital text? If so, keep reading as we discuss how to decide on a company to do this for you.

Consider Quality

The first thing to think about before hiring a company to handle your scanning needs is the type of quality you demand.

Of course, you want the highest quality possible, but this is also going to come with a higher price.

In this way, you also need to think about your budget before jumping into a project. If you absolutely need high-resolution text, then pay for it. Otherwise, go with a service that will offer you some more affordable options.

Before You Have Bulk Work Done

After reading the above, you may think you’re ready to pick out the perfect bulk document scanning service.

That being said, we wouldn’t rush into anything. As long as you have the time, start with a smaller job. Issue the company you have in mind a fair amount of text so that you’ll get a feel for how quickly they can work and what kind of job they’ll do.

The reason for this is that, when the company returns this initial work, it may be clear that their service isn’t up to your standards. It’s better to find out after a small job than do so after you’ve sent them bulk text.

In fact, you may want to do this with several companies. While bookdigitizer’s bulk document scanning services will cost a bit more, you’ll also get to see who is best able to do the kind of work you want.

As long as you follow this last piece of advice, you should be able to utilize the other information we provided into choosing the best possible bulk document scanning service for your company’s unique needs.