Tag Archives: ebook

The importance and complexity of ebook cover design

2016-05-24

Three elements require careful consideration before a book is ready to be marketed at an online bookstore: title, cover design and book description. The fourth element – price – is equally important, but it is a business decision, unlike the three other elements that are often created by experienced professionals. The rise of ebooks has introduced plenty of new authors to the world, but also plenty of new cover designers have found interesting work in the world of books.
3 cover designs in 3 sizes
If you are a writer who is thinking of publishing an ebook or a cover designer, one of the best ways to learn about book covers is to study what others have done. In his The Book Designer blog, Joel Friedlander runs e-Book Cover Design Awards for new cover images.

Award winners for the best fiction and non-fiction cover designs have been chosen for April 2016, and they are Wrong Side of Hell, design by Lou Harper, and Are You Buying This?, The Book Designers. Just like with books, a cover design appeals someone while another person may dislike the same cover. It is a matter of taste, and above all, a matter of appeal. Does a book cover appeal to a reader? Is the cover so intriguing that it calls the reader to click it and open the book?

These two book covers (a fiction and nonfiction cover) from e-Book Cover Design Awards April 2016 selection were the favorites at the Klaava Media office.
book cover design, resolution
book cover design, windcatcher
What makes the ebook cover design more difficult than designing a printed book cover? For a printed book, the cover design has to look perfect in its actual size alone. Ebook cover, on the other hand, has to be perfect from thumbnail size to poster size. Often, readers only see a thumbnail image of the cover image when they find a book at an online store. The purchase decision maybe made based on thumbnail image alone. Yet, the same image has to be attractive even when viewed on a 26-inch PC monitor.

If you read PDF ebooks, you may want to try out this Onyx ereader

2016-05-16

Practically all new ebooks are being published in EPUB and Kindle formats so that they are easily accessible on all tablets, ereaders, smartphones and computers (independent of their screen size). A number of books published years ago in print may only be available in PDF format, and the PDF file format was never designed with small screens in mind (it is simply a replica of a printed page). That’s why reading an PDF ebook or document can be frustrating on a small-screen ereader. So, a larger screen is required for PDF, and that’s what Onyx ereader is delivering.
onyx boox max ereader, landscape
The Onyx Boox Max comes with a 13.3-inch E ink screen which makes it a good choice for anyone who is reading textbooks and other non-fiction books in PDF format.

The Boox Max has a feature that is rarely included in ereaders: you can write on the screen. A stylus is attached to the side panel, and using that stylus it is possible to write on the screen.

There definitely is a large group of people who need a 13.3-inch ereader, but it is not for everyone. The device doesn’t fit into a small bag or purse, but you have to have something where you can carry it. For instance, would I take this ereader on a trip to Budapest? Probably not, I would take a 10 inch tablet and a smartphone. The current price for the Onyx Boox Max is $650, which means it has to compete against 12-inch tablets in price.

Having said that, an ereader with large screen would be nice to have in the office and at home.

Here is a video recorded by Armdevices.net where the Onyx Boox Max is demonstrated. It is a five minute video, but the 13.3 ereader is shown right in the beginning and after four minutes.

Onyx Boox Max key features and technical specifications

onyx boox max ereader
13.3 inch screen with 16 shades of grey, 1600×1200 resolution.
Flexible screen with handwriting input.
Full-screen touch with stylus, support handwriting and annotation.
Android 4.0, possibility to download additional applications.
CPU: Cortex-A9 1G Hz.
RAM: 1G LPDDR2
Storage space 16GB.
Memory card: Micro SD (up to 32Gb)
3.5mm connector for headphones.
Microphone.
Micro USB 2.0
WIFI 802.11b/g
Bluetooth 4.0
Ebook formats: PDF, TXT, HTML, EPUB, CHM, PDB, MOBIPOCKET (Non-DRM), FB2, DJVU
Displays JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP images.
Plays MP3, WAV audio files.
Dimensions 325 x 237 x 7.5mm.
Weigth around 550g.
Operating Temperature 0°C- 50°C.
Battery 4100mAh LI-ION Polymer.
Standby battery around 4 weeks.
Charging takes about 3 hours.

People who read a lot is the biggest customer group for ebooks and ereaders

2016-04-26

Ebook retailer and ereader device vendor Kobo recently published a survey that confirms many assumptions we have had about people who read ebooks. Who are they? Young or old? Men or women? The Kobo survey tells us that the typical ereader/ebook user is a middle aged, or older, woman who is a voracious reader. That’s exactly the same group of people who is buying and reading the most printed books.

According to the Kobo ebook reader survey, 75% of the most avid readers are women (ed. note: occasional ebook readers is likely to be a larger, more diverse group of people). Out of these active readers, 77% are 45 years of age or older. The largest single group (30%) being 55 to 64 years. In the age group 65+, men represent 34% of the most avid readers.

Kobo is able to collect plenty of information on their customers’ buying and reading habits because the company has an online bookstore, it markets ereaders and provides reading applications for computers and mobile devices. When we buy products from any online store, the stores are able to capture many pieces of data about us – not only the compulsory fields that everyone has to fill in. In addition, companies that provide reading apps and connected devices tend to track our reading behavior in the background as we read, underline and possibly comment a book.

Kobo also asked a market research company to survey their customers. The combined results are published in the White Paper “How the Best Readers in the World Read”. Here are a few highlights from the paper.
kobo, ebook reading survey
Where ebook readers like to enjoy their books?
By a clear margin, the most common places to read are home and while traveling. It makes so much sense to pack a tablet or an ereader with a stack of digital books into a travel electronics kit. No more carrying heavy printed books in a bag to the other side of the world.
kobo, ebook reading survey
What was the key factor for the decision for the last book purchase?
It is remarkable how little impact recommendations by friends, critics, or online sources have on purchase decision according to the Kobo survey. Four key factors were:

1. Genre
2. Author
3. Series
4. Subject

Kobo also reports that since the beginning of 2016, they have seen a 60% increase in sales on titles generated through data-driven recommendations and related-reading suggestions. The retailer has simply improved its algorithms that provide book recommendations to customers. This must be the reason why Amazon has – for as long as we can remember – been keen to display recommended products on every page you visit. Many times, Amazon’s recommendations actually are very much to the point.

What does all this mean to the future of ebooks and ereaders?

First, the survey results largely explain why ebooks so far have been replicas of printed books. People who like the look of printed books want ebooks that look roughly the same. That’s what the industry has given to readers in simply laid out EPUB and Kindle titles.

Second, the survey results explains why ebooks have not yet developed beyond the look and possibilities of printed books. Middle aged and older readers are not necessarily interested in new features, like interactivity in books. Younger generations could be interested in new features that might attract them to read more, but they are not buying books as much as older generations. Middle-aged people are buying and, to a large degree, financing the industry.

As movies and music have gone digital, the products have changed, or they are under a long change development phase. Movies have adopted effects and animated characters that were not possible in the analog era. Music industry has changed focus from albums to singles as streaming and video services have become popular. Live performances are more important for artists’ livelihood than earlier.

The book trade hasn’t yet experienced major shifts like many other media industries already have gone through. It is not an option that everything stays the same in the book industry when products go digital. Things will change. Who knows how and when?

Spaghetti and Sauna is a survival guide to Europe’s vastly different cultures: Italy and Finland

2016-03-28

Finns are from Neptune and Italians from Mercury – that is what someone moving from Italy to Finland (or vice versa) might think. The differences in culture, behavior and socializing – not to mention weather and food are so great that it can drive a normal, healthy person to believe that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy correctly defined the meaning of life.
sample page from book Spaghetti and Sauna
Fortunately, everyone who is planning to move to Europe – particularly to Finland or Italy – can now read a book that tells everything about the most common pitfalls that a traveler, student or an expatriate may encounter in a new environment.

Irene De Benedictis moved from Rome to Pori, a relatively small town in Finland to study and work. She survived. Even though it didn’t go as smoothly as she would have liked, the best thing is that she wrote a book Spaghetti & Sauna about her culture shock and how she learned to cope with the Scandinavian weather, food, and people.

Spaghetti and Sauna tells an entertaining and educating story that is worth a read for everyone who is interested in the cultures and customs of South and North Europe. If you don’t know what a personal bubble, sauna evening, umbrella ride or onion-style fashion is, you better read the book.

book cover image: Spaghetti and Sauna
More about the book Spaghetti & Sauna – Discovering the Rational Finnish Culture through the Eyes of an Emotional Italian here.

Book lovers rejoice: It is Read an Ebook Week

2016-03-06

In 2016, ebooks are not a novelty they once were, but the original mission of Read an Ebook Week is still valid: to promote reading of electronic books. The champion behind the program is author Rita Toews, who established the week already in 2004. In 2016, the digital reading week is scheduled for March 6th – 12th.
amazon kindle voyage, coffee
Rita Toews talked about the origins of the Read an Ebook Week to Huffington Post:

We were among the first authors to embrace e-books but the general public was very cautious of the new reading technology. It was hard to promote our books or to get anyone to listen when we requested publicity.

It came to me one day that if all authors spoke at the same time we stood a better chance of making an impact on the public. I registered Read an E-Book Week with Chases Calendar of Events so e-authors had “legitimacy” when they sought publicity. It worked. I would approach our library and say “It’s Read an E-Book Week” and the librarian knew from Chases that it was, so I could set up a display. The same when I approached TV and radio stations.

In order to get your reading week started, why not download free ebook samples from Klaava Media catalog right here.

The home page of the ebook week features plenty of special deals for this week.
apple ipad pro, man on a beach

Nordic mixture of unique experiences and culture: The Best of Helsinki

2016-02-27

The capital of Finland, Helsinki, is a traveler-friendly city: there is plenty to see in the city, but it is easy to move around town and traffic rarely causes major problems. Food, drink, and accommodation options are plenty. Helsinki is a mixture of many things: it is centuries old, but modern; it is a western city that used to be part of eastern empire. These influences and traditions have blended into a unique Nordic culture and architecture that visitors can experience in Helsinki. Travel guide The Best of Helsinki: The Sights, Activities, and Local Favorites explains and shows it all.
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Travelers who have never visited any Scandinavian country may think there is always snow on the ground and people have to give way to elks and reindeers that roam on city streets. Yes, snow covers the ground in Finland in winter, but summers are beautiful, warm and green. Yes, there are plenty of elks and reindeers (and a number of wolves and bears as well), but they are hiding in the wilderness.

Helsinki (or any region in Finland) has plenty to offer for nature-lovers because large forests, lakes or the sea are never far away. Party-goers enjoy Helsinki’s lively nightlife scene, whereas foodies may enjoy a meal the Lapland, Asian, Italian, Russian or traditional Finnish way.
The Best of Helsinki, Klaava Travel Guide
The Best of Helsinki is a visual travel guidebook that shows you the places to go and helps you navigate to your destination. You can browse the book to get an overall understanding what the city has to offer, and then study details of those places that seem interesting.

Find out more about the book here.

Here are a few sample pages extracted from The Best of Helsinki.
Travel guide: The Best of Helsinki
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page
Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page

Black Friday deal on an ebook subscription service

2015-11-27

Ebook subscription services that let you read as much as you have time for a monthly fee are pretty affordable. The market price is around 10 dollars or euros for one month worth of reading. If one of the services decides to give a small Black Friday discount, what’s the big deal? Well, because subscription requires a recurring payment, costs add up. That’s why, the Black Friday deal from 24 Symbols is worth considering.

In the spirit of Black Friday, 24 Symbols has lowered the price for its monthly book subscription to 6.99 Euros. It is the lowest monthly subscription price we have seen so far. What do you have to do to get the deal? Go here: www.24symbols.com/subscriptions

24 Symbols has a selection of 300 000 books for you to read read if you sign up. Reading applications for mobile devices are available as well. It is possible to give a subscription to someone else as a gift, too. The Black Friday price doesn’t apply then.

24 symbols ebook subscription service

Book publishers believe ebooks will dominate book sales in 5 years

2015-10-31

British book industry newspaper The Bookseller has published the results of its annual Digital Census survey. The survey asks publishers (also outside Great Britain) to assess the major trends that are affecting the business of book publishing. The results for year 2015 indicate that publishers have accepted the fact that digital books are the future.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


21% of book publishers believe ebooks will make up more than half of their book revenues by 2020. In other words, in five years one-fifth of book industry depends their businesses on digital products.

38% of publishers expect ebooks to be so significant part of their sales that they would be in trouble without digital products. These enterprises anticipate ebooks will bring 21-50% of sales by 2020. Altogether, 59% of publishers believe that their businesses will rely on digital products in five years.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller digital census 2015


If we look at the situation today, where the publishers are regarding their ebook sales, next five years will mean a massive transformation for the publishing business. 59% of publisher get less than 20% of their sales from digital books today.

Somewhat surprisingly, publishers expect ebook subscription services to be the most important channel to reach customers by 2020. 37% of publishers regard subscription services as a key business model for the future of book.

bookseller digital census 2015

Source: The Bookseller


The Bookseller Digital Census 2015 also unveiled five strong trends that are shaping book business in the near future.
1. Smartphones become more common ebook reading devices than tablets or dedicated e-readers.
2. Sales of digital books is still growing, but at a slower rate (we believe this concerns markets like US and UK, because in markets like Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands ebook sales are still in their early stages).
3. Self-publishing is slightly losing its appeal (amount of work, costs, marketing, poor sales the primary reasons).
4. Ebook pricing, amount of author royalties and copy-protection of products divides the opinions of publishing professionals.
5. Half of publishing professionals fear that they are not ready for the next big thing in the digital revolution (whatever it happens to be).

More details at The Bookseller.

Here is how an author assessed the pros and cons of working with a publisher

2015-10-21

H-P Virkki is a stuntman and stunt coordinator who has written a book Stunts, Scenes and Safety about the skills needed for creating action scenes for movies and home videos. The ebook includes not only plenty of tips for aspiring stunt actors, but also actual video footage on planning and performing stunts on a set.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety was published in April 2015. Recently, H-P Virkki realized that people tended to ask the same questions about his book. We asked the author what the most common question was and what his answer was.

hp virkki at a skate park

H-P Virkki


The most common question is: How did you find a publisher? Since it’s an ebook, would it have been possible to publish it without help?

H-P Virkki: “Yes, it is possible to self-publish an ebook, and hire an editing service to help with the manuscript. For me, it was clear that I wanted to work with a professional publisher.”

“In the beginning, I tried out Apple iBooks Author in order to see whether a multimedia book would really be plausible, and to see how illustrations, text and comics would interact. When I realized it worked all right, I focused on the content and trusted that when the time comes, I’ll find a good partner. Only after the manuscript and video segments were ready, I really started to look for a publisher. After I was convinced that I didn’t want a combination of a printed book and a DVD, I decided not to approach many traditional publishers, but rather look for a digital specialist.”

“Finding a publisher wasn’t actually very hard because for over two years, I had kept a close look on ebook experts who were active in the field. Klaava Media was an obvious number one from the very beginning – not least because they published articles about movies, music and other entertainment in the company blog.”

“The publisher quickly understood my vision, and we started working together almost immediately. I think the main reason was that the publisher found the multimedia aspect of the project visionary, and the movie theme was also down his alley. I just remember that we were both pretty excited because we felt we were doing something new.”

“I really should say a bit more about the benefits of having a professional publisher. It is tremendously helpful to work with a person who has practical solutions and helpful suggestions whenever you are unsure of which way to go. It is also important that someone whose area of expertise is outside your own field keeps asking questions about your own industry. Many things that are obvious to you and your filmmaker buddies are complete gibberish to a normal, balanced reader.”

“In a multimedia book, there is so much to do. You have to design the layout for each book format, take into account all different reading devices, and get the text, drawings, cartoons, links and video clips to work together. I think I was lucky to have a balancing teammate in the project.”


H-P Virkki performs an Aikido excercise at a skate park.

H-P Virkki’s book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts available now.
download ebook: stunts, scenes and safety

In addition to information on sights and food, this travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand explains local customs

2015-09-21

Travelers who are unfamiliar with Asian cultures and customs tend to experience many surprises on their first trip to any Asian country. The land of smiles, Thailand, has many customs that travelers may misinterpret if they are new to the Thai culture. Once tourists understand a few basic things about Thailand and its people, a week on a beach, nights at bars, dinners at seafood restaurants and trips to nearby sights are more convenient and communication with locals is smoother.
pattaya travel guide chapter 6
That is exactly what the objective of the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture, published in Klaava Travel Guide series was. The guidebook interprets for travelers, for instance, what the Thai smile really means in many situations and why it is important to know the protocol of wai (the polite Thai greeting).

The travel guidebook shows the sights of Pattaya, as well as the food, the shopping, the hotels and restaurants in photo galleries and video clips. Tips for surviving in the traffic, hiring a motorbike, finding a room, playing a round of pool or viewing a Thai boxing match, among others are included as well.

View a video that shows select sections from the Pattaya travel guide:

More about the book The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture download travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

pattaya beach from travel guidebook

H-P Virkki, what people want to ask from a stuntman who has written a book?

2015-09-19

Stunt coordinator, stuntman H-P Virkki wrote his first book in 2001, but had to wait until books had developed into a new medium that allowed featuring other elements as still images and text in the product. The result of his vision Stunts, Scenes and Safety was published as a multimedia ebook in 2015.
BMX cyclist falls down

View the video where H-P Virkki reveals what is the most common question people ask him and other things that explain the choices he made for the book.

H-P Virkki’s profile on Stage 32 and his IMDB page feature plenty of information about movies where he has performed.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety – book cover image

Favorite photos from a travel guide to Pattaya, Thailand

2015-07-17

Writing a book is one thing, but taking all the photographs for the same book is completely different kind of process. When Klaava Media started out the book series Klaava Travel Guide, we decided it would have to be a concept for a visual guide. Information about a destination must be supported by photographs and videos, or even better: visual information is supported by textual information.
travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand, Asia
Lately, we have been working with Erkki Leppänen, the author and photographer of the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture. In some book projects, the author or the photographer selects the images that will be published in the book, in other projects, the publisher (a graphic designer) picks up the most suitable photos.

If the objective is to have about 150 photos in the guidebook, how many frames the photographer provides to the book layout process? Based on this and earlier projects, the rough estimate is that there is usually 10 times more photographs than gets picked up to the final book. Naturally, if the photographer or the author has previous experience on producing images for a travel guide, the number of photos delivered to the publisher can be the same as the number of actually published photos. Still, the photographer has probably taken 10 times more photos on location.
download travel guide ebook: Pattaya, Thailand
Video is a different medium, because clips can be cut, pasted and mixed in order to create a lively short film from multiple clips.

In any case, here are a few favorite photographs published in the travel guide The Best of Pattaya, Thailand and the Essentials of Thai Culture.

visitor guide to pattaya, Thai culture

tourist guide book: pattaya, sights

Travel guide book to Pattaya, food and drink

Klaava Travel Guide: Pattaya, Thailand, hotels

travel guidebook: pattaya, beach

ebook travel guide: pattaya, sunset