Tag Archives: ebook

Five frequently asked questions that an ebook producer has to answer

2018-08-01

Large bookstores, such as the Kindle Store, Kobo, Google Play have made downloading and reading of an ebook easy for their customers. What happens before the book is available in the store, however, is a long process where the author, publisher, ebook production expert and marketing people work with the book. Since our role is to produce ebooks, and often also to publish them, we have heard a number of questions concerning ebooks. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.
cartoon character working with computer
Before we dive into the questions and answers, let’s make one thing clear about ebooks. There are two types of them: fixed and reflowable. A fixed layout ebook behaves like a printed page. The layout is exactly the same independent of the screen size you use for reading. For instance, page in an PDF document represents fixed layout: you can zoom in and out, and move up and down, or left and right to read it. If it doesn’t fit into a single screen, there is nothing you can do about it.

An ebook that has been created to have reflowable layout adjusts itself automatically to any screen size you want to use for reading. This is why it is convenient to read the same ebook on a small smartphone as well as on a large computer monitor. You can even change the font size to suit your eyesight. The magic behind this is that lines are shorter (less words) on a small screen and longer (more words) on a large screen. Because there are no fixed lines, there can not be fixed pages.

Since reflowable ebooks are far more common than fixed layout ebooks, our frequently asked questions deal with reflowable only.

Why page numbers are missing from the table of contents?

Instead of page numbers, you get links directly to chapters from the table of contents. An ebook that automatically adjusts to different screen sizes doesn’t have pages or page numbers.

Why do you want me to break my informative tables into small pieces?

It is perfectly all right to have small tables in an ebook. The problem is with large tables that may not fit on a screen horizontally or vertically. If a table doesn’t fit into a single screen, the output is unpredictable and may confuse the reader. Break large tables into small ones.

Why has the caption moved to the next page away from the image?

The image and its caption move around to allow the reader the change the font size and to read on devices with different screen sizes. Try it yourself. Change the font size and monitor how the content of the screen you are looking at changes.

The index is missing. Are you going to create it?

No. Every ereader device and reading application for mobile devices and computers has a search function that lets you search for any word you want in the book.

Why can’t you just publish the book as PDF?

Yes, we can, but … The thing is that some bookstores don’t even accept PDF books, and even if they do, readers are not happy if they try to read it on a small tablet, ereader or smartphone. PDF doesn’t adjust to screen size, but leaves it to the user to zoom in and out and to scroll sideways on every page they want to read.

Tips to Mr Putin and Mr Trump for interacting with the local tribe in Helsinki, Finland

2018-07-15

Presidents Trump and Putin are due for a tête-à-tête in Helsinki on 16 July, 2018, a summit in which national security issues and alleged Russian interference in the US elections of 2016 are likely to be hot topics. The two leaders have missed me by a year. I was in the Finnish capital in the summer of 2017 – not to mention the previous autumn – as part of the journey which has resulted in my newly published ebook, The Honest Tribe: Travels in Finland.

Esplanade Park in summer. Helsinki, Finland. Esplanade Park in Helsinki, Finland.

Too bad, gentlemen. Our paths are not to cross, and I know you’re cursing your luck. During my time in Finland I picked up more than a few snippets of information on the Finns and their metropolis, and we could have lounged in a Helsinki bar, drinks in hand, while I filled you in on a few points that even your advisors might know little of. Following that, I would have shown you something of the city.

Had we met for a drink in Helsinki, I trust Mr Trump, with his vast personal wealth, would have stood me a beer or two. My teacher’s salary doesn’t extend to prolonged stays in Finnish bars, and, with measly quantities of beer on sale for the best part of ten euros a time, many Finns also feel the pecuniary pain of alcohol consumption, not least in the pricy pubs of the capital.

According to some, this is a historically rooted ploy on the part of the Finnish establishment and designed to keep the country’s working class sober enough for their labours. With his Soviet past, Mr Putin might be inclined to agree. Had we drunk together in Helsinki, he might have refused Finnish beer on the grounds of its (supposed) exploitative, capitalist associations. Or that may have been an excuse to partake of vodka, a drink much loved in his home country.

Helsinki’s cafés and restaurants have offered me similar insights into Finnish life. Mr Trump is no doubt accustomed to high levels of customer care in American eateries – ‘Hi, my name’s Jenny and I’ll be your server today’ – and is likely to encounter similar standards in their Finnish equivalents, though with one notable exception. It was in a café on Suomenlinna, the island off Helsinki’s coastline, that I was told by the girl at the counter to fill my cup myself. She indicated cups, tea bags and an urn of hot water behind me.

‘Beware Finland’s DIY cafés,’ I might have warned my presidential companions as we staggered away from our Helsinki bar in search of a cappuccino or an Earl Grey. Mr Trump would have been appalled, even incredulous, and might have dismissed my caveat as fake news. Mr Putin may have been equally disbelieving, but I could have convinced him with a tall tale. ‘It’s for the protection of Finnish citizens. So a Russian agent can’t slip poison into their drink. Remember Alexander Litvinenko?’
Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki. Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki.

Fortified with beer, and tea or coffee, Donald, Vladimir and I might have perambulated around Helsinki, in search of a little culture. The city’s famed Lutheran cathedral would have been a must-see, and, once we’d negotiated a route through the groups of young people who perpetually congregate on its steps, we’d have found ourselves within its calming but plain interior.

The plainness might not have suited Mr Putin, more accustomed as he is to the ornate and gilded interiors of Russian Orthodox churches. Silvio Berlusconi, the notorious Italian politician, once commented of an eighteenth-century wooden Finnish church he’d been shown that in his own country it would have been bulldozed. So it is with the Latins and Slavs, who revel in the decorative and effusive.

No so the Finns. In the early stages of The Honest Tribe I comment that my assessment of Finland could be summed up in the words ‘clean, unfancy and efficient’. And those attributes are fine with me, as, I suspect, they are with Mr Trump. Indeed the American president has Lutheran roots on his father’s side of the family, so he might have felt at home in Helsinki Cathedral. He’d have nodded with approval, I’m sure, as I indicated its statue of the redoubtable Martin Luther. Mr Putin might have grown bored and impatient, seeing his surroundings as dourly Protestant. But Donald and I wouldn’t have minded – as long as Vladimir didn’t phone for a bulldozer.

‘Don’t mention the war!’ John Cleese famously enjoined in an episode of Fawlty Towers, the popular British comedy series of the 1970s. Finns, however, are inclined to refer to the conflicts of the twentieth century all too often, at least for the sensibilities of Russians, who received the run-around from militarily slick Finnish forces in the short-lived Winter War of 1939-40. Finns take pride in the sacrifices their people made in the 1940s and some see the period as being fundamental to the formation of the modern Finnish national character.

As Stalin received a bloody nose at the hands of Finnish forces, it might have been politic for me to steer both Vladimir and Donald away from the Helsinki museum devoted to the life of Carl Gustav Mannerheim, the Finns’ celebrated military leader of the war years. Both Trump and Putin are not slow to voice their opinions, and a visit to the Mannerheim Museum might have riled the latter, and even led to a stirring-up of old Cold War enmities between the pair.

So perhaps we’d have simply strolled the streets of Helsinki, or spent time shopping or eating salmon dishes at the shoreline market place. Given the innumerable visitors that congregate there both presidents might have expressed a fear of pickpockets. I could have countered their concerns with a mention of the Reader’s Digest experiment of a few years ago in which the magazine’s staff planted ‘lost’ wallets around cities worldwide to see how many might be returned to their ‘owners’. Helsinki came out top of the honesty stakes.

All this, of course, is a ‘might have been’. My time in Finland predated theirs by twelve months, and Presidents Trump and Putin missed out on spending time with me in Helsinki. But gentlemen, don’t despair. The Honest Tribe: Travels in Finland is available now, so reach for your wallets. If you’re in Finland, at your summit, as you read this, they’re likely to be safe and sound in your pockets.

This guest post was written by Max Boyle.

book cover image: The Honest Tribe by Max Boyle

Everything you need to know about the Honest Tribe that quietly minds its own business in Scandinavia

2018-07-10

The Honest Tribe refers to people of Finland in Max Boyle’s travel book that explores the culture of this Nordic nation. The author visited a number of cities and villages in different parts of the scarcely populated country, crossed lakes, and tasted the local beer. What was it that made an Englishman travel to Finland multiple times and what happened when he interviewed local people? Here is what the author Max Boyle told us.

What made you pursue the deep mysteries of the Finnish culture?

book cover image: The Honest Tribe by Max Boyle
My mother was Estonian, one of the ten per cent of the population who fled the country when, near the end of the war, it became apparent it would fall into Soviet hands. Through her, and my travels in Estonia, I became interested in Estonian national character – supposedly very quiet and insular – and wrote a travel literature book, The Indrawn Heart: An Estonian Journey, which incorporated an enquiry into how Estonians think and behave.

This task done, I began looking for another writing project. It seemed logical to turn to the Estonians’ neighbours and cultural cousins, the Finns. A reading of Richard D. Lewis’s Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf cemented the idea in my head and, in the autumn of 2016, I took off for the first leg of my Finnish journey.

What techniques or tools did you use during your field research?

When I travelled in Finland I had with me a photocopied page from Lewis’s book which presented alleged Finnish characteristics – sisu (the Finns’ famed never-give-up attitude), modesty, honesty, and so forth – in diagram form. I used this as a prompt to get my interviewees to offer views on Finnish national character. As far as possible I simply invited comments, though, without using leading questions, I would guide respondents towards specific attributes on Lewis’s diagram if they were struggling for something to say. This is especially true of Lewis’s ‘ultra-honesty’ verdict on Finns, and his attendant sobriquet ‘the honest tribe’, which I chose as my book’s title.

Was there a place or an episode during your travels that left a permanent trace on your mind?

During my final couple of days in Finland I was relaxing at an outdoor table of a Helsinki bar. I was joined by a young Finnish couple, who kindly bought me a drink, a cognac-vodka mix. ‘During the war there was a shortage of cognac,’ the gentleman commented. It was merely an aside, but it astonished me that a Finn of no more than thirty could refer to World War II with a degree of familiarity that suggested the conflict was within living memory for him. A preoccupation with the war, and the sacrifices it entailed for Finns, had also come through during an interview I’d conducted with a young woman in the town of Joensuu a week or two earlier.
You’d never find this in my country. For young Britons, the Second World War is as remote as the Middle Ages.

What is your key advice to travelers who arrive in Finland, and may occasionally find it difficult to understand local customs?

If Finns you encounter occasionally seem distant or stand-offish, don’t misconstrue this as unfriendliness or hostility. Finland is a ‘mind-your-own-business’ culture, and leaving you to get on with your own affairs is seen as courteous and considerate. Should you ask for help, however, you’ll find Finns more than obliging. This is especially true of those employed in service industries, where Finnish pride in doing your job to the best of your ability means the assistance you need will be readily forthcoming, and often with a smile and not a little charm.

Can you name five travel books that you would recommend to other travelers?

Colin Thubron’s Among The Russians is a long-standing favourite of mine. This 1980s journey around the USSR (and among many of its peoples, not solely Russians) is now a historical document of sorts, and a sobering reminder of this repressive state. The book’s chief merit, however, is its eloquence. Thubron’s writing has a poetic touch. Some find his style too wordy, but there’s barely another travel writer who could emulate it.

Laurie Lee’s As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning is also a joy to read. This account of his journey through Spain shortly before the country’s civil war is remarkable for being written from the perspective of the author as a callow youth who knew nothing of the land in which he was travelling. You’ll find no background or historical information on Spain in its pages, yet the book has long been a travel literature classic.

The Great American Bus Ride by Irma Kurtz is similarly unorthodox in that the book is devoted to the experience of riding Greyhound buses around the country, rather than any exploration of the USA per se. With many writers, such a book would become tedious and repetitive, but not with Kurtz, who holds the reader’s attention throughout the 314 pages.

Another engaging American journey is Jim Keeble’s Independence Day. The author’s travels are prompted by his being rejected in a love affair, but the book has a light and entertaining feel. I enjoy the way it reveals how travelling, and the change of environment and new stimuli it provides, can act as an antidote to one’s troubles and cares.

Tony Hawks’s Round Ireland With A Fridge is as unpretentious as the title suggests, and relates the tale of the author accomplishing the said feat in order to win a bet. It’s a daft yarn, and purports to be nothing more, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A fun read.

More information and sample chapters from the book can be viewed here. book cover image: The Honest Tribe by Max Boyle

Get our most downloaded travel guide for free

2018-07-08

It looks like the ebook Traveling in Scandinavia has quickly risen to the most downloaded travel guide we have published. We would like to think it is only because the book includes sample chapters from our best guidebooks that cover the Nordic countries. Perhaps true, but we can’t forget the fact it is a free download as well. Anyhow, here is how to get your copy.
cafe at Esplanade park in Helsinki
Scandinavian countries are known for their high-quality education systems, honest people, large wilderness areas, lakes, fjords, and a few successful brands, like Abba or Nokia. A Scandinavian country, Finland, and its capital Helsinki will be in the spotlight of the world on July 16th 2018 when the President of Russia Vladimir Putin and the President of the United States Donald Trump meet in the city.

President Putin has visited Finland and Helsinki so many times that he doesn’t need a guidebook anymore, but perhaps someone from President Trump’s entourage could find The Best of Helsinki guidebook useful, or a guide where Helsinki tells honestly about her secrets.

Putin and Trump probably won’t have time to explore other parts of Scandinavia after the meeting, but if you have, we can recommend Lapland in the Arctic region, or Gothenburg on the prestigious West Coast of Sweden.

Traveling in Scandinavia is available as a free download right here Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia.

The apps you want on your tablet or phone when reading ebooks

2018-05-28

For ebooks on your tablet or smartphone, you only have to download a reading app on the device. Most ereading applications come with note taking and highlighting features that let you annotate the text you are reading. As you develop new habits with digital reading and your ebook library grows, you probably want additional apps that complement the reading app. Here are a few tips for applications that can help.
ipad tablet in a bookshelf

Recommendations for ebook reading applications

If you tend to shop at the same bookstore, the easiest option is to use the reading app the store provides. For instance, if you purchase your ebooks from Kobo, use the Kobo app because it makes managing you library and purchases easy.

For tablets, good choices for ereading apps that are not tied to any specific bookstore are Bluefire Reader, Bookari, and Moon+.
reading ebook in fbreader app on LG G3
The same reading applications that run on a tablet can be used on a smartphone, but also FBreader is a good one to have on the phone because it can open a number of different ebook file formats.

For Apple computer and mobile device users, the iBooks (available at the App Store) app is an excellent choice.

It is worth reminding newcomers to the world of ebooks that Kindle books purchased from an Amazon store can only be opened with a Kindle reader, Fire tablet, or the Kindle app that is available to all PCs, tablets and phones. Other bookstores have ebooks packaged in EPUB format that is usually compatible with many reading applications, like FBreader, Aldiko, Kobo, and with all other e-readers apart from Kindle.

Useful additional apps that complement an e-reading application

Simplenote on an iPhone
Pretty soon after I began reading ebooks, I realized that didn’t want to write down my notes inside the reading application. The reason was that, especially during the early days of ebooks, it was difficult or even impossible to transfer the notes easily to a word processing software for further work. After I discovered Simplenote, I have written all my notes, drafts and lists with it. It is an online app that requires Internet connection, but it is so simple and reliable that it is all I need for my notes.

Android Authority has reviewed a number of applications that can be useful for ebook readers.

Goodreads. A large community of book lovers who can manage their personal libraries, discover new reads, and connect with other readers.
LitCharts. It displays story points, synopsis, and other information about books.
Literature Terms. A dictionary that explains terms and phrases related to literature.
Browsery. A service and app that lets you connect with other readers and discover new books.
Poems. An app that features poems from a variety of authors.

Helsinki: Klaava Travel Guide, sample page

Download free ebook with travel tips to Scandinavia

2018-04-09

Nordic countries are far-away, exotic destinations to many travelers. The northernmost region of Europe has plenty of space, vast wilderness areas, relatively few people, and neatly organized societies. Because of distances, it is a good idea to plan ahead a trip to Scandinavia, and learn a little about the culture as well.

Traveling in Scandinavia ebook is filled with tips to Finland, Norway and Sweden. The book is free to download right away simply by choosing an EPUB or Kindle version of the ebook.

Saltstraumen, Norway. Lapland.
The book has plenty of tips for destinations in Sweden, Norway and Finland. Customs and etiquette in Nordic countries are different from the rest of Europe, and behaving in sauna is easy after adopting a few key lessons from the book.

Klaava Travel Guides that have been published earlier and cultural guides provide the essential information for the book, and select chapters from a cookbook, and a history book. In any case, the book provides an overview on Scandinavia from many perspectives.

Many travelers prefer summer and sun, whereas others like snow and fun. Summer and winter are the best times to visit Finland, Norway and Sweden. A typical summer day is warm but not too warm for outdoor activities, like hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, or whatever your favorite outdoor exercise happens to be. During winter, skiing is the number one outdoor activity, but snowmobile rides are increasingly popular as well.

Book cover image: Traveling in Scandinavia

How to read ebooks without installing any additional applications on your PC

2018-03-26

Recently, one of my neighbors asked how she could read the ebook she had bought from a store. She had managed to download the book, but there was no way to open it. As many of us do in a hurry to start reading a new book, she had simply ignored all the prompts to download an ebook reader application to her device. Well, the problem was quickly solved once we installed a reader application for her. Microsoft has taken a step towards easier ebook experience by including ebook reading into the Edge browser application.

The thing is that every Windows 10 computer comes with the Microsoft Edge browser application that includes the feature to read ebooks.

ebook table of content in Mircosoft Edge browser
If your Microsoft Edge can not open EPUB ebooks, ensure your system has received all the security and feature updates from Microsoft.

This is how you can instantly verify if Microsoft Edge browser on your computer can open ebooks.

Open File Explorer.
Locate the EPUB ebook you want to open on your device.
Right-click on the EPUB file.
Select Open with.
Select Microsoft Edge. If it is not on the list, click Choose another app, and look for Edge.

The ebook should open in a tab in the Microsoft Edge application. If the book doesn’t open, the chances are that you are trying to read a copy-protected (DRM-locked) ebook. The rule of thumb is that ebooks bought and downloaded from a bookstore are copy-protected (you can always read them in the app the store provides), but free ebooks are not locked (and can be read in any EPUB ebook app). Kindle ebooks are a different story altogether, but the rule of thumb is that you can read them only in Kindle devices and apps.

In addition to non-DRM, not copy-protected ebooks you can download ebooks from the Microsoft Store to the Edge browser. It is still early days for ebooks on the Microsoft Store, which means that ebooks are not yet available in many countries at all.

Once you have an ebook in the Microsoft Edge, you can use the following useful features as you read a book.

Open the table of contents and jump to a page you want. Click the leftmost icon on the black bar above the book.
read aloud (TTS) in Microsoft Edge
Let the application read the book aloud to you. Click the loudspeaker icon on the black bar above the book.
highlight, make notes in ebook in Windows 10 Edge browser
Highlight or underline text. Select a section of text, and a small tool window opens up. You can also write notes that are attached to the position you selected.
change ebook font size in Windows 10 reader app Edge
Change font and font size. Choose A-icon, and you will see the options.
search any text in ebook in Edge browser EPUB reader in Windows 10
Search any text in a book. Click the magnifying glass and type your keywords.
Bookmark pages.

Especially, read aloud is a useful new feature in an ebook reading app. You can turn an EPUB ebook into an audiobook simply by asking the Edge browser to read it to you. At the moment, three voices are available for choosing which one pleases your ears the most. Edge can read web pages as well, so you can listen to articles you discover on the internet.

Take the book about movie stunts along on your mobile phone wherever you shoot action scenes

2018-01-22

The book Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts was originally published for the Apple iPad only. The reason was that it was the only ebook system that allowed video clips inside a book at the time. Well, times have changed since the original edition was published, and so has the book, which is now available for smartphones, tablets and computers.

Stunts, Scenes and Safety, book content pagesBook pages on a smartphone.
The concept for the book had been brewing in H-P Virkki’s head, who is an experienced professional stuntman, for a long time. When the iPad started the tablet revolution and Apple introduced the iBooks Author multimedia ebook design software, he knew his vision could be turned into reality. And so we did.

The one thing with Apple is that no matter how great its products and tools are, everything tends to work on Apple devices alone. Since many movie fans and aspiring stuntmen kept asking for the book to be made available for smartphones, Android tablets and PCs, we created a mobile edition of the book that works on practically all mobile devices.

In addition to the iBooks edition, Stunts, Scenes and Safety is also available as an EPUB and Kindle book. It means that exactly the same content can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or computer, only the layout is different.
Stunts, Sccenes and Safety, book layout on a tabletBook layout on a tablet.
The book is available in all major online bookstores that sell ebooks, for instance:

Amazon.com
Apple iBooks (the iBooks edition comes with embedded video clips – be patient with the download)
Barnes & Noble
Google Play Books
Kobo

If you get your book from the Amazon Kindle Store, download the Kindle reading application from the app store. If you download your book from the Apple store, make sure you have iBooks app on your mobile device. Other bookstores let you read ebooks in a variety of apps. For instance, FBReader, Aldiko, Kobo and Google Books are popular reading apps.

The author of the book, stuntman and stunt coordinator H-P Virkki, has performed in many movies and he has trained actors, athletes and stuntmen at dedicated courses, universities and theaters.

More about the book here.

Below a couple of samples from the iPad edition of the book.
stunts, scenes and safety book on ipad
stunts, scenes and safety - ipad screen shot

Here is a big 13.3-inch ereader that can also be used as a PC monitor

2017-12-09

A new application has emerged for ereader devices that originally were intended for reading ebooks alone: they are also used as secondary monitors for PCs. So far, tech-savvy PC users have had to hack an ereader to plug it into a computer as a monitor, but now, the Onyx Boox Max 2 provides the feature out-of-the box.
Onyx Boox Max 2 ereader and PC monitor
The Onyx Boox Max 2 is a big ereader with a 13.3-inch E ink screen. A device like this is optimal for reading PDF documents and PDF books (the product can open all common ebook file formats). The Max 2 has been developed with this in mind – it lets users write and draw on the screen with a stylus. The device can also be used like an ordinary touch screen device by touching the screen with fingers.

One more key feature that at the moment separates the Max 2 from competitive products, like the Sony DPT-RP1, is the HDMI port that lets you plug the Max2 into a PC and use it as a secondary PC monitor.

People who stare a monitor their entire work day or can’t setup their PC displays for ideal lighting conditions, can greatly benefit from a E ink screen that doesn’t flicker and provides high contrast. It is, of course, a grayscale display without even the possibility to watch videos – perhaps an important feature for easily distracted workers.
Onyx Boox Max 2 e-reader with stylus for handwriting and drawing on screen
The Onyx Boox Max 2 is available in a few online stores for 800 Euros. The official Onyx stores are listed on the company’s web page.

The product is shipping to customers, some of whom have had time to record hands-on videos of the Max 2. Here is one:

As the video and the reviewer’s reply to questions on YouTube indicate, there are some teething problems in the product that may cause problems for some users, but may not affect others.

Onyx Boox Max2 key features and specifications

13.3-inch E Ink Carta display. Made of plastic, it is light and flexible.
Resolution 2200×1650 pixels, 16 levels of grey.
High contrast 15:1.
Electromagnetic (WACOM) and capacitive dual touch screen. With the included stylus it is possible to write and draw on the screen. The capacitive layer allows touching and controlling the screen with fingers, just like using it as a tablet.
Four buttons: Menu, Back, Next Page and Previous Page.
WIFI
Bluetooth 4.0
1.6 GHz quad-core processor.
2GB RAM + 32GB of storage space.
Android 6.0 operating system software.
HDMI port for connecting the ereader to a PC as a secondary monitor.
Speaker and microphone.
3.5mm audio port for text-to-speech, playing music or audio books.
Ebook and document formats: PDF, EPUB, TXT, MOBI, CHM, DJVU, HTML, RTF, FB2, DOC, PDB. Audio: MP3, WAV.
7.5 mm thin.
Weight 550g
4100mAH lithium-polymer battery. Up to 4 weeks of standby time.

Onyx Boox Max 2 e-reader and computer monitor

Via The Verge.

Algarve, Portugal ranked as the most affordable European destination: this travel guide shows you around the region

2017-12-04

Portugal is such a hot travel destination these days that after winning the best tourist destination awards, statistics indicate that Algarve, the province on the south coast, is the cheapest European region to visit. There is only one way to find out what all the buzz is about and visit Algarve yourself. Here is a travel guide to Algarve that shows you around the south coast beaches, villages, mountains, castles and national parks.

Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
The World Travel Awards is an annual event for travel industry professionals who vote for the best destinations and service providers. The big winner in 2017 was Portugal.

The Best European Destination: Portugal
The Best Beach Destination in Europe: Algarve, Portugal

Even price comparisons favor Algarve province on Portugal’s south coast. British 2017 Post Office Holiday Money Report ranks Algarve the cheapest travel destination in Europe, Bulgaria’s Sunny Beach the second and Costa del Sol in Andalusia, Spain the third. The ranking included 44 destinations, so it is certainly possible to find even cheaper places to go in Europe, but as major tourist regions are considered, that’s the top three.

What does the Algarve travel guidebook say about the reasons why people like to visit Portugal’s south coast? According to the author of the book, it is a well balanced combination of sunny climate around the year, relatively new infrastructure for tourism without overbuilding the region, unique coastline, fascinating history as a territory between North Africa and Europe, and remarkable possibilities for outdoor activities around the year.

More about the Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide and its availability here Download: Algarve, Southern Portugal - Klaava Travel Guide.

Sample pages from the travel guide below:
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide
Algarve, Southern Portugal travel guide

Tips for Helsinki visitors when the Nordic weather doesn’t show its best sides

2017-11-13

Finland’s capital Helsinki is the city where the biggest celebrations during the country’s 100th independence year take place. All kinds of events have been organized through the year, and the 6th December 2017 is the big day. November and December happen to be the darkest months in terms of daylight in Helsinki, but the travel guide The Best of Helsinki shows many places to visit and things to do even then (not to mention at other times of the year).

Fish market at Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

Fish market at the Market Square in Helsinki, Finland.

The feedback from readers of The Best of Helsinki is indicating that the chapter with information on local favorites – destinations, activities, events – things that residents of Helsinki like to do is a popular section of the book. Other well received feature is the visual information in photos and maps.

If you decide to venture to Helsinki in November or December, here are my top tips:
Best of Helsinki, travel guide, book cover image

Daylight hours are from 10 am to 3 pm, but it is enough to see the city center around the Senate Square.
If you are staying for more than a couple of days, consider visiting the old town of Porvoo (Borgå in Swedish), only 50 km from Helsinki.
If the weather is too nasty, and staying indoors is the best option, Ateneum art museum, Heureka science center, or Forum shopping mall can save the day.
If the weather allows – it is not too windy, cold or rainy – take a ferry to Suomenlinna.

More information on Helsinki and Finland:
I, Helsinki
The Lighter Side of Finland
Analysis of the Finnish Tango
Lapland

A book about movies isn’t complete before it shows the action in video segments

2017-10-30

When professional stuntman H-P Virkki decided he is going to write a book about the work of stuntmen, he also decided that it would have to include video clips that show the action. He had to wait for the ebook technology to catch up with his vision, but once Apple had introduced the iBooks Author publishing tool, the long process of creating the book could begin. The exciting result is a available as an ebook Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts.

Tung Bui, stuntman. From book Stunts, Scenes and Safety
For a publisher, H-P Virkki’s vision for a book that comes with video clips is an ambitious one, since plenty of work is required to get all the pieces fit together. The distribution of the book must be managed as well, because delivering an ebook with a large file size and video content is not a trivial thing. Ebooks created with iBooks Author could be delivered via Apple iBooks Store, so there was at least one global distribution channel for the book.

Later, the book was also converted to EPUB and Kindle formats in order to reach wider audiences.

H-P Virkki rehearsing stunts at a course
The second key theme of the book – in addition to the introduction to the work of stuntmen– is educating young movie lovers about the requirements movie business sets for aspiring stuntmen. The book has plenty of valuable tips for anyone who is thinking of squeezing into movies.

Writing a book is one thing, but filming segments that actually show some of the key concepts of a book is a completely different thing. How can a writer create video segments for a book? Since H-P Virkki is a professional in the movie industry, he knew what he had to do in order to capture the film material he wanted for his book.

Here is an article by H-P Virkki where he tells how he created the movie segments for the book Stunts, Scenes and Safety.

H-P Virkki at Stage 32.

More about the book. download ebook: Stunts, Scenes and Safety