By: Lisa Johnson

With the announcement of iBooks Author to the Mac App Store, self-publishing will become a whole lot more graphically pleasing and popular. Thee are multiple textbook companies like Inkling that have begun to create digital textbooks and a growing number of educational institutions that have decided to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon. Some districts are using the technology as a way to create interactive course catalogs for students, to publish literary magazines, and to have students create interactive resources and instructional materials for lower grades. Many districts are even applying for an iTunes U Channel to house all of the interactive media for students and teachers.


Recently, Yolanda Barker and I published a book entitled “Hot Apps 4 HOTS“. The book includes 9 step-by-step apptivities that focus on each level of Bloom’s (some levels have more than one apptivity). Each apptivity utilizes one or two free iPad/iPod apps. All of the apps can be adapted to be used in any content area or grade level.

The initial intent was simply to create task cards for a workshop we were delivering at TCEA 2012. Through a series of happenstance events, we decided to create an ePub version of it and make it available to everyone (not just teachers in our district and those attending our TCEA workshop).

The beauty of an ePub is the interactivity and customization. Users can click on live hyperlinks, take notes and highlight important passages, and even change the font and size of the font). The table of contents, bookmarking capability, and slider bar at the bottom also make it simple to navigate the book.


ePub Customization and Interactivity Features


The days of submitting your book to a large publisher or producing strictly paper content have given way to a wave of self-publishing possibilities. So where does one begin?

  1. ePubs with a Mac: If you have a Mac, you can utilize iBooks Author or visit Apple’s page on “Creating ePub files with Pages” for step by step instructions and tips. They also offer an “ePub Best Practices” sample document which serves as a guide and template. While it is a Pages document, users simply save as an ePub when the book is complete and ready to be shared and/or published.
  2. ePubs with a PC: But what if you don’t have a Mac? Check out programs like Calibre which allow users to convert files into the ePub format (from Word, PDF, or HTML). Check out these other tools to assist with that process.
  3. Viewing an ePub on a Computer: When publishing, you inevitably will want to share with users who do not have a mobile device to view the book. In situations like this, utilize the free software Adobe Digital Editions for Mac or PC to allow individuals the ability to view ePubs on their computer.
  4. Viewing an ePub on a Mobile Device: As I am an iPad Evangelist, my means of getting an ePub on to an iPad/iPhone/iPod is through iTunes. The process is as simple as dragging the ePub file into iTunes and checking the file to make sure it syncs to your device.

For more info on self-publishing and the process of creating an ePub, check out “Hot Apps 4 HOTS: From iCeption to ISBN”.

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Need some inspiration for creating a class book, consider some of these topics to inspire:

  1. Story Ideas for Student Publishing
  2. Writing Topics for All Grade Levels
  3. Creative Writing Exercises and Prompts



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