Be iPad Ready with Lulu

Unless you were hiding under a rock today, you know that Apple announced a new tablet computer that also functions as an eBook reader. Speculation about the device has been building for months and the actual gadget is still about 60 days from appearing in stores. So additional speculating, no doubt, will ensue.

But having followed Steve Jobs’ presentation today, here’s one thing we don’t have to speculate about: If you publish an eBook on Lulu, it can be read on the iPad.

That’s because Apple will use the ePub file format, an open standard. We added ePub to our creation tools last year because the format is open, allows flexibility, and ensures that our authors will be ready for the future no matter the evolution of digital devices. It stems from our mission to build the world’s best open publishing platform so that authors can reach anyone, anywhere — and to our commitment to help creators navigate the rapidly changing world of digital content.

Clearly, our authors see value in ePub. Since we introduced the format, the number of eBooks created on Lulu has increased 40 percent. And Apple’s announcement of the iPad today is another win for this open approach.

So if you want to be ready for the iPad — not to mention many other popular devices, including the Sony Reader, already available — get started with your ePub eBook on Lulu today.

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27 Comments

  1. All my books are in PDF. I guess the Ipad will come with an in-built PDF reader?

  2. Andrea,
    While many e-readers are able to view PDFs, they typically won’t display in an optimized manner. For best results, you should have your books available in a format specifically designed for a given e-reader.
    Elmore

  3. This is great that Lulu jumped on the iPad bandwagon IMMEDIATELY, but I imagine that many Lulu authors – like myself – will need help with PDS files vs. ePub files.

    Technically my book is available as an “eBook,” but when I download it it’s simply an PDF. Is that how it will appear on the new iPad?

  4. My books NEED to be in PDF, because they have illustrations and graphics. They also need to have the same page references as the printed versions (they are rulebooks for tabletop wargames, as seen on http://www.ganeshagames.net , and users reference rule by page number). I personally think Ipad is a big, big mistake that will do nothing good to the ebook market (a market that Apple is not interested anyway, as Steve Jobs said that “people don’t read”). This seems just a shiny gadget to be adopted by people with more disposable income than they know what to do with, but it does nothing better than a specialized device like a laptop or, for reading, an ebook reader. It’s a giant smart phone that doesn’t make phone calls…

  5. I’m not sure I would market Lulu as iPad ready yet. YES, the iPad iBook store uses ePub files, but Lulu is NOT on the iBook store. So . . . this article isn’t 100%, but it’s close. I don’t think Harish has taken a look at the iPad or talked to Steve whether or not ePub’s purchased outside Apple’s ecosystem will be imported into the iBook app. Anyway. . . we’ll see!

  6. Bryan Basamanowicz

    Hi Harish,

    Can anyone create an ePub file out of a Word document? When folks say they’ve published their books as e-books, does that just mean that organizations like LuLu are supporting their marketing campaigns? If I have a manuscript and I convert it to ePub, what problems and expenses will I encounter during the marketing process? It seems to me that unknown authors and publishers will have an easier time recovering a solid return on their investment as e-reading grows in popularity.

  7. Theresa M. Moore

    Well, all my books are published in epub format and PDF format, and I do create them from Word documents. But ePub does not support special formatting, tables, and large illustrations, so until the iPad can do the same thing it does with html documents and visual displays it will behave just like any other reader. As for marketing, the only way to do that is to do it yourself. Lulu already has a huge banner advertising that it offers iPad-ready books. You have to market your own books yourself independently of Lulu’s marketing program as ready for iPad or no one will.

  8. Ipad looks cool but don’t think is what i need. But its a good first effort. Hope to see more features in the next models.

    iPad Malaysia review

  9. Chris

    @andrea- The iPad isn’t even out yet, yet you’ve already stated it’s “a big, big mistake”. Wow.

    It will become the standard in homes, able to do almost everything that the general public will need it to do. It’s not a giant smart phone, it’s a giant iPod Touch with the one limitation removed, the tiny screen. This will make it accessible and more appealing to a much larger market.. kind of like Nintendo Wii, the top selling video game console.

    I’m sure it will be able to read PDFs. Those are separate from the “eBook” format and most non-book documents are saved in PDF on the web nowadays.

    I’ll get the first iPad because I don’t have an iPhone or Touch yet, and my laptop has become nothing more than a big, heavy email client. iPad definitely has room to grow, there are a few features missing, which sadly is how most companies make their money- Future Upgrades.

  10. CC

    People seem to have a mistaken idea of the capabilities of the iPad. For instance, Theresa said, “so until the iPad can do the same thing it does with html documents and visual displays it will behave just like any other reader” and “My books NEED to be in PDF, because they have illustrations and graphics.”

    The iPad is basically a computer. Yes, it uses the ePub format, but nobody said anything about not being able to read other formats. Even if you had a super-proprietary format that only you use, you could still produce a reader app for it on the iPad if you wanted to (unlike the other e-book readers on the market).

    You’ll still be able to read PDF’s and web pages the same way you do on desktops – you just won’t use them using the ePub reader on the iPad, just like you wouldn’t use it to read, say, a Diablo save game file.

    For instance, Stanza will be available day one for reading public domain books, because all iPhone / iPod Touch apps will also run on the iPad.

    Of course, my question is: will we be able to publish an ePub book on Lulu and sell it through the Apple Book Store? Does Lulu have an agreement in place with Apple to place homebrew books there? That’s a separate issue from the capabilities of the iPad itself – the business deals necessary to gain access to the virtual store shelves – but it’s more interesting to me. I can produce ePub by hand if I need to (it’s just XML), but access to the Apple Book Store is something I can’t do by myself if Apple doesn’t allow individuals to sell there. That’s the sort of situation where Lulu could be very helpful to us.

    As a side note to andrea sfiligoi, you might consider rethinking the idea of tying the use of your rules to page numbers – too many things can change your page numbering as you produce new editions for new contexts. Historically, tabletop wargames handled this by numbering the rules – for example, the paragraph detailing section 10, subsection 2, rule 6 would be prefixed with a 10.2.6. This makes rules very easy and quick to find, regardless of how the page numbers fall, and lets different editions of the same rules be referenced with the same numbers, so that two players with different editions can communicate easily.

  11. G Lynam

    I’ve resisted releasing my book in any electronic format because of piracy and certainly won’t until there is a format out there that is particularly difficult to crack.
    What are the experiences of those who have released in epub or pdf formats as far as piracy is concerned ?

  12. loki

    How will out Lulu published ePub books be used on the iPad? will Lulu content be available on the iBook store?

  13. Thanks for your comments.

    @andrea – I do not know for sure but I do believe iPad will come with a reader supporting PDF’s among other documents. ePub format have some advantages, however – the text in ePub format will reflow to the screen size. In PDF the text is fixed page view. For ePub files, readers can take a book from wide screen at home to a small screen on their mobile device and the text will look good. And since ePub is an open standard it can be read on any hardware and software platform that implements those standards – thus extending the reach to many more readers.

    @Ryan @others – we are working to launch a service to help you convert your PDF to ePub and other formats. There are lot of questions still to be answered and we will keep you updated on how this goes.

    @andrea – Good point. I think your specific case has to be address by advanced linking in the documents. So the rules can be links and then people just click on the rule to get the details but I am may be missing something here.

    @Bryan – The short answer is Yes. There are some tools out there – http://toc.oreilly.com/2008/05/epub-creation-just-got-a-lot-s.html but the challenge is formatting such the intent of documents is not lost. As I said we are working on services to help our authors convert their documents to ePub while maintaining the professional look. We will keep you updated. And with our initiative on DRM and device independence we are also working to get our authors eBooks out to as many platforms as possible.

  14. CC,
    An individual can have access to the Apple app store with their books for sale there. You just need to find an app developer you like. I did, and have my book avalable here on Lulu and, the content was coverted easily into a proprietary eBook reader application. If you have an iPhone or ipod touch you can download my book (for free) here:
    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-war-anonymous/id340659655?mt=8
    I purchased an individual developer account at Apple – this was $99 and I hired developer to make the app. I like this better as people do not have to search “through” Stanza or some other reader to find my book. They can search for book apps right in the iPhone app store. Plus, you can charge for the app/eBook if you want to via the itunes store – just like anyone else with an app offered there.
    As I mentioned, my book in hardcover and paperback is also here on Lulu.
    Btw, Thanks Lulu for such high quality book production. I am still blown away.
    Sam

  15. I’m not certain if this was suggested, but it would be great if Lulu had their own eBook reader app that allowed lulu customers to make a stand alone app of their book(s)for the iTunes store. In other words, not a reader app like Stanza, but the end result would be an app that lived on the iPhone with its own icon that looks just like your lulu book cover. That’s what I have now, but it sure would have been great (and I’m certain cheaper) if I could have just done it here at Lulu at the same time I made the print versions.
    Sam

  16. @G Lynam You can always protect your books from privacy using Digital Rights Management (DRM). Lulu offers this as a simple service that you can add to your documents as they are getting published.

  17. You have not replied properly to Paul & loki’s questions. Does Lulu have a deal with Apple to put their books on the iBook store? Or do you have some other option in mind, such as a specific book selling app for the app store, by you or some other vendor?

    Or what are you saying?

  18. Rick Cross

    @G Lynam: I hate to break the news to you but the pirated book sites are full of books that have never been released in ebook format. With today’s computers and OCR programs it is almost trivial to scan a book and convert it to a text, Word, html, PDF, etc. document which may then be easily converted to any of the proprietary ebook formats. I do this myself with the few magazines I get. They take up less space on my computer and DVD discs than on my bookshelf. If i could get them in PDF format, I would. I also do this with almost all of my paper documents, mail, newsletters, receipts, etc.

    So offering your book only in printed format only slows down a would be pirate.

    Honestly though, most, and I mean the very vast majority of people would never steal a copy of an ebook, computer program, etc. If they really want it and it is priced right, they’ll buy it. That’s been proven over and over throughout the years.

    From what I’ve seen, the costs of DRM systems for an author tend to be higher than what may be lost due to piracy. But my experience with that is from a software point of view only.

    All DRM tends to do is hamper the honest person. There hasn’t been a DRM system yet that wasn’t quickly cracked. Yet it can stop the legal purchaser/license holder from using what they bought or licensed. (Much like gun laws which do little or nothing to slow down a law breaker but hinder only the law abiding person.)

    Honest people won’t steal. Dishonest people are not stopped by DRM.

  19. Rick Cross

    BTW, I DO have an iPod Touch. And I’m glad to see that someone else here sees the iPad as being only an iPod with a bigger screen. It certainly isn’t an earth shaking, new technology or new type of device. (For the record, I also own several Windows handhelds and smart phones as well as a few dedicated ebook readers. (REB 1100 and 1200s.) I don’t see myself ever buying another dedicated ebook reader.

    Stanza and some others are very good ebook readers for this platform. PDFs are only really decent with a free program called GoodReader.

    Once your book is in epub format, it’ll be trivial to submit it to the Apple bookstore. You could do the conversion yourself but it sounds like Lulu is making the conversion a lot easier. I’m certain that whatever hoops have to be jumped through to get a book in the Apple bookstore, Lulu is going to help us as much as possible.

  20. I’m guessing that the iPad will come with the Adobe Reader buitl into it. Like most, when I published the print editions of my titles I also made it available as a download in PDF format.

    I’m not impressed with the iPad. I know Aplle can do better than that. But I like that Lulu is offering the ePub format. It gives the reader a choice. It opens up sales for readers who use the Sony Reader, iPod, iPhone, and many other ebook reading devices.

    As Andrea Sfiligio pointed out not all publications will work in the ePub format, but it will work for most novels, which have little to no illustrations.

    I also like that Lulu links the ePub format to the printed edition of the title. I found that Calibre (a free program) works best for converting PDF files into ePub formats.

  21. John

    @Sam… I’m really curious how much it cost you to produce your iPhone app, and why are you offering it for free? Is the goal to get them into Book 1 and then sell them Book 2?

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