John N


Last active 3 years ago

  1. 3 years ago
    Mon Dec 28 05:17:07 2020

    Dr Kathryn :) Awesome!

    You really are well-placed to be doing these books, with your background and contacts. Good on you.

    Turning a profit (or getting any return at all) is definitely a challenge. Writers don't make natural marketers. From the sound of things, you're getting a handle on it though.

    I've been working from home since the start of February. I'm often not sure where I should be putting my efforts, but I also need the book business to start paying back some of what I've put into it.

    Consider me envious of your lifestyle :)


  2. Mon Dec 28 02:14:08 2020

    Hi Kathy,

    It rings such a clear bell when you say "the file sizes with the animations are huge, and the pages are loading really slowly ..." From memory, it's why I abandoned the iOS app that I was experimenting with, also. It was just too big, too clunky and too slow. I can't remember how the read-aloud went.

    It's good news about your Android testing with xpubs and Pubreader. I'm inspired to move on to the Android versions of my book too. Thank you for the heads up re your website. I found it, and I've bought a couple of books to check out. Congratulations on your Interactive Book Award, by the way. I've bought that one :) You really are a powerhouse. And an Aussie one at that! Yay!

    Thank you for sharing so much information. It really helps to be able to discuss this stuff.


  3. Thu Dec 24 05:07:33 2020

    Hello Kathryn,


    There's no other response I could make.

    And you even do an Australian English narration? Go you! (I'm a Sydneysider) :)

    How do you do all this? Time-wise. And it can't be cheap, either.

    John (gobsmacked) :)

  4. Thu Dec 24 04:53:32 2020


    thank you for your awesome reply. I'm no expert, either, so every bit of information is helpful. I'm actually blown away by the scope of your work.

    It makes sense to drop your images down to dimensions of 1024x768 if you're not expecting your readers to zoom (why don't you expect them to zoom?). Image quality in the epubs as loaded (not zoomed in) is good. I'm sure they would retain that quality on your iPad Pro. It's just the zooming that creates issues.

    Kobo's not the only retailer with a 100MB limit, and the need to retain some level of quality at zoomed-in views makes 100MB a real hurdle. Mind you, I'm pleased that the epubs I'm creating for the current project are below that limit (though not by much) while delivering okay zoomed-in visuals. Not perfect visuals, but okay.

    I've just checked, and in Pubreader I can't zoom in on pages either. I can't remember if earlier versions of Pubreader used to zoom in or not.

    I need to revisit my Android tablet regarding zoom. I think I could zoom-in in the Kobo app, on a Samsung tablet. I've been focusing first on a version for Apple Books this time round. Android is next up. But if you're creating Android apps (as opposed to epubs), I don't think they would zoom because the Pubcoder apps are basically the Xpub file wrapped in a different shell. And it seems the xpubs don't zoom ...

    You're right that a lot of readers are using Android. I had tracking links set up in a free ebook to see where hits were coming from, and there were big numbers coming from Google Play books. Not as many as I was getting from Kindle apps and devices, but close. But when I delved into the app-creation side of Pubcoder, that was a whole other thing in itself. I built an iOS app (great agony and suffering involved) and stopped. I'm so impressed that you've created apps for both platforms and haven't been driven mad :)

    We've moved in opposite directions, I think. I've come to believe that iOS is the best - perhaps the only - platform for my interactive eBooks, but I actually started designing for Kindle. I hand-coded an interactive edition for Kindle, and it worked, but Kindle only supports little bits of the EPUB3 spec, and does it in proprietary ways; and what I could achieve on that platform could not compare with a proper EPUB3 implementation (via Pubcoder) on iOS. I'm actually thinking of going back to flat-file picture books on the other platforms with, as you say, text big enough to read without zooming. My first picture book was a flat file, and was only about 10MB.

    The interactive books are big files. There's no way round it, I think. And unfortunately, Apple Books doesn't seem to attract the numbers of readers who use the other platforms, like Kindle and Android ... and Kindle devices are just Android devices with Amazon-proprietary limitations built in.

    Again, thanks for sharing so much info. I would love to see what you're working on. Can I buy your books?

    John :)

  5. Thu Dec 24 03:47:28 2020

    Hi Phil,

    That's a great idea. I think that, as Pubcoder users, we could assist each other instead of each user having to reinvent the wheel every single time. Pubcoder's a great platform, but not everything is straightforward, and not everything is strictly a Pubcoder issue - like my problems with image dimensions, resolution and format, and how to produce the best quality viewing experience at a file size that's ... reasonable?

    But what is a reasonable file size for the digital products we're creating? Does anyone know? You can't equate a fully illustrated children's book with a text-only reflowable novel; but the ebook market is dominated by reflowable text files, and that sets reader expectations for every book file.

    Perhaps what's really needed is an advocacy group for books that use the EPUB3 specification - and Pubcoder - to deliver a unique experience.

    Just saying ... :)

    So Angelo, would it be possible to do what Phil suggests, to set up a facility in the forum where users can share links - or even content, perhaps - to get feedback, ideas, a fresh set of eyes?

    John :)

  6. Thu Dec 24 03:19:00 2020

    Angelo, I've uploaded the two files (File A and File B).

    Many thanks for your help, as always.


  7. Wed Dec 23 06:54:59 2020

    Oops! Sorry, Kathryn. Yes, that should have read "the Xpubs I generate are far bigger than the Epubs." Apologies for that.

    Re your xpubs, do you mean you do 5 localisations yourself?


  8. Tue Dec 22 23:14:01 2020

    No worries, Angelo. Thanks for the heads up :)

  9. Tue Dec 22 23:06:32 2020


    what do you mean when you say "The file size optimizes nicely for xPub, much better than for epub."

    I ask because the Epubs I generate are far bigger than the Epubs.

    Thanks :)

  10. Tue Dec 22 22:58:15 2020

    Hi Kathryn,

    It's a while since I worked with Read-Aloud but I was pretty happy with the results. It worked in Books on my Mac, on the iPad, on iPhone. I didn't encounter the sync timing you mention on the Mac. I was using a very old Mac Pro (early 2009) which is stuck forever in OS X El Capitan. I haven't tried it on my MacBook, which runs Catalina (I didn't have it when I did the Read-Aloud project).

    With the epub in Kobo I had a similar experience to yours . I'll have to delve back in to see what worked and what didn't, but I recall it wasn't everything.

    XPUB I haven't done much with, apart from previewing. My main focus has been optimising for epub. But XPUBs are even larger files, aren't they), than EPUBs? I could be wrong.

    I'm really impressed that you're doing Android and iOS apps as well, and would love to hear more about that. I did a test iOS app with my bells-and-whistles book, but the results were disappointing. Big, big file.

    Can I buy a copy of your book(s). It would be so helpful to see what others are building in Pubcoder, and exchange ideas. I can point you to my website, if you'd be interested.

    Thanks for posting :)

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