Friday, January 02, 2009

Publishing Your Own eBooks

eBooks provide a venue for distributing your ideas with little or no expense in publishing your ideas. I write a great deal on my blogs and in my teaching. eBooks provide a way to professionally collect and publish your work. It also makes it easy to distribute to your friends and public.

I was just reading about Social Media on Brian Solis's blog, PR 2.0, when he mentioned his eBook, The Essential Guide to Social Media. This is an eBook that he created as a "quick start" overview about participating in the social media world. He collected the most commonly asked questions and answers and turned them into a downloadable ebook. It has a number of good ideas that I will cover later, but the format was what really enchanted me.
The eBook was printed through a website entitled Scribd. A potential author can upload a file/book/set of document to the website where it turns the work into what they call iPaper.11 different formats (e.g. Word, .pdf, Powerpoint, Excel, Open Office, etc.) Moreover, Scribd is building a huge library of resources that can be searched and accessed. iPaper is a rich document format that was built to be displayed through the Web. Originally created with Adobe Flash, it can be viewed through a variety of operating systems. You can upload your document in wide range of formats. 
Imagine how this can be used in your classroom. The opportunities are endless in presenting content and publishing student work. Here are a few that I have found:
  • Publishing student anthologies.
  • Creating a collaborative publication that is shared and enjoyed between classes.
  • Providing course content to students in book-like format
  • Creating brochures
I must admit that I am new to iPaper and Scribd. iPaper appears to me to be an online version of .pdf. One of the advantages that I see is that it allows you to embed articles into blogs (see below) or onto webpages or ???
I just wrote an article for my other blog, Keyboarding Research and Resources, where I discuss the research into the effects of covering a computer keys when learning to keyboard. Just for fun, I uploaded this paper onto Scribd and below I have provided some ways to access it including embedding the file into this posting. Have fun.
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Here's a link to the online Scribd page of this article, Can Learning to Touch Type be Facilitated by Covering the Keys on a Computer?

Here is the embedded version. I embedded this document by copying the HTML code from the Scribd website and then pasting it into the HTML version of this blog posting. Look at all of the various formats available for viewing this document. Click on the iPaper dropdown menu to see that you can view it in a book, document or presentation format. You can email it to a friend or print it or whatever.

What do you think of this the iPaper/Scribd options?
Have any of you used this tool?
What are your opinions?
How would you use it?

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