Making your own books, interactive books or epubs


Although there are several software and apps that can create books and epubs some of them require a little more tech know how and are not always user friendly. For very simple books, interactive books and epubs you don't really need anything too complicated and anyone (including children) should be able to make their own books easy and stress free. This is particularly important if you like to do this as a student activity, honestly the last thing you want as a teacher is having motivated students keen to write their own book bogged down with technical glitches and long delays as you need the school IT Support to buy and install the software for you or help you out if things don't work. Therefore this page is not about producing books for publishing but easy and quick ways for you and your students to create your own books for learning and fun.

On your computer

I am currently reviewing a couple of interesting products to produce e-pubs on your computer so stay tuned for an update very soon in the mean time:

The easiest way to create simple books with text and images to be converted as books for mobile devices is to use Word.
Create your story in a word document, add images. Don't include page numbers or a table of content as it is superfluous in an ePub.
Once you are happy with your story save it as a pdf. Be careful not to put images in tables and use only a basic font like Times New Roman.

At this point you have a couple of options:

If you prefer to use a software to convert your book you can download and install the free (for mac and pc) Calibre software

But if you don’t want to worry about software installation (or you would like to do this on computers where you cannot install anything yourself) than you can use Zamzar (yes Zamzar again...) .


On a mobile device

If you like to use your mobile device to create the books there are a variety of apps both for Apple and Androids.

My favorite is Creative Book Builder

It costs around $3.99 but is perhaps the easiest one to use for multimedia books

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creative-book-builder/id451041428?mt=8


But you can use others such as Mooklet

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mooklet-create-dynamic-photo/id498505920?mt=8

or Book Creator Free

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/book-creator-free/id661166101?mt=8

This particular option is great for you or students if would like to use BYO devices or the school/centre has an easy away to bulk image a set of school iPads or Androids. Please note that although I gave apps for Apple devices, the same or similar apps will be available for Androids in most cases.

Online

The next choice is to use an online service to create you books, once again there is nothing but choice. My suggestion is perhaps that the following are a good choice (they both are pretty simple to use, even my 3 and a half year old grandson can create a book on these.

First is Storyjumper. The advantage is that not only the books are free to create but the online service comes with a wide range of pre-made images you can use or you can import your own photo/images. It does not allow you to insert multimedia but if you are looking for a simple book creating method this is probably one of the easiest to use.

http://www.storyjumper.com/

to learn how to use Storyjumper

click here

http://www.storyjumper.com/book/docreate/594

The other is Livebooklet -

In many ways Livebooklet has more features but it is only free for 14 days and after that you need to by a monthly subscription.

https://livebooklet.com/index-lb.php

The obvious advantage of using an online facility is that you don't have to worry about software, apps or indeed what type of computer you are using, just as long as you have an internet connection you can create your books. The disadvantage is that some of the online system will not allow to download the book or offer the download as an extra cost, read the fine print before deciding what is the best option for you.

There are also other alternatives like using myBrainshark to create a narrated book in video format - look over my notes on myBrainshark for how to use it.


Some tips:

  • If using multimedia keep the segments short to avoid large files and save audio in mp3 and videos in mpg4 to allow maximum compatibility
  • You will find that there are apps and software that can create really sophisticated ebooks but the downside is that the books will not be compatible with all mobile devices, you will have to think what is more important sophistication or accessibility.
  • Some free apps (like for example Book Creator) will only allow you to create a small number of free books and you will need to pay to unlock more books or more features so not always something free is cheaper hence I prefer to pay for an app like Creative Book Builder and not have to worry about in app purchase.
  • Think of fun things the students can do with their book creation especially with young students, you don't have to stop at writing stories, they can write recipe books, travel journals, biographies, instruction manuals, music or art magazines, etc.