Tuesday, 3 August 2010

'Impenetrability! That's what I say.'

    'Would you tell me, please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'
    I didn't take to Alice in Wonderland or Through the Looking-Glass as a child. I found the humour too anarchic. However, I plunge in now, on any page and see that they might be perfect guidebooks for setting up an electronic business. Persistence, I think, is key, and trying to enjoy the way the ground shifts underfoot.
   Alice is asking Humpty Dumpty to give her a run-down on 'the meaning of the poem called "Jabberwocky".' She asks about 'brillig', 'slithy', 'toves'. . .
    And then "mome raths"? said Alice. 'I'm afraid I'm giving you a great deal of trouble.'

   I've tried not to give anyone a great deal of trouble but it's taken me a while to get my head around some of the most basic things. For those of you wondering: The ABC of the eBook.

1. Someone writes a story (it could be you), and sends it to Rosa Mira Books in a Word document.
2. After the usual to and fro, the edited document is converted into a file format or framework eg ePub or PDF (portable document format), page-designed, and given an eye-catching cover. Now it's an ebook.
3. The ebook is made available on the Rosa Mira website in at least two file formats so the customer can choose the one that suits their ereader. Delivery to the buyer will be 'simple, instant and foolproof' (web designer's memo to himself).
4. The ereader is the physical device, whether a PC, iPhone, Kindle, iPad, Kobo, Copia . . . the list is growing and refining itself weekly. A couple are even available in NZ!
5. However some ereaders need a further 'interpreter', called an application or app. Of these ereaders, some (eg Kindle and Kobo) have the app built in; others don't (in which case Rosa Mira will instruct the customer on how to download the one they need).

There. Simple and penetrable. But of course there's more to everything than meets the eye.

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