Here’s something I’ve been working on in shifts for the last few weeks. I’ve long wanted to make the journal of my seven-week trip around New Zealand in 2008 available as an ebook and… Well, now it is.
Sure, it’s been online as a blog for some years, and that was fine, but ever since I recently got hold of a Sony Reader – and more recently, a Kindle – I’ve been obsessed with ebooks, and how they are put together.
Reading stuff by the likes of Craig Mod, Paul Carr and so on has made me rather interested in the possibilities of digital publishing, and how best to harness the potential of the medium. And, since I needed a sort of guinea pig project to try and apply some of these rules to, the ~12,000 words or so of my 2008 NZ journal seemed like a good-sized portion of text to try and squirt onto a Kindle.
Given that the original idea of putting those words online was to take advantage of the medium and include photographs, the same has applied with the Kindle version: I’ve really been quite impressed by what e-ink displays can handle as far as image clarity goes. It does require thinking through (and, in some cases, trial and error) to see which images work (read: most) and which don’t.
But the short story is: I’m happy with how it looks, I’ve always been quite happy with the content itself, and I’ve always been keen to have the text floating around on various media. So, now it’s available on Kindle.
It’s the full ~12,000-word text, transcribed verbatim from my handwritten journal at the time, and each of the almost 50 daily entries is accompanied by a photograph from that day. It all looks quite nice.
Ah – yes. It’s £0.81p Or $0.99c. Etc.
When I entered into this whole project I just thought, “I’ll go through the rigmarole of converting the text to Kindle format, then just list it for free – see what happens.”
Turns out you can’t.
As far as I can see, you have to set a price, although, as part of some promotional programme or other, you can set it as free for 5 days in a 90-day period.
So it’s not free, annoyingly. Not at the moment, at least.
But it is cheap. And, well, I think it’s a pretty nice little package, so hopefully some other people will feel that way too.
We’ll see. Anyway, this is just a note to say: hey, cool, I have a book available to purchase on Amazon (.com, .co.uk, etc etc), and I’m kind of pleased with that.
And, because of how ace the Kindle platform is, it’s also available on loads of other devices than just the e-ink hardware Kindles. It’s available via their apps on iOS, Android, or just in your browser on a computer.
And there’s an added bonus: because the images are still encoded in colour, they appear as such on a device capable of displaying it.
Here’s a Kindle side-by-side with an iPhone:
So that’s about it really. I might write a few words in the near future about the process. It was a little convoluted on account of me only spending an hour here and there on it, but it feels like it’s been worth it. I’ve learnt a lot, and at the end of it all, I have A Thing to show for it. An intangible, digital Thing, but A Thing.
The irony is, now that the text is all formatted nicely, it’s easier than ever for me to order a printed copy – which I might just do, to treat myself.
Paul Capewell’s New Zealand Journal 2008 is available now on Amazon.