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Amber Books on Padify

Testing out the app market has been approached by many small to medium size publishers with caution, following reports of high production costs and low returns.

There is, however, a new set of platforms emerging attempting to make the creation of interactive content for books as seamless as possible, with price structures to encourage even the smallest of publishers the chance to test the waters in what is still an uncertain market.

Padify aims to make it simple to remix existing content into book apps for any platform. It allows even the most non-technical of people to change layouts and publish easily, but also offers a production service for content owners if some hand-holding is needed to get the best results.

Amber Books is just one of many publishers looking to establish digital sales by repurposing backlist content and selling it via Apple’s Newsstand, with regularly updated digital magazines. Amber Books has recently teamed up with Padify on a Dinosaurs digital partwork, with users able to buy individual issues or purchase an ongoing subscription. New content will be published each fortnight.

Launching soon, Dinosaurs will be followed up with Ancients in their Own Words: The Greeks. Both are based on previously published books. Charles Catton from Amber Books explains:

“We published an Encyclopaedia of Dinosaurs back in 2008 – 448pp of content – which we’ve broken down into 24 issues all themed by type of dinosaur. Each one was a page laid out in a very formulaic way, so we knew we were going to be dealing with the same number and type of elements per entry. Of course, if the partwork is successful we can commission more content to extend it.”

Although price isn’t confirmed, it is likely to be either £1.99 or £2.99 and issues will be fortnightly.

Catton continues:

“It’s easier to use Padify for certain types of content, but we are not exclusively working with them. We have another project in the pipeline with them that works in a different way, but I believe in finding the right solution for the content (assuming the content is right for a digital market anyway) rather than fitting content into a particular solution. But the Padify platform is well executed and full of potential.”

Other products launching to help publishers gain a foothold in creating interactive content without having to pay for external digital production include PubCoder, runners up at CONTEC’s start up competition during Frankfurt Book Fair.

Italian startup PubCoder is an interactive publishing tool – a desktop app taking advantage of epub3 – and will enable writers and publishers to create interactive ebooks. The tool aims to help publishers and writers easily create digital and interactive books – you can recognize users’ gestures and connect them to animated effects: rotate, move, enlarge and reduce, shake, show and hide objects; create animations and behaviors, and combine them to match your taste. You can lay out all sorts of digital assets (images, texts, audio files, videos etc) and combine them to a wide variety of events and actions. They’ve already transformed over 200 ebooks and are definitely one to watch in the coming months.

This post first appeared on the Frankfurt Book Blog.

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