Last week after I and ten others released The Super Book of Web Tools for Educators I received a handful of emails asking either how I built the page-turning effects into the ebook or why I chose to use a 3rd party to host the ebook. I figure if a handful of people were curious enough to email me about it, there are probably others who are also curious about the same questions. I choose to use 3rd party services to host the ebooks I publish so that I can track how many times they’re viewed and downloaded. The other reason I use 3rd party services to host the ebooks is because I like having the option of displaying the ebooks with page-turning effects. Here are the services I’ve used to host my ebooks and some others that you might consider using.
Document sharing services I’m currently using.
Issuu, like Yudu, offers the option to display your documents with page-turning effects. You can embed your documents with those effects into your blog or website. Issuu also offers a “bookshelf” widget that you can embed into your blog or website to display previews of multiple documents. You can see the Issuu bookshelf widget in the right hand column of Free Technology for Teachers.
DocStoc and Scribd are similar services that can best be described as YouTube for documents. You cannot create documents within either service rather you have to upload documents created with your preferred word processing program. Both services accept all of the common Microsoft formats, Open Office and Neo Office formats, and PDFs. Once you’ve uploaded your document it will be assigned a url and given an embed code. You can use the embed code to feature your documents on your blog or website. DocStoc and Scribd don’t offer page-turning effects like Yudu and Issuu offer.
Tools for building ebooks from scratch.
One word of caution about My Ebook, you might not want to let your students browse the library of ebooks without supervision. I didn’t see anything that was explicitly bad (the terms of service forbid that type of content) but there is some material that you might not want middle school students accessing.
Simple Booklet offers free online booklet creation and publishing. To create a book using Simple Booklet just sign-up for a free account and click create. Select the layout template that suits your needs. To add content click anywhere on the blank canvas and a menu of options will appear. You can add text, images, audio files, videos, and links to each page of your booklet.
Each page of your Simple Booklet can have multiple elements on it. To include videos you can upload your own files or select from a variety of provides including SchoolTube, TeacherTube, YouTube, and others. To add audio to your pages you can upload your own files or again select from the online hosts Last.fm, Sound Cloud, or Mix Cloud. When you’re done building pages in your Simple Booklet you can share it online by embedding it into a webpage or you can share the unique link generated for your booklet.