Friday, November 15, 2013

What is a book?

Carl Sagan, Astronomer (original photo here)
“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made

 from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of

 funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside

 the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for

thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is 

speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. 

Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding

 together people who never knew each other, citizens of 

distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is 

proof that humans are capable of working magic.” ― Carl Sagan

Children's Book Trends 2013

As we approach the end of 2013, what trends can we see in the world of children's books? What does the future hold for 2014? Are ebooks sales reaching a plateau? Will apps & ebooks merge into yet another new kind of hybrid? How did predictions hold up & do they even matter? Here's what I'm reading as I create my digital strategy for 2014:

Slide decks from Dominique Raccah, Independent Publisher & CEO of Sourcebooks. 

You can find Dominique Raccah on twitter here.

Slides from Kristen Mclean's keynote speech at TOC Bologna 2013.


Kristen McLean is the founder and CEO of Bookigee, an innovative tech startup for the publishing industry that connects authors & content creators, publishers, and consumers.


What trends did you see emerge? Do you follow trends? 
Let's chat about it on twitter: @cynthiajabar 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Robot Turtles: Teaching Kids To Code

Robot Turtles is the most backed board game in Kickstarter history. Dan Shapiro invented the game to teach his kids to program a computer, "the single greatest superpower" he could give them. Shapiro goes on to say,
"I made Robot Turtles so that my kids could learn programming basics without needing a computer. In fact, they don't even need to be able to read!I've been told that this would never sell in the toy aisle.  I've shown it to board game designers and manufacturers; they told me this would never work on store shelves. Learning programming just sounds too complicated. But I disagree.  I think programming can be as simple as playing with these four turtles."
Turtle Robot Board Game, invented by Dan Shapiro 
Find out about the Robot Turtle board game on Kickstarter here. 
Visit the Robot Turtles website here.
Read about  the first Turtle Robot developed by Seymour Papert at MIT here.
This was Valiant’s first product and was probably the most successful Turtle robot.  Designed by Dave Catlin in 1983 the Valiant Turtle was included in the Best of British Design and Photography published in 1987 by the Design Council.  It was produced until 2011. (from


This Board Game Aims To Teach Preschoolers How To Code, Elise Hu, NPR
Seattle dad Strikes Gold With Board Game That teaches Basics Of Code, Monica Guzman, Seattle Times
Want To Learn The World's Most Powerful Language?, Monica Guzman, Seattle Times

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kindle Comic Creator: Another Way To Create Fixed Layout Ebooks

"Comics and graphic novels are among the fastest growing content categories in the Kindle Store."- Amazon

Earlier this year Amazon released a free tool called Kindle Comic Creator that does just that - allows authors and publishers to create multi panel comics, graphic novels & photo/illustration books without knowing HTML/CSS. This is great news for artists and publishers.

I agree with Ben Zachheim, the Kindle Comic Creator "is a big deal" because of MATCHBOOK a "program that offers customers who purchase, or have previously purchased, a print book from the option to purchase the Kindle version of that title for $2.99 or less." If the publisher created the ebook first, then they could create the print version of the book using Amazon's CreateSpace. This is REALLY interesting for independent publishers. Which comes first, ebook or print book? Will this make publishers more creative with their publication dates? 

If you want to try out the tool, R. Scot Johns gives a great analysis here.

You can download Kindle Comic Creator here & the Kindle Comic Creator User Guide here.

Kindle Your Comics-A Guide To Amazon's New Comic Creator
The Challenge Blog: Kindle Comic Book Creator
Get Ready for Amazon to Cyber - Punch the Comic Book Industry
Photo Novels How To With Kindle Comic Creator
Creating Fixed Layout Ebooks For Kids