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July 11, 2010 / Richard Smart

A work in progress

So, a few days ago I posted about ambitions to make an e-book. So far, it has been a confusing ride – and all from the tech side. What has happened is that we have been told the project is too ambitious, gone to a book fair, and then found a company that may be willing to publish for us on a commission only basis if we release.

Here is a list of the problems, presented to us by a programmer:

  • We would need a server.
  • The programming is complex and also on a relatively new platform.
  • Those who have already learned how to make apps would charge for services, those looking to learn would likely put up an app full of bugs.

However, during a trip to the Tokyo Book Fair we were able to find a possible short-term solution through a company called Founder. They seem to be offering full tech support in exchange for 40 percent of any revenue from sales of the e-book. They seem to realise this is part of a much longer-term project and look like an outfit that will bend over backwards to help us.

So it seems the book project is all systems go.

I’m still in the process of writing, and have set up an interview with one analyst for next week to get their perspective on the election. Hopefully, I’ll be reporting back in a couple of days with a lot more progress made.


Leave a Comment
  1. takaaki / Jul 11 2010 7:37 pm

    Why don’t you use an existing publishing services?

    How is the ebook different than a PDF? If you have a writing on the web and have a “Save as PDF” liink, what’s the difference?

    Do you want to make money on that? Have you tried Flattr?

    Do you consider epub format as one of the ebook formats?

    Do you have the ability to do the cover and some important decisions (styles, page structure)?

    Are you sure about what you can do with PDF/epub, and what you cannot do with PDF/epub? Are you planning to make an interactive book with embedded videos or something?

  2. Richard Smart / Jul 11 2010 8:08 pm

    Founder is an existing publishing service.

    As to other questions, basically we aren’t really sure what the end product this time will look like, and are expecting to make no money off it. It will more than likely be a crude first attempt that hopefully leads to better things.

    In the future, we would like to build apps that combine traditional journalism with embedded video, audio files and anything else that would add value to things published for iPads etc.

    And thanks for the Flattr tip – that looks interesting.

  3. Rick Martin / Jul 12 2010 12:05 am

    Takaaki raises good questions, as usual. Perhaps a Tokyo Election iPad-friendly site would be a good place to start?

  4. Richard Smart / Jul 12 2010 12:15 am

    I think the next election that would be great. For now though, the project is looking pretty mammoth. I’m plodding on with the essay and hopefully as next week goes on we can start laying that out and interviewing people for their perspectives on certain issues and by Thursday have an idea of what we are going to do with the content.

    If we can do video and other multimedia content this time round, I would be stoked. But for now I am just pushing ahead with the essay and seeing what happens. I booked time with one analyst yesterday and hope to get more people (at least five) as the week plods on.

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