Donny Claxton Speaks At Central Texas Learning and Technology Summit

Oct 14, 2013 by

Donny Claxton Speaks At Central Texas Learning and Technology Summit 

Friday, Oct. 11, 2013, I had the privilege of presenting during the Austin and San Antonio Chapter ASTD conference entitled the Central Texas Learning and Technology Summit.

The focus was on mobile learning and the technologies that make it all work.

My presentation, after more than 20 months of use of iBooks Author and building eBooks as well, was about eBooks and Books For iPad: what one can do with them and how to make them.

A copy of my presentation is available for download from a public link on Dropbox. If you have an iPad, you’ll need to download the file first to your computer and then load it into iTunes before syncing it to your iPad.  (And of course, you must be running at least iOS 5.1 and have iBooks 3.)

Donny Claxton speaking in San Antonio during an ASTD conference on mobile learning.

Donny Claxton speaking in San Antonio during an ASTD conference on mobile learning.

Even I was amazed at some of the presentations and developments taking place in the world of mobile apps and technologies. It’s inspiring to see some things that we only could have dreamed about a few years ago are quickly coming to fruition and even are already behind the curve, even though they’re likely still very much ahead of most.

George Saltsman from Abilene Christian University, who helped lead us into the development of books for iPad also spoke about changes that are coming in the pedagogy of education, while Dr. Robbie Melton from the University of Tennessee’s Board Regents showed off some amazing new gadgets and apps that are changing the workforce around the world.

FROM MY PRESENTATION, you will see a discussion about many of the amazing widgets and products we’ve built for books for iPad and a healthy discussion about whether or not we should even continue to call these products “books.” Also discussed are some of the variations and differences in this emerging field of technology, like the difference between EPUB 2.0.1 and EPUB 3.0 and what those two things mean to someone trying to decide on an eReader or an author trying to figure out which platform they should be publishing their materials on.

After my presentation, I was flooded with requests for more information, business cards and LinkedIn requests.

If you have any questions about how to make an eBook in EPUB or an interactive book for the iPad using 3D animations, movies, interactive timelines, puzzles and more, please reach out and let me know.

 

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What Book Did You Read Last? How’d you choose it?

May 8, 2013 by

What Book Did You Read Last? How did you choose it?

How did you pick the last book you read?

How did you pick the last book you read?

The last book I read was John Ed Mathison’s When God Redefines the Possible, soon to be released for Kindle, Nook and iPad.  Today I was given a stack of books to read by a potential client. Yeah, that makes me a little different than most people. So how do you go about picking what to read next?

This past weekend I was going through some of the Lynda.com courses on e-Books etc. and stumbled on a reminder to do some connecting of other sites to GoodReads.com.  On their site I noticed a number of surveys they’ve been conducting.  Now these numbers aren’t scientific in nature–there is a huge non respondent biased, not to mention the vast universe of people out there who don’t go to the GoodReads.com website. But of the thousands who have answered the questions, the responses are quite interesting.

So how do most people who use GoodReads.com say they picked the last book they read? Well, actually, just like I did today. A friend said “Here, take a look at these.”  Most often there’s a different dialogue associated with such, I realize. “Hey, have you read…?”

Nearly 14,000 votes fell off to the next answer–they got the tips from GoodReads.com itself.

Seven-thousand more down in responses fell off to the third most popular answer–people found things in their bookstore.  Even fewer found them in a library. Just a few less relied on Amazon.  And then there’s the searing slap on the work of publicists–only 6 percent said they read a book because they saw something about it in the news media. Blogs didn’t do much better. Best seller recommendations were way down on the list, too.

So how do you pick a book to read?

 

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The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

May 7, 2013 by

The Print To eBook Conversion–A New Way To Look At ‘Books’

At Claxton Creative here in Dallas, we’ve done a number of print to e-Book and iBooks Author-generated conversions and one thing becomes immediately clear throughout this process–the print to e-Book conversion process shouldn’t be a matter of just replacing the print copy into digitized form.  No, it should be much, much more.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

eBook v. iBooks Author

On top of that, we take things a step further than most competitors we’ve seen online.  Yes, the EPUB formatted book can be read on many more devices than those built with iBooks Author, which only work on iPad and iPad mini.  However, the functionality of a book made with iBooks Author versus one in an EPUB 2.0.1 or even the “new” EPUB 3 format leave a world of difference in between.

We’d like to bang someone in the marketing department at Apple over the head for their lack in marketing the difference between the two. In the video below even, we’ve shown you the contrast between 3D imagery in an EPUB 3 book and that of Dr. Mark Van Stone’s 2012: Science & Prophecy of the Ancient Maya.  As we like to say, a book for iPad made with iBooks Author is like being in a museum where you’re supposed to touch everything.  Using 3D in an EPUB is like trying to play ping pong on a 1970s Atari on a black and white TV.  (Sorry Atari, but that’s pretty accurate. For clarification purposes, Atari was ahead of the time then.  EPUB 3 isn’t.)

Working With Print Authors

We often are approached by print authors who are ready to make a digital book and our first question to them is how much video do you want to add to your book?  We ask that knowing that our recommendation to them truly is going to be to make a book for iPad because the functionality, the file size, just the look is so much more alive and vivid than anything we have yet to see on a Kindle or Nook.  We have a potential client we’re trying to help understand this concept as she wants to do a series of YouTube videos and put them on a website for free. It’s our recommendation that instead they be added to a book for iPad because it will help make the book even more spectacular than what we already are talking about.

Besides, why give something away for free when there’s going to be high production costs and, more importantly, you can include it in your book for iPad and make some money back from it?!?!

Are You Wanting To Convert From Print to Digital?

If you’re ready to convert your book there are a series of questions you should be asking yourself.

  • What visuals can I add to my book to make it come alive?  This means video and still, hi-res pics.
  • Your book (for iPad) should include video. What videos could we shoot for your book to add a dimension that is presently missing?
  • What interactive charts or graphs would you like to include in your book that your printer said would cost too much to print and they didn’t want to expend the extra pages to include? We can do that on one page now, at a high resolution and they can be very cool.
  • What website pages would you like to have embedded in your book and let your readers visit without ever leaving your book?
  • If you could add digital magic to your book, what would you like to add?

If you know the answers to some or all of those questions, then we’d like to talk to you about making a book for iPad, and of course, doing an EPUB version.  Yes, more people will be able to get your book from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but the one they get off Apple’s iBookstore will be the one that will make most people’s mouth’s drop and want to know what you can do next.

Let’s talk.

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The Realities of the Current Social Media Trend–Write An eBook

Mar 9, 2013 by

The Current Social Media Trend–Write An eBook

Back in 2006 or 2007 when I began my blog with the now defunct, dadscenter.org, I had a mission to become one of the best and most prolific dad bloggers on the Net. When Twitter came along I was one of the early adopters and remember thinking how amazing it was that in no time, I had 300 followers. Then 600. Then 1,000….  Today I have 12,773 followers, most of whom I have zero time to regularly engage on @DaddyClaxton and another 1,700 on @ClaxtonCreative that are a challenge to regularly interact with as well. (Don’t forget to follow me!)

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de...

English: A Picture of a eBook Español: Foto de eBook Беларуская: Фотаздымак электроннай кнігі Русский: Фотография электронной книги (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then came the trend to jump on Facebook and have your tweets going straight to your Facebook wall. People got tired really fast about seeing everything you tweeted on your Facebook wall.  Oh, then came the need to have a Facebook Business Page. (Don’t forget to LIKE us while you’re here.

Then came Google +. (Join my circles!)

In between all that came the Mommy Blogger craze, and in 2010, many of us dads started saying, “Hey, we buy stuff, too,” and so we had the dad blogger phase.

With the advancement of each new platform has come the hype and the craze. “YOU CAN GET RICH IMMEDIATELY DOING (insert name of latest new thing!!!!)

But as Ted Murphy pointed out at the Modern Media Man conference in Atlanta in September 2010, the precious few who are going to get struck by lightning and make millions having a blog, using Twitter, using Facebook, having a Facebook Business Page, having a Google + community going, etc. etc. and etc. are just that.  A precious few.

That’s not a throwing in the towel of admission, it’s just the factual reality of all this and if you’re one of those precious few, congratulations.  if you’re not, I encourage you to never give up.  But it’s clear the latest trend is here and that’s what this post really was intended to be about.

The Latest Trend–Write an eBook

And so it goes, the latest trend clearly on the Net is to write an eBook, self-publish it, and ride away to prosperity and peace and comfort.

Again, we’re not discouraging the practice, we just want to temper that with some practical common sense, which seems to be lacking in the blasts of trumpeting this latest, newest, easiest and most important phase–(again, like in all other previous phases.)

Writing an ebook  or regular book, for that matter, is a time-consuming and a time-honored practice. There is/was a reason why so many manuscripts were sent to print publishers that never got printed throughout the course of time. They just weren’t going to sell in the long run and the publisher didn’t want to take a risk in publishing something that was not going to sell.

Now as an individual, yes, many out there just have this incredible desire to part with their wisdom knowing convincingly that what they have to say is going to be something some massive numbers of people have been sitting around waiting to be published throughout the course of human history. You probably know that from the long line of people who stand at your front door or office door each day waiting for you to make your next prolific statement about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What? They’re not there?

Now, again, don’t read that as a negative, just read it as a practical point. If you undertake the process to write an ebook, it’s going to take a lot of time, effort and sacrifice. Ultimately, you may not make any money at all from the process and unless you are one of the precious few, that’s likely to be the case.

On top of that, 10,000 other people are going to be releasing their new ebook on the same day as yours, (remember, this is a wide-open trend at the moment) and you are going to be in that mix.

How are you going to market your book? Who is going to buy it? How are you going to get it to them?  The odds are that the 10,000 other people who publish their ebook on the same day as yours aren’t going to buy your book that day.  They’re going to be focused on one thing–trying to get the other 999,998 people involved to buy it, and those people are going to be like you and the one other….

There are dozens of questions to ponder, but seriously, before you even get down to that, recognize the “write an ebook” trend for what it is.  We’ve been here with blogging, Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Business Pages, Google +, (you could throw in Instagram, Pinterest, and several others I can’t even remember the names of at the moment) and we’re here again with the premise of “write an ebook.”

In a few months, it’s going to be something else…. Just wait.  You’ll see.

CLAXTON CREATIVE

We feel comfortable writing this piece because the focus of our work isn’t on the production of eBooks. No, our work is in interactive books for iPad that include video, 3D animations, interactive widgets and much more. There’s a huge difference and that’s where we see the future of books going.  To us it seems so many are focused on getting a version of some prose published for Kindle or Nook.  We see that as a huge, tactical mistake. 

 

 

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Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

Mar 2, 2013 by

Press Club of Dallas Book For iPad–Making the $$ Work

press club dcAttached is the link to my book for iPad, which was my presentation to the Press Club of Dallas on March 2, 2013.  Feel free to download the book. Once it’s on your desktop, drop it into iTunes and then sync your iPad.  The file is about 130 MBs so it will take a few minutes to download.  To use on your iPad, you will need at least iOS 5.1 and iBooks 2.

 

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