Here is something interesting for all of us iBooks authors. Bookry offers numerous services for authors of iBooks who are using the iBooks Author app as an authoring tool. These services range from online bookstores, ebook templets, variety of high-quality interactive widgets, bookstore, book and widget analytics, live widget updates, full interactivity with readers and much more. In this post we will cover some of these services and hopefully it will help you make your ebooks more appealing to your readers.
Before you can utilize all the benefits of Bookry services you have to create an account at their website. Having an account really means you can start writing your book using plethora of services they offer. Creating an account is free and takes just couple of minutes to do. With a free account you can do everything we will be describing in this post. It is important to note that Bookry also offers different pricing models in case you want to customize some aspects of the services they offer. You can find out more at this link.
When you login to your Bookry account you will be presented with an authors dashboard from where you can start creating a new book by selecting the My BookShelf menu item. You will be presented with a bookshelf with books you are reading and books you are writing. Basically, books you are reading shelf shows cover pages of the books you have selected from the public Bookry bookstore called Gallery or from any of the private bookstores you have subscribed to. You can download these books and read them on your iPad device using iBooks app. On the other hand, bottom shelf lists all the books you are creating. Of course when you login for the first time this shelf will be empty with one big plus sign for creating a new book. You can start creating a new book in two more ways – first from Authors Tools menu and second from complementary Mac app Bookry Uploader. This last option can be used when you have created a book using iBooks Author app on your Mac.
Creating a Book
Every book you are creating has its own settings panel where you can add more details about your book, add widgets, preview your book, see analytics about your bookstore and book itself, etc. At this point you can add book description, add tags to increase its discoverability in the book store, and define the book layout – portrait or landscape. From this same page you can publish book once it is ready for your readers. Publishing can be done in your private or public stores within the Bookry web site.
Probably one of the most interesting features of the Bookry services is their offering of interactive book widgets. List of widgets is constantly growing and at this point you can choose among 15 different widgets. All widgets are free even for commercial use. You pay for widgets only if you want to remove Bookry logo. You can add each widget more than once in each book. By default if you haven’t signed for one of the paid plans you can add widgets, but they will have Bookry logo when expanded to the full screen on your iPad. If you want to add your own branding to each of the widgets you can select one of the paid plans. When you click on the Add Widget button you are presented with a list of available widgets. You can add a widget by clicking on it. In our case we have selected Image Explorer widget.
Having in mind that you can have multiple widgets of the same type added to your book, you should give a name to each widget you are using. Every widget has its settings page as well as its analytics page. Depending on the widget, settings page can require different options to set. You can see that you can define static and live settings for a widget. In our example we can define is the widget targeting landscape of portrait iBook page, what will be the widget cover image that will be displayed in the book for readers to launch the widget, and what will be the image to explore. In our example we have named our widget Guitar Explorer and added cover image and image to explore showing a guitar.
Depending on the widget, live settings can require more information to add for each widget. For example, some widgets, such as a Sketchpad widget allows readers to draw within the book and than send the finished sketch or painting to their email address. In our case, we just had to add a widget title that will be presented on the screen of the iPad when user expands the widget in iBooks app.
When you are done defining widget settings you should click the Save button and after that you can download the widget. Widget will be downloaded in *.wdgt file format ready for importing into the book you are creating using iBooks Author. The following screenshot shows a book page with two widgets added – our guitar explorer and sliding puzzle game widget.
As we’ve mentioned, number of widgets available from Bookry is constantly growing. The following screenshots are taken from book sample that you can download at this link.
Once you have your book finished and all the widgets incorporated you can upload finished book to Bookry site. This is of course optional step but will allow you to offer your book in private or public bookstores you create at Bookry.com. Of course, you can opt not to offer your book through this service. You can publish it on iBooks store or simply offer it on your own website or blog or through some other online ebook store.
To upload your book to Bookry site you will use free Bookry Uploader app that is available for download on Bookry web site. This Mac app allows you to upload your *.iba file created using iBooks Author.
Bookry is also announcing their iPad book reader app that will allow readers to access private and public bookstores hosted at Bookry.com. I can see this book distribution channel very promising especially for educational textbooks.
When you upload your book you can preview it directly on the Bookry website. The following screenshot shows previewing of our guitar explorer widget.
Book and Widget Analytics
One of the most interesting features of the Bookry service is analytics. Bookry collects stats on your bookstores, books and each widget within your books. From your account dashboard you can see and analyze who and from where is downloading and reading your books. Stats for bookstore also show the format of your books that readers are downloading – iba, ibooks or PDF. Book and widget stats also provide time distribution per month, week or day of readers reading your book. On that way you can determine which books and widgets your readers like the most.
If you want to offer your books in private or public bookstores you can select Manage my stores menu item from Authors Tools menu. Initially you will see an empty list of bookstores.
For each store you are creating you can define variety of settings including bookstore name, banner and cover image, etc.
In addition, you can control access to your bookstore. It can have a public or private access (by subscription). You can also allow others to add their own books into your bookstore.
Finally, you should add a book to your bookstore. This is done from book dashboard. Once book is added to the bookstore, you will see that the number of books in your bookstore has changed.
In this post we have tried to describe services offered to prospective iBooks authors from Bookry. In addition to their website you can also visit their support site (see the following image) that has FAQ and forum. For quick overview of their services you can also watch a video at this link.
Finally a disclaimer – iCanDoBetter is not in any way related to the company behind Bookry services. We simply enjoy using their services and hope you will find them useful for your own iBooks publishing activities. If you ask me what I would like them to change or improve I have some ideas. Mostly these ideas are related to additional widgets they could offer or how they can improve some of the existing widgets. For example sketchpad widget is nice, but not so easy to use.