eBooks, also known as electronic books, are quickly replacing traditional books, and before we start mourning the loss of libraries everywhere, let’s look at the positives eBooks can bring to learning… instant publishing!
When I first started teaching English, I actually required my students to go through the publishing process of writing query letters, researching the market, dealing with rejection, etc. I found that once students realized they were writing for a “real” audience (not just their teacher or parent), they suddenly were incredibly motivated to not only write something meaningful, but they truly worked on the craft of writing, revising, and editing. The quality of my students’ writing, even my reluctant writers, went way up! (And, yes, a few students did get published in print magazines!)
Now fast-forward 15 years…the query letter has become obsolete. The barrier of editor and agent has disappeared. eBooks are just one of the ways students can instantly publish their writing for a global audience. Nice! In fact, there are a variety of ways students can create real books that anyone can read.
This iPad app, Book Creator, is incredible. It allows students to not only easily author an iBook, but they also can be creative with the graphic design. There’s a neat tutorial that walks students through the technical know-how, and then students can get busy designing their books and then publish it to iBooks to share with the world.
This computer app, iBooks Author, is a free download and allows students to create interactive books, complete with embedded video and other graphs, charts, and photos. Again, the app is intuitive and has a short tutorial for students to use. Once again, the students then publish to iBooks to share with the world.
Kindle Direct Publishing
So, unlike the first two options where students are limited to publishing only on iBooks, Amazon has a publishing program to create a book for the Kindle called Kindle Direct Publishing. This option would be ideal for longer short stories, research papers, or novellas. After the student has completed writing and revising their story in Word or Pages, they simply choose to export the document to a PDF format. Then they will need to enroll in the Kindle Direct Publishing program (free), and then go through the steps to upload their book.
Notes of Caution
- All of the above options are free to the student, as long as they intend on allowing others to download their books for free. If they are interested in selling their writing, they may have a small fee to enroll. While Amazon does not require an ISBN number to sell your book, iBooks does, and this costs $125.
- Instant publishing does not take away the time needed to complete the full writing process! In fact, it increases the need to brainstorm, write a first draft, revise the content, rewrite, edit, proofread, and finally arrive at a fully polished final draft.
- Remind students that although their writing is now virtual, it is still permanent and can be viewed by anyone and everyone – their parents, friends, strangers, college admissions, and future employers! So yes, they need to fully think out every word they publish!