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  • Constantly Publishing and Constantly Updating

    Our platform’s a work in progress—and it always will be. The only technology that’s ever ‘done’ is a technology that’s obsolete (insert lazy joke about the printing press here).  As new file types (ePub3, KF8) emerge, we’ll be adapting Vook to produce them quickly, and we constantly adjust to keep track of changes and updates in devices and reader apps.

    Everyday, our engineers push new code to our platform that improves the experience. But sometimes we have a bigger push than usual, with marked design changes, and we make sure to notify our users. Here’s a peek behind the curtain of Vook.com to show you some of the latest improvements to the platform.

    Easier eProduction

    We moved the Preview section over to the Build page. There’s no substitute for viewing your eBook on a device, and we want you to make sure you can quickly and easily see what you’re working on.

    Location-Based Troubleshooting

    Vook runs ePubcheck on your file and shows you exactly where the errors are in it. Custom code work or messy source files can both cause problems, but Vook makes it a snap to clean up any errors.

    The Zen of Done

    Creating final files is the last step. We’ve improved and streamlined the file creation page—and we can help you sell your eBook with Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble.

    Inside the Vook Beta

    Before posting more on cloud-based reading experiences, I wanted to give everyone a quick update on the Vook beta. Everyday, users are working in Vook and helping us identify issues we need to address. Our engineering queue is essentially a cue taken from our users — ha! (Like that? Wait til you read my Vook produced comic memoir!)

    Last week we fixed 48 issues that users caught — items ranging from Kindle file generation to adding the ability to delete projects.

    I wanted to share three recent achievements, especially user Diane Massad’s publishing success. Diane is a beta tester/author who worked in Vook to create her KidSKILLS Up and Over educational eBook, which she then released through Amazon. We love to see users creating and selling eBooks.

    New Fonts We realized today we’ve added 53 new fonts since the beginning of January, with many more on the way. New fonts help users create unique eBooks with our robust styling tool.

    Easier integration of multi-media It turns out that many users want to create video and audio enhanced eBooks. We’re the only platform that allows for the quick addition of these elements, but it takes a lot of fine-tuning to get the mechanism right. Users are helping us make the process more and more straightforward. Also, some of us can now launch second careers in video compression.

    We’ll be showing off addtional functionality around Digital Book World next week, so you’ll be hearing more soon. In the meantime, write me for further info on the beta or to share my extensive repertoire of engineering puns at Matthew@vook.com.

    Read-Along T.S. Elliot

    TS-Eliot2 As he probably did for many, T.S. Elliot inspired my love for poetry. Reading him twenty five years after struggling through the Wasteland in my parent’s copy of the Norton Anthology, I have new insight into his appeal. While some poets wrote about love or abstract art or the will or nature or romanticism, Eliot articulated a sensation everybody knows: Utter despair in the face of boredom. Before the oppressive office cubicle existed, Eliot wrote poems that instantly transported you into one that did not have an exit and was made of gray carpet.

    What does this have to do with digital publishing? Well — it’s the medium. Poetry can’t be rendered differently to make it more itself, but our reactions to it can be so varied they require other media to express. What Elliot’s poetry has made me feel I’ve always described as, “the feeling you get when you hear Eliot read it.”

    Eliot made a few recordings of the Wasteland. His voice is thin, reedy, and forlorn sounding. He puts a wistfulness into the recording that reinforces its melancholy. Ever since, I’ve read the Wasteland in Eliot’s voice in my head—which makes lines such as “we stopped in the colonnade/And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten./ And drank coffee, and talked for an hour” sound like a pessimist’s summary of the emptiness of life.

    I’ve always wanted to express this feeling to others and now I’m able to realize my dream with Vook: I’ve embedded audio of Elliot reading the Wasteland into an ePub of the poem, creating a read-along Wasteland experience in just a few minutes.

    With Vook, it’s easy to create audio and video enhanced eBooks—which means you can spread your vision of literary despair far and wide, and finally share the little voice in your head with everyone else in the world.

    See what I’m talking about: Get the free ePub here.


    Reading Gregory Cowles’ review of [Sic], a memoir by the composer Joshua Cody concerning his experience with cancer, chemo, cocaine, destructive relationships and insanity, I was pleasantly struck by two observations—1) that Cowles describes Cody, at 34, as a “young” composer and 2) that Cowles wished, “the book came embedded with MP3s in addition to its photos and paintings and scrap-paper notes.”

    With his sympathetic view of multi-media and youth, Cowles is my kind of reviewer — I was about to knock out an MP3 embedded version of [Sic]’s first chapter on Vook to get his attention before realizing that would be inappropriate, having permission from nobody and lacking the will to transcribe a chapter and embed a Cody clip just to show Cowles how quickly we can gild the lilly. Cowles wouldn’t know anyway, unless I video taped the thirty minute process of doing it — which would look more obsessive than impressive.

    “Gilding the lilly” isn’t a phrase I should use. ‘Lily gild’ is a grace note, enhancements can be essential. Our tool’s about making great looking eBooks, but when items like Cowles’ appear, or Diana Spiotta talks about film clips that could show up in Stone Arabia or I’m reading I Want My MTV and wondering what they’re talking about, it’s difficult not to think of what could be.

    People talk about the expense of enhanced, the time, the uncertainty if reader’s want the additions, but applying the rule of my own experience before we had Vook’s platform, I wonder how much is that it’s difficult. Enhancing eBooks takes time. Enhanced has been getting a poor notice creatively, on the other hand, it’s been too laborious a process and too complicated. There’s uncertainty–is it worth the time it takes to get it right?

    I used to edit film. A difference of a few frames could be crucial. One version was right, the other wrong. It made me think of the Platnoic ideal, that information and narrative had a perfect form, like Plato said chairs did. It didn’t seem like subtle editing distinctions would matter, but then they did.

    The only way to get film or writing to the right point is to shorten the distance between the creator and what they’re fiddling with. You have to be able to fiddle to the point of getting it acceptably-not-perfect. That can be tricky for the creatives who want to write books and, oh, add enhancements? Sure . . . but they don’t know HTML or how to create an ePub.

    So, enter Vook. So, easy audio and video additions. So, my wish that though we’re making a platform to create beautiful straight ebooks, everyone will come looking for what Gregory Cowles is talking about.

    And just a note — Cody’s music is hard to locate. I think this video on YouTube for Animal Kingdom (the crime movie, not something Geographical) represents it. Though it does demonstrate Cowles is wrong on one point — the music’s not jazzy, but long and a little mournful. It would be a perfect downbeat counterpoint to a clip of Cody explaining, as he mentions in the book, how to pronounce his name right.


    We sent an update about Vook to our beta registrants yesterday (hi, all of you!) and the response was overwhellming. People are excited about getting into the platform! And we’re excited to give it to you! I’m getting back to the individual requests today and tomorrow, so I appreciate your patience if you wrote me. If you haven’t heard about what we’re up to, I’ll recap the highlights below.

    And if you haven’t joined the Vook beta, go do it now and get in on the world’s best, greatest, most enjoyable, forthcoming easy eBook creation machine.

    From the email

    Vook helps people easily create exceptional digital books, distribute them to the major marketplaces, and track their sales. Our cloud-based experience allows creators anywhere to access the tool, as well as share files and ideas with other colleagues, authors and partners.

    We’ve produced more than 800 eBooks with the battle-tested Vook technology — resulting in 2.5 million downloads. With your content and the Vook platform, you’ll have everything you need to create, store and sell large catalogues of digital masterpieces.

    The Vook platform is more than technology — it’s a distinctive production and social experience for eBook creators. Inside the platform, Vook’s “Love & Support” feature provides one click access to a community of people who are immersed in the world of eBook creation, 24/7. The community also offers an extensive library of eBook expertise with hundreds of documents, videos tutorials, sample eBook covers, CSS templates, and links to countless resources to help you along the way.

    If technology is about solving problems — Vook delivers.

    When we studied the digital market, we discovered publishers were getting the job done, but it was painful and expensive with considerable opportunity costs managing the back and forth with multiple vendors, a range of processes, a variety of technologies and a hodge-podge of reporting inputs. As one publisher said, “We have learned to live with it, but frankly it is a mess”.

    Vook’s primary focus is to stop the hassle of creating eBooks. We identified the pain points and are delivering the solution. Here are some of the features and benefits you can expect with Vook:

    • Everyone wants an easy way to control quality and better manage their workflow. Improved authoring tools and push button publishing capabilities have become essential. Publishers are hungry for real time QA, and a dashboard to analyze sales and behavior results.
    • File conversion is another thorny issue we’ve worked hard to solve. In our new platform, we offer a quick and easy way to import Word and ePub documents, videos, images, and even audio files. Vook converts it all on the fly and enables you to edit the style and formatting.
    • We are also introducing an innovative, built-in styling tool allowing publishers to take eBook aesthetics from boring and ordinary to vibrant and extraordinary.
    • Real time title rendering lets you see your eBook the way it will look in ePub—allowing you to create and review at the same time, in the same place.
    • Ultimately, publishers and authors must sell their eBooks and Vook’s ability to distribute to the major digital marketplaces makes this part a cinch. Vook allows distribution to B&N, Amazon, and the iBookstore.

    The vision at Vook from the beginning has been to create better eBooks. We listened and worked with publishers to determine what we needed to do to achieve that vision. We produced hundreds of titles ourselves and with our partners. Then we took all that knowledge and gave it to our awesome product and engineering team to build a one-of-a-kind eBook publishing platform.

    Again, sign up for the beta to get in on the special opportunities I only offer in the emails. You can sign up here: http://vook.com

    Matthew Cavnar

    Vook Heads to Book Expo America

    Greetings Vook Fans,

    I am really excited here in Vook New York City as I start gearing up for Digital Book 2024 and Book Expo America — the largest publishing trade show in North America — next week down the street at the Javits Convention Center, which is guaranteed to be a great time. Don’t be shy and make sure you stop by Kiosk 2311 in the Digital Zone to say “hi” and pick up some special download cards from me. Also, you’ll want to follow my live Tweeting by reading the @vooktv stream.

    Be sure to mark your calendars to check out our Vook speakers at the conferences:

    Monday, May 23
    Digital Book 2024 at the Javits Convention Center
    Rooms 1e02-04
    4:30 – 5:15 pm
    The Future of Digital Reading and the Business of Digital Publishing

    Vook founder and CEO Brad Inman will be speaking on a panel along with Peter Balis of John Wiley & Sons and Masaaki Hagino and Daihei Shiohama of Voyager Japan.

    About: Interactivity and rich-media enhanced eBooks are increasingly expected. Social reading and transmedia “storytelling” are emerging trends. Borders between books and periodicals are breaking down as content gets liberated from the constraints of traditional packagings. What are the business implications?

    Wednesday, May 25
    Book Expo America at the Javits Convention Center
    2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
    IDPF Digital Stage
    Matthew Cavnar, Head of Product Development at Vook, will be discussing the scalable creation of digital content, distribution to multiple marketplaces and how technology platforms can solve the problems publishers face in digital today.

    See you next week,

    Social Media Marketing Manager


    Vook Facebook Giveaways

    If you haven’t already Liked us on Facebook, please make sure you follow us there for exclusive thank-yous to our fans on a weekly basis.

    Vook Does Deep Flow Yoga

    Yoga and pilates expert David Moreno has trained world-class athletes, coached the 2024/2008 Olympics U.S. Men’s Swim Team and has been featured in a number of notable publications, such as LA Yoga Magazine. Now, he has brought his concept of Deep Flow Yoga to life in his new Vook series.

    “Yoga allows us to move outside of fear and anxiety and brings us fully into the present moment where everything is usually all right,” he said. “It can help take us out of our clinging to the past and our fantasies about the future and connect us to the peace, which is always present no matter how much is going on around or inside of us.”
    His series features engaging text and instructional videos revolving around Deep Flow Yoga, which he said was developed out of a preference for a fluid asana practice without bringing up excessive heat in both body and mind — thus preventing dehydration, exhaustion and the ambitious nature that arises in aerobic-oriented yoga.

    “Healthy Backs: Deep Flow Yoga” is available in the iTunes App Store. The other two titles in the series are available to download from inside the app.

    The first Vook, “Healthy Backs,” shows different poses, such as Tortoise Pose, Animal Relaxation Pose and Himalayan Forward Bend throughout eight chapters. Readers can also learn about energy invocation and chanting.

    “The greatest pose, the most favorite posture of position becomes the one I am doing,” he said. “Each posture has its own signature, both in feeling and in energy, and when I open to that experience within each pose then I fall in love with it, even when it’s challenging or mind boggling.”

    For those who are new to practicing yoga, David said to have self-acceptance, patience and compassion. He said he started down his yoga path once he stopped dancing professionally.

    “Finding a good teacher was challenging in the late 70s even in a city like Los Angeles, and when I did find one it was a commitment to driving up to an hour to study,” he said.

    David now teaches yoga classes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

    Exciting new deal with Hay House!

    Vook is pleased to announce a new deal with the publisher Hay House that will allow Hay House to produce hundreds of enhanced e-books across multiple platforms with Vook’s MotherVook technology engine.

    MotherVook has enabled Vook to create more than 150 of its own titles, which it is now extending to other publishers, allowing them to scale enhanced e-book creation.

    A digital publishing platform, MotherVook converts disparate and varied file formats; combines text, video and images; manages the content and distributes it to multiple platforms, including the iPhone, iPad, iBookstore, Amazon Kindle Application and Android marketplaces.

    Long a leading force in the world of personal improvement, Hay House is now the first publisher in the marketplace to utilize the innovative Vook technology platform. With more than 56 million books sold in North America and more than 250 million books sold worldwide, Hay House is the leading global publisher of inspirational self-help titles, working with authors such as Dr. Wayne W. Dyer and Jorge Cruise, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller the “Belly Fat Cure.”

    Please stop by table 404 at Tools Of Change today and tomorrow to pick up an information sheet answering questions about MotherVook and to see Vook’s enhanced e-books in action! If you’re unable to join us, you can e-mail your questions about this exciting technology opportunity to Head of Acquisitions Matt Cavnar at matthew@vook.com.

    Vook is a happy camper!

    Vook had a fantastic time at Book Camp 2: The Return of Book Camp yesterday! We enjoyed a lot of discussions about open platforms, design for enhanced e-books in the editorial stages, and work flow management for digital products. We couldn’t walk anywhere without hearing about apps, digital product development, e-book marketing and technology advancements. And we apologize for eating some of the gobstoppers, we didn’t realize those were probably not Book Camp intended.

    We also enjoyed connecting with a lot of notable figures in the publishing space, such as Sharon Cordesse (sales manager for conferences) from O’Reilly Media, Brett Sandusky (director of production innovation) from Kaplan Publishing , and Matt Schwartz (director of digital strategy and business development) from Random House.

    As usual, it was a pleasure to see Ami Greko keeping the pieces in place and to hear Guy Gonzales drop some knowledge on how to build a sustainable social community.

    Make sure you come visit us this week at Tools Of Change and say, “hi!”

    Have a Vook week!

    ePublishing Made Easy

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