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23-04-2014 -  Niermala B. Timmers

Future of the cover.

What are eBooks?
eBooks are basically almost the same as printed books, the only difference is the medium. For a traditional printed book the medium is paper. On the other hand, is an eBook a digital representation of the printed material (printed book). The medium can vary from a laptop/computer to digital eReader, PDA, smart phone, or even through a desktop printer on traditional paper. The content is usually available in PDF or HTML format, but it could also be plain texts or XML formats, which makes the content much more multidimensional and flexible than the traditional printed book. These features enable eBooks to be fully indexed.[1] This means that the content of the book can be systematic arranged. These entries are designed to enable users to locate information in a document, for example headings and subheadings or curtain keywords.[2]
The ocean flows of online information are all streaming together, and the access tools are becoming absolutely critical. If you don’t index it, it doesn’t exist. It’s out there but you can’t find it, so it might as well not be there.
Barbara Quint, Editor, Search Magazine. 1994[3]

But readers can also find these books through search engines such as Google, the library catalogue or publishers platform. This means that the primary difference between printed books and eBooks is that eBooks are exposed and visible to a larger audience. In general people have less availability to the traditional paper subscription model. Printed books can mostly be read by physically going to a library/store while through the internet, basically the whole world can have access to the content at any time of the day. [4]

Of course, there are nowadays also other possibilities of obtaining printed books online. For example, in some cases books are scanned and made ​​available by releasing them online. Google Books is an example of this. Even though the books are officially printed, they are made digitally by Google books or an external group and indexed to be used in the digital field.

Electronic books can do certain things that printed books cannot, and there in lies their value. Because of this, electronic books are changing the definition and expectations of books.[5]

Printed Books
Printed books have a material quality that electronic books have not. For many of us, the intimacy of cradling a book close to our chest, hanging our head over it and shutting out the real world is a sacred ritual. The smell and feel of paper can never be replicated by a cold hard (digital) screen. Browsing a bookstore or library and flicking through books is a social, embodied experience. Clicking on a screen is not. Even dough we might think that way sometimes with social media. has a complex algorithm to suggest books you may like based on previous purchases. But what if you would rather have a librarian or bookseller make suggestions based on their expertise? Or if you would like to have a conversation? Or walk out holding the book? The tactile differences between page and screen will always be an issue for those of us raised on ink and paper.[6]
But watch how a toddler tapping stubbornly at a magazine becomes annoyed that the image isn’t changing. That child is unlikely to feel the same nostalgia for print as her parents, because her understanding of “book” will be significantly different then theirs.

The technology we use to present and consume information has changed. The toddler, who understands that tapping a glassy surface should make an image change, demonstrates that technology is developing at an unprecedented rate.[7]


Because of this extremely fast developing technology the cover of the book is under attack. Critics believe that the book cover might be dead because of the way we touch digital books is different than the way we touch physical books. But if we really acknowledge that, useful conclusions can be made.[8] If a book’s cover is the first thing a potential reader sees, it can make a lasting impression. Our brains are wired to process images faster then words. A great cover can help the reader instantly recognize that this book is for him. He thinks twice before accepting or buying a book with a bad or cheap looking cover. If the cover seems to be nothing more than a catalogue photograph with block letters, people bypass it. If the author did not care enough to dedicate time to his cover, we will wonder how much time they put into the book itself.[9] But how do we approach this in the e-publishing landscape? When covers are not as important anymore. Can we reinvent the digital book cover? We jump in and out of digital texts with little to no procession. In contrast, every time you set down a physical book, the cover is staring right at you. And every time you pick it back up, you have to go ‘through’ the cover to get to the text. Do that five times and you will never forget the title or author. And as certain books become applications, their covers become icons. When you see the book online, it’s always accompanied by lots of text. You read the text on the screen, the cover is the icon. The classic notion of a cover made digital is more like a books favicon rather than a gateway into the text. The cover of a printed book is a protector of the signatures and the binding. It allows the books to fly in and out of the stacks a thousand times, and still be usable. In the digital world, our books are protected by ubiquity.Jump into the eBook and any of these chapter-opening images could be a cover. On the most base level, within the constraints of our current eBook systems, distributed the cover throughout his entire book. The reality is, entire books need to be treated as covers to treat an entire book as a cover, means to fold the typographic and design love usually reserved for covers onto everything. The lack of platforms is what makes many iPad magazine apps helpless. They end up in no better position than a printed magazine. There are no routes by which you can directly get their content. You cannot point in. You are forced to go through the ‘front door’ to get anywhere. And it’s a door usually weighing several hundred megabytes and difficult to unlock.[10]

Craig Mod disagrees with how the cover no longer serves a function to sell. Book recommendations do weigh heavenly in the book selection, however, when you look at a book at Amazon or wherever, one of the first impressions is still with the cover. Does it look professional? Does it have a personality that conveys what I want to read? The book cover is not just some technical piece of information. There is an art to the cover that leaves us with an emotional response, whether it is a good emotion or a bad emotion.[11]

There is a clear connection between great covers and great sales.
In addition to promising what a book will deliver, the cover image also promises that the author is a professional and that the book will honour the readers time.[12]
The finest books boast strong, well-written stories. But to rise to the top, to gain traction with readers, even the best book needs a dynamic cover.[13]
“I’m blown away by the great covers on books by indie authors,” says Smashwords founder Mark Coker. “The quality of cover design today is head and shoulders above what it was just a few years ago.”[14]

It is disappointing that we should answer the question what the future of the book will be electronic/digital or manual? Does it really have to be an either / or mentality?[15] In my knowledge the two should live next to each other with both different purposes and functions, both working together, complimenting each other.

[1] Wouter van der Velde, Olaf Ernst, (2009) “The future of eBooks? Will print disappear? An end-user perspective”, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 Iss: 4, pp. 570 – 583
[2] The American Society for Indexing, Inc. (ASI), What is Indexing?,
[3] Leverage Technologies, Inc. Professionally Created Indexes for Publications Enhance Usability
[4] Wouter van der Velde, Olaf Ernst, (2009) “The future of eBooks? Will print disappear? An end-user perspective”, Library Hi Tech, Vol. 27 Iss: 4, pp. 570 – 583
[5] What is a book in the digital age? Zoe Sadokierski, 11 November 2013.
[6] What is a book in the digital age? Zoe Sadokierski, 11 November 2013.
[7] Idem.
[8] Hack the Cover, Craig Mod, May 2012
[9] Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers, May 29, 2013
[10] Hack the Cover, Craig Mod, May 2012
[11] Hack the Cover, Craig Mod, May 2012
[12] Yes, We Really Do Judge Books by Their Covers, May 29, 2013
[13] Idem
[14] Idem
[15] What is a book in the digital age? David Hopkins, March 3, 2014

After effects experiment whereby the program distorts the original image in a sequence.
Could possibly be the cover of the book.

One of the outcomes transformed into Bitmap to enhance the digital feeling.

What happends with gradients on eReaders.
You can play with the transition of different pages when the ink fills the screen.

Video – Gradient Test on eReader

Other experiment with different covers for the book: ‘The Little Prince’. Trying out very thin lines and thin typography to see what is possible on the eReader.


UnderCover youtube

21-04-2014 -  Shirin Pfisterer


Court, Judges and Jury

I am sitting here, sentenced to death. To vanish from this very world, and never come back. I have served you all for so many years, resisted many attacks and survived every single one of them. But now, on this very day my future is darker than it has ever been. I m looking back on a life where I have been a revolution. Where I brought knowledge to lots of people and taught your grand-parents, parents and yourself all the things you know. I have been a good teacher, as well as a good friend, putting smiles on your faces. I have told stories over and over again, passing on culture and history. And I am still the keeper of your cultural identity, but I do not generalize, I am specific and precise. I don t talk bullshit. Do you really think I should be killed, can you really live without me? Nobody is as easy approachable than I am. I am exciting – I am an experience. I am flexible and I can multitask. I will serve you well, and you know that. You can always trust in me, rely on me. I will be there till the day you die and beyond. Trust in me and I will never let you down.

Dear, Mr.E-pup

We, the book, sentence you mr. e-pub to death. You are not what you say you are, you are a unreliable greedy bastard, all you want is money. You are like a genetically manipulated organism, impersonal and uniforming the one believing in you. Instead of making it easier for the user you complicate, distract and overwhelm the world with data which hasn`t been asked for. Easy come easy go, we do not know how long you re gonna stick around, we don t know your face we do not know who to blame for your flaws. You lie, do you? we don t know, do you even know? your wanna-be content is depending on electricity and development. Maybe tomorrow already you are gone together with the content, the user paid for.  Vanished from this very world, never to be accessed again.



Dear Book,

We the digital publishing world are writing this letter to inform you, the book, that you are an obsolete media. We are done with you collecting dust and taking up our precious space,  time and energy. The era of digital publishing has come and you are standing in its way. First of all, you are heavy, dead, static media and unwilling to change or update and you have a less than pleasing odour. You stick to one font, in one size. I mean come on,  without you paper cuts wouldn’t exist. How many trees have died for you and without a thanks. For a thousands of years you have stayed the same. You caused the creation of the printer. Furthermore, you can’t even connect to the internet. ITS 2014!!!  Please won’t you just die and make why for an out worn media.
Let us state, that we are the media of the future. Not only are we light weight, providing you with a huge data storage, multiple fonts, changing there size to your will.  We can grant you up to date content when ever you wish. We always adept to your personality, fulfilling yours needs. You like to listening to music while you read? We can do that for you. You like to read in the dark, we have a back light screen. Your sister is hogging the iPad, you can read us on any other device. We provide a responsive interface, changing for harmonious collaboration with the chosen device. We want to get better and grow, incorporating  video and music with text. And we don’t have the death of millions of trees, on our conscious.

02-04-2014 -  wuasa
Visual presentation of at least three concept sketches of the final design of your research.

Things to think about in relation to form:
- How does the form conceptually relate, add meaning, influence/shape the ideas of your content?
- What is the role of your design in this research process?

For example, Dear Lulu research project is a book made up of self-produced tests which is sent to Lulu, an online print-on-demand system, to print using their these P-O-D  methods. As a result, the design becomes:
- a tool to understand the technical possibilities of P-O-D systems: type specimens, halftone screens and, in particular, colour tests and calibration charts etc.
- a means to interact with the online publisher
- a space to reflect on distribution and production methods, the process of taking advantage of the relatively new (and fairly cheap) technological systems.
- a form (POD book) that is self-reflective and refers to the above points.

Epub Trailer Generator, is a project by Digital Publishing Toolkit (2013), to create animated gifs out of ePubs as a quick preview to the contents.
“We also realize that open formats like Epub could be easily accessed and harvested for content, in other ways than the mere linear reading. So we started to think of ePub as an input/source that could be manipulated by scripts. […]
We developed a small python script that: 1. unzips the epub; 2. searches the epub metadata for informations such as: title, authors, publisher, publication date; 3. gathers all the pictures in the book; 4. get a font if it’s embedded in the ePub; 5. creates an animated gif out of those contents.”

Click here to see gif in action

02-04-2014 -  wuasa

We will be dissecting an ePub in class today to see what’s inside, so that we can tweak, alter and create our own.

24-03-2014 -  Jeroen Pronk

Dear everybody,

Lately I’ve been doing some research into different programs to work with for not only Crosslab, but also Design Research. I’ll put my thoughts and ideas in the comments with the programs, but if you have any questions about specific matters, then please approach me in class :) .

Adobe Edge Reflow (+Edge Inspect)
This program is a basic program to help you set up a responsive web-page so that for example the layout of the whole page changes as soon as the size of the screen gets smaller than let’s say 600px wide. It is very basic and easy to use, you don’t need to know coding to be able to use this program, and on top of this, when you save the project you’re working on, it also saves it as an html and css file so you can add or modify stuff in Dreamweaver of Coda 2 for if you do know something about code. Edge Inspect is a little app you can download so that if you see the changes you make on your computerscreen, live on your iPhone or tablet!

Coda 2 (Comparable with Dreamweaver)
Coda 2 is like Dreamweaver but more basic. Before I continue I must say that in order to use this program you do need to know a little bit about html and css, but if you don’t then this program has the perfect solution for it! It offers digital books within the program about all kinds of coding methods and if you need to know something, you just open a book, type the code or word you’re looking for and the program gives you a description about how to use the code.
Sketch 2 (Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop combined)
The program sketch 2 is a minimal and basic combination of the two Adobe programs, and is optimized for sketching websites or applications. Build in the program are all the templates you need for any device or screen size. Maybe not the best program for the assignments we have running atm, but defiantly something to look into.
Adobe Muse (making websites)
I have not fully tested this program yet, but it’s a sort of InDesign for creating websites. For this you don’t need the knowledge of code, but I can not tell you what it’s limits are and possibilities.
This is a website I can strongly suggest if you’re not that familiar with code. In my opinion coding is becoming quite necessary in the near future, and this website offers an easy and playful way to learn code. I’ve been having some fun with it and learned html and css in no-time. (also html5, sass, jQuery, JavaScript, etc.)

This program is specialized for e-books and epub files, to make your own e-books or decode them. Lot’s of possibilities that you’re all familiar with since we had that workshop last Friday. This is just a reminder.

-  (interesting blogs about digital publishing and web-type-rules)
- (Interesting approach to readability of e-mail and reduction of items on the screen)
- (for references to coding, or if you need to do/learn specific things with code for web, et. responsive stuff)

Ok doei!  xoxo

Jeroen Pronk,

19-03-2014 -  Jeroen Pronk

During the execution of the method,

there were some problems:

Getting the material needed

The object came out of the wrapped paper

The written words came out with the paint


I throw the paper balls several type on the paper.

I rolled the big paper sheet to spread the paint, several times.


You can see where the papers landed by the darker spots.

It’s possible to see the layers.

And for me, the objective is understanding the behavior of an object when submitted to actions.

some research questions:

How can I control the paint? / How can I control the direction of the object?

How would it be interesting to control de paint or the direction?

What are the behaviors of the wrapped object to different kinds of paint?

the wrapping paper, the objects, and the paint (coffee)

~ Clara ~

19-03-2014 -  Niermala B. Timmers

Book covers vs. eBook covers (all images from Pinterest).

19-03-2014 -  Jim Jansen

19-03-2014 -  Jeroen Pronk


E  X E R C I S E








19-03-2014 -  Yentl Kivits