She’s barely seven and still in her first year of elementary school, but her school bag – which she has to carry on her back everyday – is bigger and heavier than my working backpack. That’s why I always try to help my dearest daughter carry her bag whenever I can.
Burden From Bulks Of Books
I think everybody knows what’s inside: books, tons of them. Competition among schools to stay in business makes them add more and more lessons to the curriculum just to look good (and get bigger income by selling more books). Those businessmen who call themselves educators should’ve known better than thinking that more subjects to learn is equal to better education.
The real equation should be: more subjects means more burden to students, both physically and mentally. And bigger burden also equal to lesser ability to concentrate on the studying.
Changing the school curriculum is not an easy job and require years of persistence. It’s an almost impossible job for an ordinary person like us. But lessening the weight of the books is very doable. Electronic books are no alien to people with a computer.
Imagine students (and teachers) with no physical books. They carry all their books in digital format inside one single electronic device. It will surely lighten up the weight – literally. And as a bonus, their books can contain much more than just mere text and pictures.
The Possible Chosen Device & Format
The thing is, reading books in electronic format is not as comfortable as reading the printed pages. Yet.
There are already gadgets built to replace printed books. Laptops are also common alternatives to e-book readers. But the one that I think would change the rules of the game is Apple’s soon-to-be-released iPad.
While this “oversized iPod Touch” is not up to par to common notebooks (because it’s not intended to be a notebook replacement), it is a very capable e-book reader. Apple even goes as far as collaborating with major book and newspaper publishers and creating their own e-book store. They have also given the name “iBook” to this digital format electronic book.
Even though iPad is said to be capable of opening several standard ebook formats from simple text to Adobe’s PDF, Apple adopted the free and open source ePub as the format of their iBooks.
Looking at what Apple has done to iPods, digital music and movie distribution, even the worst result would still be a huge success. We might see students with light and stylish iPads in their schoolbag, with all of their textbooks inside it in the iBook/ePub format.
Creating Your Own iBooks
Being an open source format, ePub books are already widely available on the net. But you can also create your own electronic books in ePub format. Here are two free multiplatform tools to create iBooks – a.k.a: ePub books.
: A lightweight ePub publisher to create iBooks available for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris platform. Some of the features are:
- creates unencrypted ePub files from text or XHTML files;
- allows editing of the text or XHTML files with a simple internal editor or designated external editors;
- helps to create a simple cover design image;
- optionally creates title, content and cover pages;
- can be run from the command line as part of a build script;
- can convert the book content to audio files (WAV or MP3).
Sigil: Describes itself as a WYSIWYG ebook editor. Available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Some of the features are:
- WYSIWYG editing;
- Multiple Views: Book View, Code View and Split View;
- Metadata editor with full support for all possible metadata entries (more than 200) with full descriptions for each;
- Table Of Contents editor;
- Multi-level TOC support;
- Currently imports TXT, HTML and ePub files; more will be added with time;
- Currently exports ePub and SGF (Sigil native format); more will be added with time.
If you like eBooks, you might want to check out our other ebook articles: The Best 6 Sites to Get Free Ebooks, How To Convert Scanned Pages Into eReader eBook Format, Calibre – Mighty eBook Management Software (Multi-OS) and How To Download Books From Google Books,
Do you prefer to read books in digital format or traditional paper-printed format? Do you know other alternatives to free multiplatform ePub publishers for creating iBooks? Share using the comment below.