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15/06/2014

Ebooks! (Maybe)

I’ve been playing around with the idea of turning some of the NL archive into ebooks, so that they are available offline. In fact I’ve been playing around with ways of doing this.

Unfortunately, after considerable installing and uninstalling, tweaking and cursing, it turns out that there is no simple but effective solution to doing this, or if it did work in the way I wanted, it resulted in some very ugly output. The closest solution I have found is still far from perfect in that the supposed choice of fonts for PDFs doesn’t work and so far it won’t add the author and publication date to each post.

So, before I carry on with the tweakings and swearings, is this something that people would actually want?

I was thinking of these being free, but depending on the amount of effort and stuff I have to buy that might be involved, is this something that people might pay for – say 99p per ebook or similar?

And if people would be interested in ebooks, what should they be like? I was thinking, initially at least, of books of our past material on homelessness, on possession and on leasehold matters. Maybe also disrepair & unlawful eviction. But how often these would be updated is a big question. Perhaps annually. It is not going to be like having an offline version of the blog and of course the material will get outdated.

Anyway, as a proof of concept – with no proper cover picture, or post dates, or authors, and, in the case of the PDF, an ugly font – here are versions of an ebook of our homelessness posts, from January 2012 to Friday 13 June 2014. Contents are in reverse chronological order, most recent first.

PDF version (for printing, or use on computers and tablets)

EPUB version (for non-Kindle e-readers, or iBooks on Mac and iOS)

Kindle version

Do let me know what you think about the idea and what you would like to see in an ebook.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

5 Comments

  1. Sarah Nield

    Great idea!

    Reply
  2. Chris S

    Interesting idea.
    Not sure of the demand. There might be cases were it something needs to be looked up and there is no internet connection.

    If that was the case that this was to be used for I would think a .pdf format would be best as most computers and phones can display those.

    whilst I use my own phone that has the kindle app I can see that there would be people with work phones that couldn’t get the app.

    Reply
  3. Anna W

    Great idea. Just had look at the iBook version on my iPad. Format does look good. As a barrister who is always trying to avoid back injuries (caused by lugging of books-and-papers) I would definitely use.

    Reply
  4. AM

    Simply put, brilliant. It is an excellent way to archive and use as a reference. The only comment that I would make is
    1 perhaps add the health warning about being up to date, or not, at the beginning, for the unwary, and
    2 if this is not what you have mentioned, earlier a simpler font on the pdf version would be appreciated esp for smaller mobile devices, as times new roman is rather “busy”.

    As to price, c’mon be brave, and make it a round pound :) It’ll help pay for the IT cost.

    Reply
  5. Martin Smith

    Yes a good idea. I agree with AM, become a capitalist and make your fortune and charge the whole pound ☺.
    I downloaded the Kindle version but the Kindle app on my Samsung mobile couldn’t open it but it managed to open the pdf.
    Keep up the good work

    Reply

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