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Originally posted by: John Wilson Apr 19, 2012

Not that long ago I decided to publish an update of a book I wrote some years ago. At the time, in early 2012 Apple, the "computer" company, released something they called a revolution in textbook publishing. Since I have a Mac and the authoring software was made available for free, I decided to take a look at publishing the next version of my book, now renamed Solar Village. Importing my Word file version of the earlier version of the book resulted in a pretty clean and ready draft upon which to develop an interactive multimedia etextbook well suited to the information I hope to share in this newly updated book. However, the output of the software only works on Apple iPad. Thus, my ideas for Open iPub was born.

My primary objective is the broad sharing of information in the form of books, videos, blogs, news articles, magazine articles, elearning, software applications, and the like, for the purpose of creating a better world for my children, and people generally. Since this is the case, the content I developed ideally should be accessible to anybody, anywhere, using any type of device with an internet connection. In some cases I am happy to give away this content. In other cases I charge some fees in order to cover my costs and potentially grow my audience, ultimately leading to broad support for the ideas I think can help us create a sustainable world.

Given this situation, it became evident that a high quality, multimedia, textbook, magazine, newspaper, elearning, application delivery system for content that was "open", "free", and non-proprietary (ie. based on open internet standards), did not exist, nor perhaps would it be in the interest of the major players to create. In fact, reviewing the offerings from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Adobe, to name just a few proprietary offerings, it became clear that many restrictions are imposed by each as they compete for market share and revenue. Their goals do not align with mine, nor many other people like me. So, Open iPub has evolved out of a desire to create something that would allow me and others, in fact anyone, to publish their content, for free (if so desired), using advanced multimedia open standards like HTML5, CSS3, and internet based options, rather than proprietary, platform specific offerings.

One thing I've come to understand is that the web, blogs, websites, twitter, google, and dare I say facebook, they all have built upon the existing paradigm of a web page that scrolls up and down, vertically. Trouble is that this is not the easiest or best way to read the incredible content (in some cases it is incredible, in others not so much) made available. Now that I read most books on my tablet I've discovered that two main features of "ebooks" make them work. First, they page horizontally, like a paper book, so that when you finish one page, and switch to the next page your eyes and brain can pick up instantly and continue reading perfectly. That isn't the case when you are scrolling down on a web page, constantly trying to track where you left off reading while the page keeps moving. The other important ingredient is columns. The New York Times, textbooks and magazines use narrow columns, and have done so for a long time now, for a good reason. It is easier and quicker to read that way. So, why in the world would you read a web page in any other way that wasn't easy, quick and natural. Now that modern browsers on devices from laptops to tablets and even phones, come with internet browsers that support "columns", surely we should be making our web pages work that way when the whole idea is for them to be read. In a nutshell, that is what Open iPub aims to do, simply because we believe that it is a better way to share important information through the internet.

To make this happen, I've further discovered how powerful Open Source and Free software is. Free software includes the browsers that we all use like Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. This project makes use of several key Open Source and Open based projects that I here provide attribution:

Open Software

  • Webkit - web browser engine
  • jQuery - jQuery is a fast, small, and feature-rich JavaScript library that makes things like HTML document traversal and manipulation, event handling, animation, and Ajax much simpler 
  • jQuery Mobile - HTML5-based user interface system for all popular mobile device platforms built on jQuery and jQuery UI foundation
  • Add2home, Matteo Spinelli,
  • - some icons
  • jQuery Cookie Plugin - makes managing cookies easier
  • jQWidon't - don't actually use this, but tried to, and HTML needs something like this to manage widows and orphans (if that sounds strange, check out what a widow and orphan is related to typographic design)

Open Content

What does this mean for you?

You are welcome to join us in developing this open free publishing platform. Our objectives are to allow you to do the following:

  • create content that can be read like any other "ebook", multimedia textbook, emagazine, or online newspaper for instance, always viewable in an internet browser, on all platforms (this the goal, we are still working to achieve this, and probably always will be)
  • make your published content available through the Open iPub Store, as a free, for purchase, or for donation offering in which you retain full control over all the potential revenue if any, except for any service fees we may apply for our support (of course our fees will be agreed to before your offering is made available, when it is a for purchase offering)
  • use open standards, open source, and free software, make it work using industry standard web browsers, on as many platforms from desktop computers of various flavours and operating systems, to tablets (Google Andriod and Apple iPad for instance) and eventually phones, and other devices as they evolve

Still confused but think there may be something of use to you? Just ask. Hopefully we are what you are looking for and we can find a way to work together. Email me with whatever it is you are wondering about or confused about. My email

Keep reading to learn more about the tools provided by Open iPub to allow you to get publishing instantly. If you've got content already developed in a blog, web page, word document, or other similar tool, you may be closer than you think to being able to publish that content right now on Open iPub.

Open iPub Author Too
Above Open iPub Author tool for registered users. Click or touch the image to see full size.

Ready to dig in? My suggestion is to review the Help iPub document. The first page is a video demonstration of how to use iPub. The following page in Help is an overview of each major function in the iPub reader. Then, go to the Store, select a publication and start viewing to get an idea of what iPub publications can be like. We are still working on lots of things so if you find anything that doesn't work, we are most likely working on it. In any case, please do send us an email and let us know what you think and what you'd like to see fixed, added or removed. When you are ready to publish your own content let us know and we'll be happy to help. If you email us at we'd be happy to help with converting your existing content to standard HTML. Once we do that we'll upload it as a iPub content item, pending your review. So, what are you waiting for. 

Thanks for dropping by. Hope to see reading and also publishing your content on our system soon.
John Wilson

PS - Below are some notes I am posting to let you know what our terms of use are. As well, we are focussed in the short term on making iPub work on a few of the most popular and freely available browsers that support required features including "columns" and "breaks".

Please read our Terms of Service which you agree to by using our services. Open iPub is currently in public BETA. During this phase of BETA testing the latest version of Apple Safari and Google Chrome web browsers (click links for free download) are required. Other browsers will be considered in future. Supported platforms include desktop computers, laptops, tablets and eventually phones. Please let us know if you find any issues or have any feedback.

Open iPub is Copyright © John Wilson. Please contact for more information.


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