E-book Formatting

I’m willing to admit that Apple Pages is a better program than I initially gave it credit for. Specifically, it’s quite decent at formatting documents in the 5-40 page range, with linked menus for exporting to PDFs. In addition to making bookmarking and linking quite easy, it has very convenient paragraph style options, so that users can set a definition for “heading,” define headings as such as such, and then change all such headings at the same time later on.

So my quandary now is how to help students take advantage of this. They pretty much don’t write anything that’s more than a page. I could probably get three pages out of some of them, if I made a big production out of it. But this is desktop publishing, not journalism, class, and I really don’t want to make a big production out of making them write. Perhaps we can borrow documents old enough to not have copyrights, and format them. Then they’ll learn a good place to find old books online, and will be able to use all the cool e-book formatting stuff. Because anyone who does not know how to format an e-book cannot truly be said to understand desktop publishing. We can also, then, talk about copyrights of text and images. Good, we’ll do that. Now to write the assignment out, and specify all the stuff they’ll need to do…

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