An eBook (abbreviation for electronic book) is “an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or hand-held device designed specifically for this purpose” (Oxford Dictionary of English).
eBooks can be read on hardware devices (such as e-Readers or eBook devices), personal computers and some mobile phones. We explain the making of two main types of eBooks below.
- ePub eBooks – full-featured eBooks for the modern devices
- JAVA-based eBooks – more ‘primitive’ eBooks that can be used on older mobile devices
Creating eBooks for smartphones, iPhones and eBook readers
We suggest using the ePub format to create eBooks to be read on the better equipped smartphones, iPhones and the eBook reading devices. ePub (short-term for electronic publication) is a free and open eBook standard by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). ePub is designed for reflowable content, meaning that the text display can be optimized for the particular display device. ePub format also supports images and URLs inside the eBooks.
We suggest you use an open-source solution (Sigil) if you are interested in creating your own ePub eBooks.
You may download the software on the Sigil website here and view the tutorial they prepared on how to use Sigil here. The procedures are very well explained.
How to access ePub eBooks
There are various methods to access ePub eBooks in different devices. Below are examples in two common platforms:
For Apple iOS devices (e.g. iPhones, iPads), you need to install the free-of-charge iBooks from App store onto your phone first. Then transfer the eBooks you created into the devices by using iTunes software on computer (i.e. by dragging the ePub files onto the mobile device icon on iTunes). When you start iBooks on your mobile device, you should be able to see the eBooks neatly placed in the library.
For Android phones and tablets, you can transfer the eBooks to the devices storage. Then you can open it via the build in eBook reader application. Some of the Android phones do not have a build in eBook reader installed as default and you are suggested to install related reader software such as "FBReader". You can use the Google Play (Android market) to find and install "FBReader". The app is free of change.
How to create JAVA-based eBooks
If you want to make eBooks run on older mobile phones/devices, JAVA-based eBooks may be a good idea.
JAVA-based eBooks work on JAVA-enabled mobile phones. Most mobile devices that are produced in the last couple of years support JAVA (even low-priced models). You can find more information about JAVA-supported devices here.
We suggest you use mjBookMaker (free open-source software from mjSoft) to create your own JAVA-based ebooks. We have a slightly fine-tuned version of the mjBookMaker software for you to download and install.
Before creating eBooks, make sure you have installed or download (required) the following:
- .NET framework 3.5 at here.
- mjBookMaker (adapted by CUHK) at here.
- You also need to download ImageMagick here if your eBook contains images or photos (optional).
When you are installing the ImageMagick, please tick the options "Add application directory to your system path" and "Install development headers and libraries for C and C++" before you press the "next" button.
Here are the steps of creating eBooks:
- Open "mjBookMaker (adopted by CUHK).exe".
- A small window will pop up. Press ‘Select doc’ to select the document that you would like to include in the eBook.
- The ‘Book name’ column will show the name of the file that you have chosen. But you may change it to another name.
- Add the name of author or department at the ‘Author/ department’ column.
- If users are required to type password before accessing the eBook, please tick the box ‘Need a password (Allow numbers only)’, and fill in the password you want to set.
- Click ‘Make eBook’ when you have filled in all the information above.
- Another window in black will then pop up, meaning it is creating the eBook.
- After a minute or two (depending on the file size), a small window titled ‘Open folder?’ will appear to notify the eBook is successfully created.
View a tutorial of creating eBooks here:
How to use JAVA-based eBooks
Downloading and setting up eBooks onto your mobile device:
1. Copy the eBook file into the internal memory/ memory card of your JAVA-enabled mobile device.
2. Locate the eBook on your mobile phones.
3. Select/ click the file.
4. You will be asked to install the eBook. Accept.
5. After a while (depending on the file size), a message will appear to notify the eBook is install successfully.
View a tutorial of how to operate the eBook here: