Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dad's Book is online

Today just called out to be a day when something special gets done.  First, we thought we were going to drive the Copper Canyon portion of The Crook Trail.  But the circumstances changed and we decided to devote our entire day to finding some way, somehow to get Dad's book online.

Frankly, the whole process has been a real bear from the git-go.  We did find a reasonably-priced book scanner and he delivered the scan files late last week.  It didn't take too long to realize that messing with most of those files would require weeks of work to render them into an ebook format.

Meanwhile, we started messing with the POD People.  POD= Print On Demand.  If we thought the eBook world was a jungle, we hadn't seen anything yet.  The POD People make sharks look tame by comparison.
Not only that but just hacking our way through the POD jungle required a lot of skills that seemed beyond our grasp.

As the day wore, we must admit we were becoming exceptionally frustrated, if not deeply perturbed.  For one thing, "they" say it's easy to provide a book for free online.  Well, what "they" don't tell you is that is it NOT easy and you have to jump a lot of hoops because why would they want to help you give a way a book free in the first place?  There's no money in it for them so there are roadblocks aplenty in that seemingly simple picture.  Meanwhile, the POD People scoffed at trying to make the book free.  It's not possible so fuggetaboutit.

All of this weighty reality was weighing me down as the day worn on.  Finally, sitting here in front of this computer, the light bulb went off and I found myself asking questions I've often asked throughout my life, "Why do I have to deal with these people in the first place?  Isn't there some way I can do this myself and bypass all those people?  Isn't there a better way?"

Well, simply asking the questions cheered me up considerably and it wasn't long before the light bulb went off and we had at least an interim solution to the whole thing.  Granted, it's not the most optimal solution but it works and it provided instant gratification and it totally changed my day from one of frustration to one of success.

The book scanner created both a small and large PDF file for the book.  The big file is 150 megs but the small file is 21 megs.  I spent time comparing the two files and realized there was essentially no significant difference between the quality of the two files because of the rather low quality of the original product.  The type face in the original book was light and, sure enough, it shows up light in the scans.  Some of the photos were dark in the original book and, sure enough, those same photos show up dark in the scans.

So, I decided the small PDF file just might offer a window of opportunity.  I placed it on a state-of-the-art cloud-sharing website and, voila, the embed scripts actually produced a version you can read online without even having to download the file!  Amazing but true.  Meanwhile, the cloud sharing outfit makes the download process insanely fast.

Just to be safe, we uploaded the 21 meg PDF to Google's Documents (AKA: Drive) so we have a redundant download source.

What we have here now is that the book is available free online instantly today.  No waiting.  No wondering.  No nothing.  Somebody wants the book--they got it.  Just like that. POOF.  Free.

We want this book to live forever, that's the plan--we want it to live way past our own lifetime.  We think we are "on to something" here and this book now has a fighting chance to survive into the foreseeable future and beyond.  This is a good thing.

OK, trumpet fanfare and drum roll please.  Here is my Dad's book sitting online and free!  YEA!

Many Cheers!  jp

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