Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is Bubblin Superbooks?

    A social book reader for the web.

    We're an online café of books— meaning, a silent and cozy place for readers to hang out and read interesting books. By silent we mean no advertising, no notifications and no loud & convincing reviews from salesmen posing as other readers. It's just books, quiet and you. Distraction free and served hot over the web.

    Bubblin is free of charge, free of ads and doesn't need registration, apps or file downloads.

  2. Are the books free?

    Yes. All works on Bubblin are free to read and share with anyone.

  3. How do I download a book?

    You don't have to, Superbooks work offline!

    Once you open a book on your browser, it will install itself and continue to work offline without needing a live Internet connection. This process is seamless and carried out using Service Workers under the hood.

  4. But, I like reading offline…

    Sure. All books on Bubblin are offline-first— meaning, they work without Internet as a default.

  5. Do I need to own hardware?

    Not at all. We aim to liberate digital books from properietary hardware and bring some of the greatest works straight on web. No investment in hardware is required for you to be able to enjoy a book on open web.

    We support all modern browsers, all devices and all operating systems.

  6. Is this another e-book format?

    No. It is simple HTML, CSS and JavaScript bootstrapped together along with pagination behavior of a real book. We think it is a travesty that people have to still worry about files or format when all they want is a good book to read. Books are not files anyway!

    Bubblin takes the pain of files and formats away and lets your readers focus on the book. In fact avoiding tsundoku is our core mantra.

  7. How does a Superbook work?

    Head over to the concept page on how Superbooks work using native bifolium pagination and building blocks of web. In short a Superbook is a bunch of virgin iframes stacked together in form of a book.

  8. How is the support?

    A blank Superbook i.e. the container is supported everywhere.

  9. How is the support on e-readers?

    We're not quite there yet.

    We tested on a few e-readers on market that sport a web browser but the results weren't satisfactory. One approach to solving this is to have Superbooks default to plain HTML with typical styling that scrolls when page flipping or JavaScript is turned off.

    More updates on e-reader support, especially w.r.t WCAG 2.1 (2018) accessibility guidelines will be announced shortly. We discuss some of these issues, native behavior and accessibility consideration at length on the Frequently Raised Concerns page.

    Feel free to join to help us build a better system!

  10. What is a Superbook?

    Superbook means Superclass of a book, comics or magazine.

    Put simply, it is that jacket that holds your longform together. More explanation about how it works is provided on our documentation. Key difference between a Superbook and an e-book is that Superbooks use a strong layout as opposed to a fixed or fluid one elsewhere. Each page is a virgin iframe, a sandboxed code playground, that accepts a very limited quantity of content that remains above the fold. Since the content of an iframe is ultimately good ol' HTML, CSS and JavaScript (i.e. building blocks of web) you can easily combine your frontend engineering skills along with storytelling to create classiest of books.

  11. Does it mean we can add code inside of books?

    Yes, absolutely! That's the magical part of it… 🙂

    As a writer you can add programming logic into your book to make it more meaningful. Output a visual experiment or an interactive explanation of any sort or put a piece of contextual substance that helps the reader understand or grasp a key concept easily.

    Example:

    View tidal locking between Earth and Moon explained on page number 39 of this demo book on The Solar System. Use keyboard shortcuts to navigate:

    arrow keys or the Space bar to turn the page. Press ⌘ + K to see more options.

    Trivially speaking, the content could be anything from plain text to GPU powered shaders. Given that a Superbook can render plain text simply, all novels, textbooks, magazine or comic books that exist as files outside of web can now easily be adapted on web.

    Readers can read, share and link to your book on web. Here we list some of the advantages of Superbooks over the traditional digital form that push the user away from web.

  12. Please list the main USPs:

    Sure. To begin with, Superbooks work everywhere: on every device, mobile, tablet, desktop and television on the planet. This makes it easy to for you (the writer) to reach your readers anywhere.

    Since we don't use a file system for distribution and rely on web instead, our books are way more accessible and shareable than on any other platform or option on market.

    Superbooks allow coding inside of book letting you create contextually relevant experiences over static rendered content. Such flexibility isn't possible on a lifeless file that lives outside of web.

    For example:

    1. Add a little canvas experiment in your physics book to explain pendulum motion.
    2. Code up a comics book with animated CSS3 characters instead of using heavy GIFs.
    3. Publish a photobook capturing all your memories at one place.
    4. Create a children's book with music and story that goes hand-in-hand.

    and so on…

    We believe that adapting books on web can lead us to a stronger and better web. A web where people can enjoy reading longform straight off their browsers. Without needing to download an artifact to the disk and without needing to own specialized and often closed hardware for books. It would also lead us to better books with endless creativity, likes of which we haven't seen before. To sum it up, web and books together means better access, better storytelling and thus a better world.

  13. What is the thinking here?

    First principles.

    Physical books are not files. Books belong to children (or the child within us). Files belong to bureaucracy. Books are about creativity, about counter-culture and about overthrowing rotten ideals of our society. Files are about encoding those rotten ideals and force them on the society.

    So why should e-books be files at all?

    We feel that online books and their diaspora has not even been invented yet. Our current reality of downloadable files is a lazy shortchange in place of a real online book that is yet to happen. Using shallow enterprise-y software, business style word processors and complex proprietary formats is not what books and their lovers stand for. Why should a reader worry about a format or managing an artefact? As a writer should I just hope that someone will click to download my work of months, navigate to that file and open it to read as opposed to simply read on web?

    These are some of the motivations and questions behind Bubblin Superbooks, and of course we don't have answers to all of them yet. We just hope that some of you will find this project interesting enough and feel that a book should be accessible to anyone and everyone out there with a device that connects to the web. And not just those who could afford a Kindle or an iPhone.

    Our intent is to coalesce the world of books and web together into a single unified resource that is both open and accessible—ala, make books a First Class Citizen of web.

  14. Can I publish on Bubblin?

    Absolutely! Start on our documentation page, but here's a quick summary:

    There are two methods to write and publish a Superbook:

    1. Use the in-browser editor on Bubblin, or
    2. Install Bookiza Abelone, an open source book reification framework for web.

    The first option (in-browser editor) is suitable for small one-off publications like comics or magazine. The second option i.e. Bookiza is a more professional setup meant for long hauls or something periodical. Bookiza comes with several pre-built templates for books of different genres and literature like textbooks, photobooks, novella etc.

  15. I use Scrivener, does it work for me?

    We're looking at integrating deeply with Scrivener.

    An update will be made available when integration is completed.

  16. Does it integrate with MS Word?

    No, it doesn't.

    MicroSoft's Word is designed to create business documents like contracts and not books (a lot has been written about this), so you'd end up creating a DOC file, and several derivative files off that document–like a PDF or epub–later on. We don't want to head on that path.

    In general, if you're into writing books, we recommend you avoid using MS Word completely.

  17. Is there a tutorial?

    Here's a quick one on how to write a Superbook using the in-browser editor and layout templates.

  18. Can I sell my books?

    Yes, you can, but not without proof of right to publish and sell the said material in question—meaning, you must be the original writer of the book and own the rights to publish and distribute yourself.

    Bubblin doesn't allow forbidden content, see our Terms of Service for more details.

    This feature is available only through invitation.
  19. Is this self-publishing?

    Not exactly. It's more like "book making" inspired by app development techniques such as frontend, push2deploy etc. Book writing isn't an individual activity. You'd need help from your friends, experts, illustration artists, layout designers, editors and other specialists to polish your work (enter Git) before it is ready for consumers. Bubblin and Bookiza can help you achieve good results for the work of your life.

    Writing a new book? Head over to our tools page to learn more.

  20. Is there an iOS or Android app?

    Native apps are planned. Our first love is web; also it is the last.

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