Frequently Asked Questions


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  1. What is Bubblin Superbooks?

    We are the book publishing company for the web.

    Bubblin is a distraction-free book reader for the web—as in, we promote online reading with offline-first books. It is free of charge, free of ads and doesn't require registration to be able to read or share books. In many ways Bubblin is a social reader for book lovers on the web.

  2. What is a Superbook?

    Superbook is a book that lives on web.

    It is offline-first and iPad-first, and adheres to the requirement of referential accessibility.

  3. Is Superbook another e-book format?

    Nearly, but not quite.

    Superbooks are websites, so the underlying format is HTML, or simple webpages with plain ol' HTML, CSS and occasionally JavaScript. What we mean by this is that while Superbook is a native book format for the web, it is also not a new format in of itself because it uses existing web apis and the standard HTML vocabulary for its implementation. Unlike a typical file format (like ePub or PDF) a Superbook is simply a stack of ordinary webpages.

    Head over here if you're interested in learning how Superbooks work and what they are made up of.

  4. Are all books on Bubblin free?

    No. Only some public domain works processed by our team or our bot are free to read and share with anyone. Free books can also be forked on Github for downstream creativity and personalization.

    Other than above, we also host premium copyrighted content according to the following charter:

    Premium books:

    Authors are free to publish and make their book available for a fee (premium) or for free without giving their rights away. Both premium and free books published on Bubblin are legal works made available by their respective owners or agency as per Bubblin's Terms of Service.

    The feature to publish a premium book is available by invitation only. Please see item #20 below to learn more.

  5. Do I need to purchase hardware?

    No. One of the main goals of Bubblin is to liberate digital books from properietary hardware. No investment in hardware or specialized software is required from readers to be able to read or share books on Bubblin.

    Our books are generally supported on all modern browsers, all devices and all operating systems.

  6. How is the support?

    A blank Superbook is supported everywhere.

  7. How is the support on e-readers?

    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 issue is to have Superbooks default to plain HTML (scroll) with minimum styling when feature support isn't available. It is not clear at this time what path to take for solving books for "non-browser" devices but more updates on e-reader support, especially on going beyond what WCAG 2.1 (2018) guidelines for content specify, will be made available shortly. Some of the issues like line-tracking, leading, handling orphans and widows and other web+book specific accessibility issues are discussed at length on our Frequently Raised Concerns essay.

    Welcome to join the conversation and help us build a better system!

  8. How do I download a book?

    Explicit downloading to the disk is not required. Superbooks are offline-first by default so once you open a book on the browser, it will go offline immediately and will continue to work without a live Internet connection in perpetuity. This process of offlining is frictionless and carried out seamlessly using a service-worker under the hood.

    Please note that we want to enourage consumption of books on the web itself. As a thumbrule, we believe that a web with more books is a better web. And web is the only way for all knowledge to reach all of humanity.

  9. Commentary and annotations?

    Reader discussions are supported. Direct annotations have been turned off for the time being.

  10. Can I turn off the page curls?

    Yes, page curling can be tuned for speed or turned off.

    Head over to Bubblin > Settings > Account > Page turns to make adjustments or to simply turn it off.

  11. I wrote a book, can I publish it on Bubblin?

    Absolutely. Feel free to start on our documentation page, but here's a quick summary of the process:

    There are two options for writing and publishing 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 types like textbooks, photobooks, novella, poetry etc.

  12. Can I upload and publish the books that I own?

    No. Only original authors (or the IP owners) can do that.

  13. Can I upload my book (file) and publish?

    Direct upload to publish isn't allowed at this time. This is partly because Superbooks are a website format with a very specific HTML structure and in part because of the low quality of HTML obtained from traditional file formats. Reconciliation of markup isn't straightforward for use inside a Superbook directly but we are working on resolving this issue. Look out for more updates on this soon!

  14. No really, what is a Superbook?

    Superbook means Superclass of a book, comics or magazine.

    Put simply, it is a jacket that holds a story together. More explanation about how it works is provided in documentation. The key difference between a Superbook and a traditional e-book is that Superbooks use a strong layout as opposed to fixed or fluid one elsewhere.

    Each page on a Superbook is a virgin iframe—a sandboxed code playground—that accepts a very limited quantity of content that always remains above-the-fold. Since the content of an iframe is ultimately good old HTML, CSS and JavaScript i.e. building blocks of web, you can safely utlize frontend engineering skills to longform storytelling to create classiest of books ever!

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

    Yes, absolutely! As a storyteller you can add programming logic into your book to make it more compelling. That's the magical part of it… 🙂 Output visual experiments on your book to add extra punch or provide an interactive explanation or contextual substance (as linked below) to help the reader understand and grasp 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 the book:

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

    The content on a book could be anything from plain text to GPU powered shaders or experiments with AR/VR. Given that a Superbook can render plain text trivially, all novels, textbooks, magazines and comic books that exist as files outside of web can now easily be ported and tracked online.

    Here are some of the advantages of Superbooks over the traditional files. You might want to stop pushing your readers to download before they can read. Just give them the book right away!

  16. Please list the main USPs:

    Sure. To start, 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 makes it a better web. A web where people can enjoy reading longform straight off their browsers and improve their attention span. Without needing to explicitly download an artifact to the disk and without needing to own specialized (and often closed) piece of hardware.

    It will also lead to endless creativity with better books. To sum it up, web and books together means better books, better access, better web and a better world.

  17. I use Scrivener to write books, how does it work for me?

    You can easily publish a Superbook from Scrivener using an intermediary format called Markdown.

    A tutorial on how to publish a Superbook from Scrivener is available here.

  18. Does it work with MS Word or Apple Pages too?

    It is possible but not recommended at all.

    Microsoft Word (or Apple Pages) is an enterprise software meant for creating business documents like contracts or LOIs. Files. The quality of HTML that comes off of it isn't suitable for adoption on the web straight up. A lot has been written about this in the past, but to emphasize: if you're considering your book to be on the web, avoid using a word processor like MS Word.

  19. Is there a tutorial?

    Here's a quick one using the in-browser editor and layout templates.

  20. Can I sell my books?

    Yes, but only original or licensed work is allowed.

    For example, you can publish and sell all your unencumbered writings as long as you own the rights. Or republish and sell public domain books with or without your own take on it: such as with new artwork, new illustrations or re-translation etc. In general, to be able to sell, you must possess the right to modify and distribute the material in question. Also, the content must not be on our forbidden list as described on our Terms of Service page.

    Starting a new book or want to publish an existing one? Get in touch with us immediately.

    The features to put a price and sell is currently available by invitation only.

  21. Is this self-publishing?

    Well, not exactly. We are closer to traditional publishing in many ways than self-publishing.

    Our pipeline is inspired from web/app development techniques such as using frontend skills, push2deploy, collaboration using git etc. Book writing isn't an individual activity, and you'll need help from your friends, editors, illustration artists, typesetters, designers, domain experts and other specialists to help complete and polish your work. Bubblin extends this possibility of collaboration to developers as well that you may find worth pursuing for your book.

    Take a look at Bookiza Abelone — our open source book reification framework for the web.

  22. Is there an iOS or Android app?

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

    Update: As of June of 2019 we published an Android app for the Bubblin website using the Trusted Web Activities feature on the Google Playstore. This means that all your books that are available on the Bubblin Superbooks website are also available natively on your Android phone or tablet with exactly the same silky native book experience.

    Read more about how you can take advantage of this feature or publish your book for the largest community of readers on web.

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