Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is Bubblin Superbooks?

    A modern ebook reader for the web.

    We're an online cafe of books—meaning, a silent and cozy place to hang out and read interesting classics together. All our books are free to read and share with other book-lovers on web. By silent here we mean: no advertising, no commenting and no loud and convincing reviews from salesmen posing as other readers.

    Bubblin is community of authentic readers and reads.

  2. But, but I tend to read books offline…

    Sure. All our books are offline-first—meaning, they work with or without a live Internet connection.

  3. "Offline-first": what's that?

    Offline-first is a form of seamless progressive enhancement that installs a copy of your book on your browser (local). Once the book is installed (basically autodownloaded) it will continue to work normally on your device even without an Internet connection.

    This process is completely automatic and is executed the very first time you open a book on your browser; your book will work even after hard refreshes on a supported browser. See list of browsers that support Service Workers currently for more information.

  4. Is this yet another e-book format?

    No, it is not. There is no format between you and the book. Hell, there is not even a file now.

    Bubblin does away with the idea of lumping books and files together and removes the complexity of outdated incompatible formats completely. We feel that it's a travesty for people to even (still) worry about "files" or "format" when all they want is to just read a good book. Books on Bubblin are like videos on Youtube. No one cares about what camera was used or how your video was encoded.

  5. Ummm… so what do you use?

    Good ol' HTML!

    It's all basic building blocks of web so there is nothing new to learn, install or download anywhere. A Superbook is a single page static app (SPA) container with usual markup, style and scripts i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript, paginated in form of a book. See how it works and the underlying concepts.

  6. Okay. How is the support?

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

    All devices, all viewports, all operating systems and all modern browsers.

  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 problem is to have Superbooks default to plain HTML with Google Doc style paginated scroll when page flipping is turned off or JavaScript is disabled. More updates on e-reader support, especially w.r.t WCAG 2.1 (2018) accessibility guidelines will be announced shortly.

    Some of these issues about books on web, their behavior and accessibility needs are discussed at length on Frequently Raised Concerns page.

  8. What is the goal here?

    Our intent is to coalesce the world of books and web together into a single unified resource that is both open and accessible. Bring books straight on web for people to read, enjoy and share. Make books a first class citizen of web, remove friction so that people can enjoy longform anywhere in the world without needing to own specialized (and closed) hardware just for it.

    Remove the need to manage files (artifacts like PDF or ePub) or the worry about compatibility issues at all.

  9. What is a Superbook?

    Superbooks means Superclass of books.

    Put simply a Superbook is a highly-scalable, responsive and adaptive e-book container that holds your story together. It uses "strong layouts" as opposed to fixed or fluid ones elsewhere. Each page of a Superbook is a virgin iframe, a sandboxed code playground, that accepts a very limited quantity of content. Since that content is good ol' HTML, CSS or JavaScript (i.e. building blocks of web) you can easily combine your frontend development skills with storytelling to create classiest immersive books ever. More explanation about the general concept is available here.

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

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

    You can definitely add programming logic (JavaScript) into your book to make it more interactive or meaningful. Output a visual experiment or an interactive explanation of any sort or 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 elsewhere can easily be adapted on web now. Readers will love your book without ever needing to leave web or their friends.

    Here we list some advantages of Superbooks over other traditional (and rather lifeless) forms of e-books such as the epub, PDF or KDP.

  11. Please list the main USPs!

    Sure. To begin with, our books work everywhere, on every device, mobile, tablet, desktop and television on the planet. This makes it easy to for people to read and share books online.

    Since we don't use a file system for e-book distribution and rely on HTML (webpages) instead, our books are way more accessible than any other option on market.

    Lastly, we allow JavaScript inside of e-books to make the context modern, enriching and interactive. Such flexibility isn't possible inside a lifeless file that occupies disk somewhere.

    With the ability to add JavaScript inside books you can, say:

    1. Add a little canvas experiment inside your physics book to explain pendulum motion with animation.
    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 without worrying about filesize.
    4. Create an album of music videos and lyrics page side-by-side.

    and so on…

    We believe that adapting books for web can lead us to a single unified resource that is both accessible and open. It can open up to endless creativity and expression inside of digital books that hasn't been possible until now.

  12. Can I publish on Bubblin?

    Absolutely! It's easy and works mostly like a blog. Refer documentation to start a new Superbook, but here's a quick primer too:

    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, i.e. a one-stop publishing engine from your local machine.

    The first option (in-browser editor) is suitable for small one-off publications like outing a comics or a restaurent menu. The second option (Bookiza) is a more professional setup meant for long hauls, or periodicals or marathon novels, literature, textbooks, photobooks and other forms of large texts.

  13. 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.

    That said, you could write and publish a Superbook even today! A good place to start on one is our documentation page. We do have some really powerful low-level open source tools and free templates to help you start any kind of book, comics or magazine for web.

    It takes less than a minute!

  14. Does it integrate with MS Word?

    No. It doesn't.

    MS Word is meant for writing business documents or contracts and not books (a lot has been written about this), and you'd end up generating a derivative file -- like PDF. Following from first principles, books aren't files, and therefore Superbooks aren't either.

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

  15. Is there a tutorial?

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

  16. Can I sell my books?

    Yes, you can. But not without proof of ownership for the material to be put on sale.

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

    Not exactly. It's more like app development with push2deploy.

    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 before it is ready for public consumption.

    Excited? Head over to our tools to learn about how to manage your manuscript (book project) efficiently.

  18. 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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