Super for the iPad

My novel, Super, is now available on the iPad, which fills me with tremendous joy–not only is it wonderful to see my book in one of the most prominent “bookstores” on the planet, it’s also wonderful to finally be able to present the book in a format that can handle the interactive needs of much of Super‘s content.

Super in the iBookstore

But of course it’s not all about fancy features and interactivity. Sometimes it’s just nice to see elements from the book with a little color.

Danger RBZ - Recommended Battle Zone: Whenever possible, shift the location of combat to the nearest Recommended Battle Zone (RBZ). RBZ's are areas that have a decreased likelihood of civilian casualties and a stronger change of minimizing property damage.

Does the RBZ sign really need to be in red? Yes. It really does need to be in red. The black-and-white printed interior of the paperback version is fine–but it doesn’t have a red RBZ sign.

The artwork of Super was lovingly created by graphic designer Charlie Potter, by the way. He’s brilliant and gave both the print and iPad versions of the book a special touch of verisimilitude.

Of course, Super wasn’t built to just be a book–we created so many supplemental videos and other content to go with it, but if you were reading the print version, you would have had to go to my website to find them. Now they’re linked directly from the iPad version of the book.

A Super Action Link, how it appears in Super, showing a link to supplemental material from the Internet

The novel is structured like a series of exams for superheroes trying to achieve the next level of superhero-dom. So naturally there’s a quiz at the end of each chapter. In the print version, there is no way to tell whether you got the correct answer, but in this version, you can get instantaneous feedback on how good of a superhero you are.

Example of a quiz question and answer from the novel Super

We created an online version of the test alongside the print release of Super, wherein people can take the exam and/or view other people’s (sometimes hilarious) answers. But once again, people had to put the book down and go to the website to try that out. Now the online exams are linked directly from the iPad version of the book.

A Super Action Link, how it appears in Super, showing how the online test and other's answers are available

There is also a lot of free content available to increase enjoyment of Super–an in-depth book club discussion guide, a PDF for printing out and folding a chapter of the book into your own cute little mini-booklet, as well as other resources. We created most of these resources alongside the print version, but now they’re accessible directly from this new version of the book.

A Super Action Link, how it appears in Super, showing one of the many links to free content

Sure, these resources were available before, but they were heavily under-used. Now, readers will have access to these resources through a Super Action Link located in the book, right where someone would want to possibly explore the additional resource.

Naturally, the iPad version of Super takes advantage of the many features of the format, such as a lovely table of contents.

A sample of the Table of Contents display in the iPad version of Super

We also transformed some pieces of the novel from static images to interactive infographics. In the following example, the reader can tap the various steps in this stick figure comic book panel to follow the action.

An interactive infographic from the novel Super

Using this format also gave us the ability to simply make things look better. Alabaster Wight’s journal entries never looked better (handwriting designed by Kristen Mullin Bakken).

A page from Alabaster Wight's personal journal

The features help with the presentation of the art, too. As an example, we turned this static image from the print version into a part of a slideshow. The slideshow is a sequence of images demonstrating how to perform a very specific superhero procedure from a fictitious manual. Tip: Don’t forget your titanium cable!

Step one of how to perform superhero procedure HLQ209-F2

We took advantage of the glossary feature of iBooks Author to add a character glossary. In Super there are about a dozen characters, mostly superheroes, that you need to keep track of (if you want to score well on the exams).

Super's glossary of characters

The character glossary gives you a little background about the character, tells you which chapters that character appears in, and if they’re a superhero it’ll tell you their superhero name AND real name (in case you have trouble remembering both).

And I wanted to show you this comment card, just because it’s one of my favorite parts of the book, and it looks lovely in the iPad version.

A superhero comment card from the novel Super

Will there be more iPad books coming out of me in the future? Undoubtedly. The authoring tool is easy to learn and it begs for the type of interactivity I like to design content for. I may even have to design the first iteration of the sequel to Super in it….

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