Appraisal of online tutorial materials/Evaluation Report for Distributing and Marketing Ebooks

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Material evaluated[edit]

Lynda online video tutorial about how to distribute and promote ebooks through major online ebook retail websites, such as Amazon and Apple iBookstore.

Structured evaluation[edit]

  • Was the material appropriate to beginner level?

Yes. But not appropriate for authors wishing to engage in non-commercial supply of ebooks (i.e. for educational purposes). The level of detail was appropriate for those who may be completely unfamiliar with the topic or the process. Some content, especially statistical data, was more complex and potentially not suitable for a beginner. But that information was not essential for understanding the topic/process as a whole. Some of the complex content can be skipped over without leaving the audience unable to follow other topics.

  • Was the production quality of the material good, average or poor?

Good. Audio was clear, visuals were basic, like an audio-captured lecture. On-screen text was simple, generally minimal.

  • Rate the duration of the material.

It took as long as it needed to take - not too long, not too brief.

Other comments about the material[edit]

  • Sometimes needed to close video and re-open from the menu. This is likely due to internet outages reported on the day the resource was accessed.
  • Covers additional topics that are useful but not necessarily considered to be essential or relevant to the topic, though valuable.
  • Content goes on for a long time before there is any activity/interactivity required from the audience.
  • The order of some content is questionable. Sometimes concepts aren't introduced with a basic statement of why it's important at that stage, or its relevance in general.

Searching for equivalent, freely accessible alternatives to the Lynda resource[edit]

For the comparison aspect of this research project. I attempted to locate similar instructional videos available through free-access platforms, such as YouTube.

The search process

I attempted four different search terms, based on chapter titles from the Lynda resource. Adopting different terminology to that used in the Lynda chapter titles yielded the best results.

  1. how to distribute ebooks - yielded insufficient appropriate results.
  2. how to distribute ebooks "step by step" - yielded YouTube playlist containing 4 videos: "Ebook Creation and Distribution, including Strategies". Product sales-type videos, not good quality. Audio included loud background music interfering with piece to camera. Targets different audience - those for whom the concept is completely new.
  3. Getting ebook files onto devices - yielded instructions on how customers could transfer purchased ebook files to their mobile devices.
  4. Publishing ebook files - proved to be the most appropriate search term.

Using the fourth search term, I found How to Format .epub and .mobi (Kindle) Ebook Files video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3lvhRpJrIg

Overall search time & evaluation of results until successful: 5-8 minutes.

Structured evaluation of alternative material[edit]

  • Was the material appropriate to beginner level?

The video was appropriate for somebody who has written a book and is preparing to publish/distribute it. It didn't go into much detail about some of the technical aspects or explain why some steps needed to be done, or what they meant.

  • Was the production quality of the material good, average or poor?

Screen-capture video. Audio was clear but visuals were not high-resolution; a bit blurry, particularly at full screen view. Narrator clearly spoken.

  • Rate the duration of the material

It dragged on through some aspects; it could benefit from some editing of extraneous or duplicated explanations. A bit slow-moving at times.

Other comments about the alternative material[edit]

The video was a bit repetitive about some topics, especially in explaining the separation of chapters into documents. It did not go into the same level of detail about different elements of the publishing/distribution process, which would be necessary for novice ebook authors. Some information would still need to be sought from elsewhere. This would be problematic for those who don't know what other information they may need to know about before proceeding.

Summary[edit]

Searching for other content for fuller comparison against Lynda course would take extra time. Searching "marketing ebooks" yielded better results when searching in YouTube than when searching the whole internet using Google. The Lynda resource took greater consideration of possible audience and their needs. It presents value in the sort of material it has curated and produced. It would take some effort for staff (or volunteer communities) to curate an equivalent, appropriate playlist on a platform such as YouTube. However the benefit would be that content curated in a YouTube playlist can be accessed from almost anywhere without requiring an institutional login.