What is more fun than sitting in front of a blank screen (or piece of paper) and filling it with a story? What to write about, you might ask? Well, practically anything. A fly on the wall, a building oh so tall, a magical wand that loses its spell, a secretive language that I know very well, a book, a hook, a nose on a shnook, a peter, a pepper, a Norwegian shlepper. Or maybe a story or two about gum, just how it was born and where it comes from. I’m out of ideas, so I’m waiting for you. To log on to Ourboox, and write your story. Or two.
It’s that time of year to reach out to thank our thousands of authors and readers, across the globe. It’s been a great 2016 for Ourboox with over 750,000 unique page views (each book is a page!), and almost 8,000 books on over seventy subjects, and in twenty different languages. What does 2017 hold in store? More features and surprises, that’s what. So please spread the word about our free website and how it enables anyone to create amazing digital picture books, incorporating text, figures, maps, videos and almost everything else, including the kitchen sink. Please share the url’s of the books that you love, the ones you’ve written, and help us spread the word. We need you with us!
With best wishes,
Shuli, Mel, Ran, Maya and Ourboox lovers everywhere!
As the holidays of light draw nigh (Christmas and Hanuka arrive together this year), we are witnessing an influx of stories about the holidays. And why not? These two holidays for Christians and Jews are the time families get together, sometimes from far and wide, share gifts, stories, take photos, decorate trees and hanukiot, and create memories. Ourboox is happy to be part of this process. On our platform, you can create a book, add a few words about your family, your memories, a few family pictures and even embed a video of Bing Crosby singing I’m dreaming of a White Christmas (I recently began to realize that Jews can also take pride in this song, given that it was written by a Jewish guy whose original name was Israel Baline). On Ourboox, you can go back at any time and edit and update your book. And you can always share the url with family, friends and anyone. Oh, and it is completely free to use. So you can save your money for all the presents!
Two days ago, I was giving a talk to 150 teachers of English as a second language. I wanted to give them an idea of books their pupils could write. Then, Rogers and Hammerstein came to the rescue. Of course! I simply remembered “My favorite things”. It’s easy for everyone to write about their favorite food, holiday, pet, trip, pastime, hobby, book. Yesterday I continued with another group of teachers. We added pictures, text, embedded videos and Google maps, and had a great time. Here is one sample. Perhaps you can do better!!! So, go ahead, write a book about “My Favorite Things” and share it with the world. And me. http://www.ourboox.com/books/my-favorite-things-20/
As the year 2016 comes to a close, it’s time to thank some of our stars during the past year – those of you who have contributed time, efforts, and even money, to help us in our quest to be the best website ever for creating and sharing digital picture books. First, to my dear wife Shuli, who as CEO has lent her vision and support (and of course half of the investment), to partner, co-founder and resident web genius Ran Shternin, who continues to make the site better and better (check out the new Activity Feed on the homepage, for example), to our social queen, Maya Hed, for spreading the word (well, the books, actually) far and wide, to Nik Peachey for publishing such a beautiful piece about Ourboox ( http://bit.ly/2aihOSG) to Stephen Pohlmann and Alon Cohen who have provided financial assistance, our advisory team (Tal Givoly, we are planning to use your awesome idea in 2017, and yes, Avi Shechter we must meet!) with a special shout out to Jeff Pulver who is always full of great advice. our wonderful lawyer Guy Lachman, our prolific writers (Amnon Yoged comes immediately to mind), the thousands of teachers who are using Ourboox with their students (Malu, you deserve a star here), and our millions of writers and readers. Go on, give yourselves a big like!!!
New features are in store in 2017, so be prepared to be surprised. Wishing us all a wonderful year!!!
Every couple of weeks, I get into my car and head up to the Lebanese border, where I teach dozens of teachers how to use Ourboox. I love it, they love it. Last week I addressed a group of Arab science teachers. I told them that many hundreds of children here are writing books in Arabic that are shared and read throughout the Arab world. Some of the teachers had already heard of Ourboox. In fact, one of the teachers had participated in a movie on how to create a book (in Arabic, of course).
Some 15% of the books on the platform are in Arabic. They are read throughout the Arab world. Here is one on the environment that has been read over 4000 times around the Arab world.
Call it our little contribution to understanding and sharing, nothing more.
Here is one of the books, read almost 5000 times. Mabruq!
I thought that I would have a lot of time to sit back and reflect on my life, write some pithy lines, but I have become incredibly busy teaching at colleges and universities, and now acting as advisor to Prof. Yuli Tamir, the president of Shenkar college. And of course, lecturing about Ourboox (primarily to teachers) and doing some writing of my own. So here’s the irony: I’m still up and around, running as hard as I ever did, and don’t have time to sit down on the milestone and contemplate. And maybe that’s the best gift of all. So happy birthday to me. May I continue to be too busy to reflect on becoming a chronological senior! And may I always always remain a child at heart.
For the past five years, I’ve taught an academic course in sixties music at Tel Aviv University. All my lectures (and I mean all of them) are on Ourboox. I show the books on the screen and the students can follow them anywhere. Have a look at one of them: http://www.ourboox.com/books/what-made-the-beatles-the-beatles/
In the book I can incorporate text (with hyperlinks), videos, embed quizzes (Which Beatle do you like best? Google forms), padlets (so the students can voice their opinions) and much more. Check this e-book out for some of the other things you can do. http://www.ourboox.com/books/ourboox-for-teachers-and-teaching-3/.
Of course, it’s even better when the students start creating their own e-books on our platform. In addition to writing skills, they gain expertise in embedding material from other websites, they learn to be authors, and they can take pride in their individuality and their achievements. Try it out tomorrow and let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello to Ourboox authors and readers. As we get ready for 2017 (yes, it’s right around the corner), it’s time to think about the cool improvements and features that we are planning for the coming year. Are there features we should be incorporating? Write below or send us private messages, we promise to answer everyone! Here are some of the favorites on our wishlist, but are they yours too?
Authors will be able to receive small donations from readers that like their books or want to support the authors.
Improved reading experience on smartphones.
Even simpler book creation experience!
Allowing authors to download pdfs of their own work (this may be a pay-for-service, though)
We want to hear your ideas too!
Someday he’ll come along
The publisher I’ll love,
And he’ll be cool and strong
The publisher I’ll love,
And when he comes ourboox way
We’ll do our best to make him stay.
We’ll make a category for him,
And people will publish their stories,
And improve their writing skills,
And if a book is seen by thousands
And becomes very popular,
He’ll publish it.
Well, I did meet two amazing publishers during the last month, one local and one in Europe. And both understood that instead of rejecting practically all the manuscripts they receive, that they can open up a ‘writers’ school’ on our platform and ask authors to upload their stories for the public to see and appraise. Books that are seen by thousands of eyes, or are highly praised might then be published in paper format.
Will this happen soon? I hope so. It is the best way of combining traditional publishing with the advantages of Ourboox and e-books in general. Stay tuned. This is a dream that will come true this year.