Wednesday 10 December 2014

Beautiful books - on screen!

This month at Albury Books, we have been having some fun creating gorgeous fixed layout eBooks from our picture book catalogue. As we have an extensive list of children’s books, we’ve been experimenting with the digital content we can create for children, while making every effort to maintain the incomparable charm of a printed book.

What is so lovely about our digital versions of each title, is how the quality of our digital production enables an eBook to be seen as a viable and convenient alternative to print, without having to compromise on the quality of a printed colour book.

Whilst nothing compares to the experience of reading a physical book, creating high quality eBooks for children means they can experience all the magic of their favourite stories and characters, even when they are out-and-about. Of course it also means that it’s no longer necessary for their parents or guardians to lug around a bag full of heavy, increasingly dog-eared books all day - great news all round!

Childrens books on screen – a great way to read when we are on the go! 

Many authors and illustrators are also turning their works digital to supplement existing print editions, and it’s a great way to revive dusty backlist titles! Another reason that digitialisation is becoming more and more popular, is the financial attractiveness in the one-off cost to create digital files. Once ready, these files can be put up for sale and because there is only the nominal creation cost to recoup, the profit margins on mid to long-term sales of eBooks are often very attractive.

Increasingly, we have also seen demand for digital picture book creation as a way for authors and illustrators and small publishers to test new products in the market. While a book has much more charm in its physical format than when presented on a screen, a title’s digital popularity can be an invaluable tool for gauging the viability of funding a print run for small publishers and individuals alike.

If you’ve created a children’s book and think that digitalisation could complement your current offering, we can offer you the tools to make it a reality. You don’t need to be a tech-wizard and you don’t need to spend a fortune! Our digitalisation options are diverse, and with some technical magic we can also add some extra sparkle to your digital children’s titles with animation and sound.

Whether you want to bring characters to life with simple animation, or have the story read to the child with word-synced audio, the diversity of our digital capabilities means that we are able to provide a wide range of affordable options to all our customers.

With our no obligation samples for fixed layout eBooks, you can see for yourself the impressive quality of our digitalisation work. If you are impressed - which we’re sure you will be - we’ll create the final versions for you to sell direct.

To find out more about our eBook services, or to enquire about getting a fixed layout sample, contact us today.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Book Launch for 'Lightning' by Lesley Cheetham

Lesley Cheetham is an author and librarian at the Elizabeth Garret Anderson School in London, who has self-published a trio of brilliant YA novels under her personal imprint, Lambchop Publishing. She joined up with Albury Books earlier this year in time for the publication her most recent novel, Lightning.

With all four of Lesley's titles now under the Albury Fiction imprint, we are delighted to be able to announce this evening's launch of Lightning, in London, at:

Oxfam Bookshop on Upper Street
Thursday 4th December


Lesley's second YA novel, Her Other Voice, is the follow up to, Her Sister's Voice, which won the prestigious Islington Read Teen Award, beating off competition from RJ Palacio's, Wonder, Jeff Kinney's, The Third Wheel, and David Walliams', Demon Dentist.

Each of Lesley's books place a focus on the issues that many teenage girls face as a result of the constant pressure and expectation they feel to perform in their lives.

Lesley Cheetham Her Other VoiceLesley Cheetham Her Sister's VoiceHer Sister's Voice, creates a poignant comment upon the deafening volume that the inner voice of 'I'm not good enough' can reach. This is extended by Lesley into an exploration of how behaviour patterns such as repetition and denial, which initially are often used to combat and find some control amongst feelings of inadequacy, become all encompassing and driven forwards by an increasingly irrational and demanding Voice that inhabits their psyche. The book charts Leila's battle to defeat the Voice inside of her, but despite her efforts, the challenges that are placed in her way by the circumstance of life serve only to make her battle more difficult.

Lesley Cheetham Someone Like MeThe character of the Voice in both books, develops into a menacing and uncontrollable force, picking its victims from among the insecure and self-questioning. Yet, all the teen characters in both, Her Sister's Voiceand its sequel, Her Other Voice, conform to this character trait in one way or another. The only difference between the characters is that the victims who suffer the most, are those who have stayed silent about their troubles, whereas those who share their problems are able to overcome them before they become an overwhelming burden.

In Lightning we see the same themes of compulsion rise again, with the main character fighting against anxiety and OCD, however unlike in HOV and HSV, this is something that Elsie manages to find a way to control before it consumes her. The book itself follows Lesley's change of sub-genre direction, begun with her mystery-driven third book, Someone Like Me, which was named Islington Council's Book of the Month. Lightning is driven forwards by remnants of the effects that Elsie feels after being struck by lightning. Now able to see things in a new light, her voyage of discovery is given direction by the mystery that reveals itself to her, whether it's wanted or not. The tandem voyage of self-discovery that Elsie goes on when distracted by the events around her, show how change can be good and how you can overcome your fears by facing them head-on.

Lesley Cheetham
The diversity of Lesley's four novels, and the ease with which she creates relatable and sympathetic characters in her stories, has proven her to be an exciting and talented YA author who shines a much-needed light into the darker portions of a typical teenage mind. Thoughts and feelings that many readers will be familiar with, are presented starkly on the pages of each of her books, creating for the reader a kind of cathartic acknowledgement that you are not alone. It's just that all too often, people are so worried about what others will think, that they hesitate to talk openly about them.

We would like to wish Lesley all the best of luck for her launch this evening, and very much look forwards to working with her on more of her fantastic books!

If you have any queries about Lesley Cheetham she can be contacted through her Facebook Page, or if you would like to buy any of her books, they are available from Lesley's Albury BookShelf

by Hannah 
Publishing Controller at Albury Books

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Miriam Halahmy's Pop Up Event at the Jewish Museum with the Elizabeth Garret Anderson School

At the beginning of July, our wonderful author Miriam Halahmy, took part in a literary event organised by Pop Up Projects, at the Jewish Museum in London.

This is the second year Miriam has partnered with the Pop Up Festival to teach an interactive class to students of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School. This year, the focus was on Miriam's most recently released title, Stuffed, which deals with issues of identity, displacement, and the impact that fleeting choices can on our long-term futures.

The session focused on tying in the setting of the Jewish Museum - which was kindly opened up for the event by Senior Educator, Judith Vandervelde - with Stuffed, to create a fully immersive educative experience for the students.
The situation that Jess, one of the main characters in Stuffed, finds herself in with her family, resonated well with some of the object collections within the museum and allowed the group to focus on thinking about the emotional attachments people place on their own personal possessions, especially when forced to leave their home in a hurry.
The types of issues tackled by Miriam in her other titles in the Hayling Cycle, Hidden and Illegal, enabled Miriam and Judith to branch out and tie in more elements of the issues touched on by the museum exhibits, giving the students a good breadth of variety during the event.

We had a quick chat with Miriam following the event to gather some of her thoughts on the day:

What would you pack?
"I was invited to run a session at the Jewish Museum in July, as part of this summer's Pop Up festival, with a Y7 class of girls from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson school. To prepare for the session the English teacher asked the girls to read my third novel, STUFFED. 

"Together with Judith Vandervelde, Museum Education Officer, we planned a session around the theme of having only five minutes to pack and leave your home forever. This theme reflects exhibits in the Museum on the Kindertransport and also themes in my novels of the plight of asylum seekers in HIDDEN and the lost of the  home to bailiffs in STUFFED. 

Reading the drama script!
"The girls engaged with great enthusiasm with the session. They had all read STUFFED and some of them had read one or two of the other Hayling books. They loved reading out a drama script I had written, adapted from a scene from the book and had many interesting questions and observations, both in the classroom sessions and going round the museum. 

"An excellent morning with a lovely school and a wonderful London museum".

For more information about Miriam's titles in The Hayling Cycle, or to purchase a copy, please visit the Albury Books Fiction Store!

Great thanks goes to The Jewish Museum for hosting the event, and to Pop Up Projects for organising a lovely day out for everyone involved.

For more information about either the Jewish Museum or Pop Up , please visit their websites below:

The Jewish Museum

Pop Up Projects

Friday 28 February 2014

The Launch of Miriam Halahmy's 'Stuffed' with Blackwell's in Portsmouth

Wednesday was a very exciting day for everyone at Albury Books

After lots of hard work from all involved, Stuffed, by Miriam Halahmy, was finally printed, bound, and ready to be released into the reading world... 

To celebrate the publication of, StuffedMiriam Halahmy's latest addition to, The Hayling Cycle, we travelled down to Portsmouth for the launch party, which was very kindly hosted by the wonderful staff at Blackwell's.

Miriam Halahmy Stuffed Albury Books
Miriam Halahmy at Blackwell's Portsmouth for the launch of Stuffed

A great thanks to Jo and the rest of the staff at Blackwell's Portsmouth from everyone at Albury Books for putting on such a wonderful evening (and also for painstakingly stuffing all of the canapés in honour of the title! - They were delicious!)

For those unfamiliar with Miriam's books, Stuffed, is the third addition to her engaging cycle of novels, all of which are set on Hayling Island. 
Hayling Island

The Hayling Cycle, tackles important, yet often uncomfortable issues with intriguing and imaginative prose, which encapsulates the teen voice perfectly. Each book provides an enlightening portrait of struggles that people trapped by circumstance are forced to endure. 

Miriam's first addition to the cycle, Hidden, focuses on immigration, and unravels some of the reasons why people seek asylum and society's reaction to it from a teen perspective. 

Following on from this, Illegal, deals with the day-to-day pressures and decisions many young people are forced to face as they grow-up exposed to a life of drugs and crime.

The Hayling Cycle

In each story, major characters from one will often appear as minor walk-on characters in another, weaving an interesting web of relationships and interactions between the lives of each character. 

The intriguing way in which Miriam has crafted the Cycle, means that each novel is a stand-alone story of its own, but by reading all the books, your overall reading experience in enriched through a familiarity with the wider character base. 

Stuffed, is the story of Jess and Ryan - teenagers who are falling in love, but both of whom have secrets they need to face up to the reality of...

Jess is fifteen, Ryan is seventeen and they are falling in love. But each is keeping a terrible secret from the other. On a weekend away rock climbing they move closer until a terrifying incident drives a new wedge between them. Can Jess save her family from Dad's mistakes and will Ryan resolve his mess from the past? If not, then their loved is doomed to failure. 

 Heartbreaking, painfully clear and filled with suspense, Stuffedis a really great read for people of all ages. We've just had the first review come in from Books, Teens & Magazines - who have given, Stuffed, a brilliant four stars!

'...the story is realistic and interesting, and when you close the book at the end you are left wondering what the future will hold...'
- Books, Teens & Magazines

Read the full review here

Stuffed, and the rest of The Hayling Cycle, is available now from the Albury Books fiction store, and from all major online retailers and select book shops.

Hannah @ Albury Books

Thursday 19 September 2013

Big Books, Small Books, Soft Books, Hard Books, Flat Books, Shiny Books, Matt Books, Board Books, Bath Books, Pop-up Books... Shoe Books?!

Here at Albury Children's Books, we do lots of interesting things with books to enhance them beyond just the words and illustrations...

The first thing that many people think of when publishing a children's book, is whether they would like their book to be hardback or paperback. But beyond this, what is there? The waters can become a bit murky, and the endless options available to authors and illustrators are often, sadly, not fully explored.

In order to make sure that both our authors and those thinking of publishing with us can discover the huge capabilities that we have on offer here, we have put together a few examples of some of the more exciting book production options that we are able to fulfil. Enjoy!

Board Books

Board books come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, plus their design is easily customisable so our authors can incorporate unique elements, just like the picture on the left. These board books have handles incorporated into the binding so that they are easy to carry around, or attach to a buggy.
In the picture on the right, each board book within the collection features a different story topic. The books fit snugly into a sturdy presentation box, making them both easy to transport and a great gift item for young children.
Sometimes though, no matter how hard you try, small children will try their very best to tear their much loved books limb from limb, leaving you with a pile of torn pages... Not so with this spiral binding option. With a spiral bind, the pages of a board book are held firmly together by the plastic spiral, meaning that little ones can try their very best to pull, tug and throw them down the stairs, but the pages will remain intact, firmly threaded onto the spiral. Genius!

Waterproof Books

Bathtime - an essential, but wet and stormy end to each day! With waterproof books like those shown in the pictures, you can distract the little Poseidons from trying to flood the bathroom with a good story...

Pop-Up Books  

Pop-up books are great fun for all ages. The surprising joy that each pop-up page brings to readers, both old and young, is something that can be used as a great tool to enhance understanding and encourage the enjoyment of reading. 

We all had our own favourite pop-up books as a child, and now with advancements in technology and digital printing, we are able to create increasingly detailed and intricate pop-up designs, as seen in the picture on the top right. On the top left, the pop-up fruit you can see is an example of pop-up books being used to encourage interaction with a book's narrative. Finally, you will see a wonderful example of a pop-up that can be detached from the book and hung up, keeping a physical reminder of the story, even when your book is safely back on the shelf. 

Unusual Books

The imaginations of authors, illustrators and creatives are often filled to the brim with brilliant ideas that stretch beyond the boundaries of a printed page... If you are one of these people, we would love to help you create the book of your wildest, most inventive dreams. Take a look at some of the examples below to get a flavour of the lengths we can and will go to for our Albury Books authors and illustrators... 

 A book with an accompanying puzzle... Not so puzzling to create though!
A book with 3D fabric elements.... Nobody is going to be pulling funny faces like these if you want to create children's books like this!
A book with an accompanying toy - a great idea for authors who plan to have merchandising created to develop a brand for their books...
Books in unusual shapes -  these are fun, and brilliant for festive occasions like Halloween, Christmas and Birthdays. You could even have a one-off, personalised book made in the shape of a gift for your child's birthday...

The options are virtually endless. Whatever you want, we can create.

So, now you can see for yourself that we are able to make some truly amazing books here at Albury Books, but we would like to finish off by showing you that we can also make normal books too! Big books, small books, harback books, paperback books, shiny books, matt books and everything inbetween books...

(Yes, we know that the monkey one has an amazing cover... not quite a 'normal' book, but then again, who wants normal when you can have extraordinary?)

Albury Books