Apple iBooks and Parcels From Home


Parcels From Home: Jack's War
Parcels From Home: Jack’s War

Two new New Zealand multi-touch books available in Apple’s iBooks explore the power of the platform — Please excuse me for blowing my own trumpet to some extent, but this is the culmination of seven years research and writing work for me, and, for both Steve Bolton and Paul Luker, a year of intensive work on Jack’s War (NZ$8.99).

We have released the first two Parcels From Home books into the iBooks Store. Both books talk about the New Zealand Red Cross POW parcel scheme in World War Two, and these releases coincide with Anzac Day and, on May 8th, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two in Europe. The books take different approaches: Parcels From Home: The POW Parcels Scheme and the New Zealand Red Cross in World War Two is a history book covering the worldwide parcel scheme and, much more specifically, the stellar New Zealand role in the scheme in relation to our c9000 prisoners of Germany, while Parcels From Home: Jack’s War is a work of ‘creative non-fiction’ in graphic novel form. It’s fully illustrated – beautifully illustrated – by New Zealand author and artist Steve Bolton.

Societally — The books uncover facets of the war often mentioned, rarely described. Over 100,000 New Zealanders served in World War Two – but back here, over a million struggled with the war, the emergency, privations, loss and fear back home. They kept New Zealand running to support our forces and to safeguard our precious democracy. One of the ways they coped was by helping the Red Cross. The books explore what went on at the battlefront and in the POW camps, but they also explain what went on back in New Zealand. (A percentage of sales will go to NZ Red Cross.)

Special features — Both books support Apple’s cool iBooks multi-touch features. Although they only work on iPad and Mac (there’s too much going on to fit them onto iPhone screens) they support Apple’s note-taking and highlighting features. Buy one book once and install it on both your Mac and iPad. Stop reading on a page on your Mac and open it on your iPad, and it opens to the page you finished on. Any notes or highlighting you added on one device appears in the book on the next – all thanks to Apple’s brilliant implementation of iCloud, of course. Both books support thumbnail Contents view (buttons appear at top left) for fast navigation, and search. As study aids these features put them into a league well above traditional books, much as we love traditional books.
But we went further, thanks to Paul Luker’s design acumen. In Parcels From Home (NZ$12.99), images ‘pop’ and expand when you tap or click them. Some of these images have never been published before, by the way. You can zoom in – two fingers placed on an iPad screen or Mac trackpad and spread apart – lets you zoom in and inspect them even more closely. We have some primary source interviews with New Zealand WII veterans and, in some cases, you can hear them.
Bold text means a glossary reference. Tap/click it and you can see where the information came from. The glossary is in both books as a study aid.
In Jack’s War, we have added an extensive glossary too, but also sound files with the authentic sounds of, for example, some military equipment: hear a real Bren Gun, or German Stuka, as well as some environmental effects. There are also informational pop-ups.  Foreign words show translations when you tap or click them.

Both books are have special, integrated multi-media features
Both books are have special, integrated multi-media features

Big plans —We have a third Parcels From Home book in the pipeline.  This will be released in November 2015 to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of NZ Red Cross. This is an expanded history book with more images, more information, more sound files and a whole additional chapter on the War in the Pacific. It will cost NZ$18.99. But before that we have Lynda Nunweek’s brilliant book about friends growing up in New Zealand in World War One, the start of an engaging series. We are translating When The World Returns about Dutch WWII resistance figure Wim Naeijé – this has never been published in English and the author is adding in extra content for CreativeTech.
We have a range of extremely interesting books coming out, including never-before-published NZ band photos by outstanding photographer Frances Carter, currently working in New York … and much more.

Stay tuned — Search on ‘CreativeTech’ or ‘Parcels From Home’ in iBooks to find our volumes. If you consider buying them, I’d appreciate it – all the work I detailed above has, so far, been done for love. We don’t receive a cent until we sell some books. We made these because we thought the stories needed to be told.
Thank you, most sincerely, in advance!

Launches — We have two. The first is in Wellington at the NZ Red Cross HQ presented by NZ Red Cross director Doctor Jenny McMahon and MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson on April 24th, and another in Auckland upstairs at the Grey Lynn Returned Services Club on May 1st. We will display interesting items and show how the books work at these events – and we can for your interest group as well, on request.

For review copies, more information, to schedule a free talk or presentation, please email Mark Webster at markwebster at vodafone.co.nz.