Yudu is a free service that allows you to upload PDF, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint files to create online magazines. The page turning effect and the zoom options are all built into the technology of Yudu and automatically activated. When your Yudu online magazine is created you can embed it into a blog, wiki, or website. The only drawback to Yudu is that the download option can be hard to find when viewing a document full screen and the download file is a zip file which is a turn-off for some people.
Issuu, like Yudu, offers the option to display your documents with page-turning effects. You can embed your documents with those effects into your blog or website. Issuu also offers a "bookshelf" widget that you can embed into your blog or website to display previews of multiple documents. You can see the Issuu bookshelf widget in the right hand column of Free Technology for Teachers.
DocStoc and Scribd are similar services that can best be described as YouTube for documents. You cannot create documents within either service rather you have to upload documents created with your preferred word processing program. Both services accept all of the common Microsoft formats, Open Office and Neo Office formats, and PDFs. Once you've uploaded your document it will be assigned a url and given an embed code. You can use the embed code to feature your documents on your blog or website. DocStoc and Scribd don't offer page-turning effects like Yudu and Issuu offer.
Youblisher is a PDF publishing service that is very similar to Yudu and Issuu. Youblisher turns your PDFs into online magazines complete with page-turning effects. The documents you upload to your Youblisher account can be embedded into your blog or website.
Tools for building ebooks from scratch.
My Ebook is a new service for creating rich multimedia ebooks. My Ebook allows users to create ebooks that contain text, images, and videos on each page. My Ebook users can create ebooks from scratch or upload their existing PDF files to display in a book format. When starting an ebook from scratch on My Ebook, users can import images from their Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, and Photobucket accounts or upload new images directly to My Ebook. If you don't have any digital images you can select some from My Ebook's gallery. Videos can also be embedded into the pages of My Ebook. My Ebook provides a good variety of themes and templates to give each ebook a different look and feel. Ebooks created using My Ebook can be embedded into blogs and websites or shared via email.
One word of caution about My Ebook, you might not want to let your students browse the library of ebooks without supervision. I didn't see anything that was explicitly bad (the terms of service forbid that type of content) but there is some material that you might not want middle school students accessing.
Simple Booklet offers free online booklet creation and publishing. To create a book using Simple Booklet just sign-up for a free account and click create. Select the layout template that suits your needs. To add content click anywhere on the blank canvas and a menu of options will appear. You can add text, images, audio files, videos, and links to each page of your booklet.
Each page of your Simple Booklet can have multiple elements on it. To include videos you can upload your own files or select from a variety of provides including SchoolTube, TeacherTube, YouTube, and others. To add audio to your pages you can upload your own files or again select from the online hosts Last.fm, Sound Cloud, or Mix Cloud. When you're done building pages in your Simple Booklet you can share it online by embedding it into a webpage or you can share the unique link generated for your booklet.