- why not just get a cheap conversion?
There are plenty of low-cost ebook conversion services and even free conversion tools out there. Many of these claim to simply take your pdf book and in a few clicks transform it into an epub or mobi file. But the truth is while many of these tools will convert your book to the right format, the result is not an ebook you would be willing to sell.
For plain text the results are often not too bad. But introduce anything slightly more complex like special fonts, images, callouts, captions, footnotes, numbering or an index and the ebook it produces can look a disaster. Ebooks are very different to printed books and if you want to ensure your ebook works as well as possible on the widest range of devices then you need a person involved in the process to adapt styling and features and ensure they really work.
- how different will this look to my print book?
It is important to appreciate that ebooks are very different to printed books. Please see what is an ebook for full details. When designing your ebook we may need adapt the styles to ensure things work properly as reflowable content on the widest range of devices.
These will be different to your printed book. The heading fonts used for your print-book may not be licensed for embedding into an ebook and will be replaced with a similar free-font instead. The main body font shown will then be determined by the reader of the book from those offered on their e-ink or digital device.
If your print book has page design features like a colored background, watermark or header text, these will not be included in a reflowable ebook where there are no pages. The html in ebooks also does not enable text to be wrapped around images or in columns so it will instead be rearranged to flow continuously in a single column. Tables also have issues as html so these are captured from the print version and included as images.
keeping things together
You may have specified things on your book pages that you wanted to 'keep together' such as text introducing a list, table rows, images with their captions etc. This is much trickier in ebooks since the reader can change the font size so forcing items together can cause unsightly gaps to appear on the preceding pages.
Some ereaders are color, and some are in black and white. The most popular e-ink Kindle devices only use black text and images. This means that any elements of your printed book that were in color will now appear in grayscale instead.
If you have a contents page in your printed book, there is no need for this in the ebook. In an ebook, the contents is integrated in the ebook software itself so readers can access this inbuilt navigation from their menu at any time, rather than needing to turn to a specific page.
Tables in your ebook will look exactly the same as those in your print book as they are captured as images. This is mainly because reflowable html tables can display different behaviour depending on the device they are being reviewed on so placing a table as an image is far more reliable.
You want your ebook to work on the widest range of devices. This means it's important not to adjust things to work for a specific device or viewing setup.
- how much will my job be?
Even though books to be converted can range significantly in their complexity, the vast majority of ebook conversions we produce are quoted at standard price.
$0.53 USD per printed page to be converted.
$280 USD minimum fee applies to every job.
Only if the print book were unusually complex would the price for conversion to ebook format be higher. This may be because the book contains a large number of links, cross-references or an index or it includes an unusually large number of images that need processing. In cases like these the per page pricing is likely to increase to around $0.85 USD per printed page to be converted.
- can you create an ebook without a pdf?
In order to create an ebook we would typically start by converting the PDF produced for your print. If you do not have a print book then it is possible for us to start work from your MS Word file instead but we will need to do some work to prepare it first. This work absolutely does not need to be as comprehensive as it would be for a print book, but we will at least need to ensure all the key elements of the book are identified, the structure is clear and any styling has been chosen. Please speak to us for further details and pricing.
- what about my ebook cover?
The first page of your ebook will be an elastic cover image. Here we take the front cover image from your print book and style it so it expands to fit the screen appropriately on any small ereader device. If we have created your print book cover then we will have the cover file in the format required. If your cover was created elsewhere please provide it as a pdf and we will crop and include this accordingly.
The back cover is not typically included in an ebook file. Marketing information such as the book synopsis or author bio should instead be included as metadata when the book is submitted for distribution.
- what happens to my index?
There are no pages in an ebook, content just flows to fill the screen. The content on p39 of one person’s ereader may therefore be entirely different to someone else’s. It will all depend on how big their screen is and how big they’ve set the font, spacing, and margins. As a result referencing a specific page in an index like you would in a print book just makes no sense.
The index in an ebook therefore needs to be adapted and done differently. Entries will be changed from page numbers to 1, 2 to indicate that word or topic’s 1st and 2nd instance. Readers can then click these hyperlinked numbers to navigate to the correct position in the book, then click the reference from within the body of the book to navigate back to the index again.
- what about equations?
The answer for this is very different depending on whether the equations included in your book are display equations or inlines. Just ask our designers to assess your file. They can quickly determine whether any rework is required to prepare your book for conversion to ebook format.
These will be fine in the ebook version. Your ebook designer will simply insert each of these as an image between paragraphs and they will look exactly as they do in the print-book version.
If your ebook contains lots of little equations and within paragraphs of text, this is going to cause a problem. Ebooks are reflowable which means readers can change font, size. Tiny equations inserted as images will therefore end up peppered among text all out of alignment. As a result, the book file will need to be reworked first and inlines either re-entered as plain text or turned into display equations instead.
- how can I review my ebook?
You cannot just double-click an epub or mobi file and try to review it in your browser. Not only are these filetypes not supported by most browsers but your readers won't be reading your ebook on their desktop computer so it is just not representative of their experience.
To open an ebook file you need a proper e-ink device like a Kindle, Nook or Kobo or a digital tablet like an iPad or Android. Full details on how to upload your files to your ereader are provided on our help pages.
If you do not own a Kindle, one other option for reviewing the mobi file is to use the Kindle Previewer. Just visit the downloads section to review your file in a variety of font sizes and formats with the Kindle Previewer 3.31. See this page for tips on how to review your ebook.
- what if I need changes?
Your ebook is a conversion of your print book. Any changes required will typically fall into one of these categories:
Before requesting styling changes it is important to appreciate that your book styling will need to be adapted when converted to ebook. Please see how different will this look to my print book for further details. If you still require styling updates please explain these as clearly as possible.
When requesting edits it is important to consider if these will also apply to your print book. If so, simply mark the edits on your print-book pdf and we will update both files to keep the two in-synch. Our standard changes fees from $48 USD will apply to each file.
When your book is converted to ebook format every single piece of text, list, heading, table, link and image is tagged and converted to html. The rest is carefully checked, adjusted, styled by one of our technicians and quality checked. However, it is still possible for an error to creep in such as an incorrect break, odd symbol or missed heading. So if you spot something please just send us include an image of the issue—either as a screen capture or photo—and we will investigate for you.
- can I get a file for Smashwords?
Smashwords offer a large, popular platform for the distribution of novels. Their in-house ebook converter was established as a quick and easy way to convert tagged Word documents into epub files. It is clever for simple text conversions but for anything with a more complex structure the results can be terrible. Many of our customers come to us because they are horrified by the complaints they receive about their book from readers and they are looking to have the conversion done professionally.
Fortunately, Smashwords now accept properly prepared epub files for distribution as well. Our service will prepare a proper epub file which is standards compliant so it will be accepted by Smashwords and other online stores, as well as being a pleasure to read on any e-reader device.
- what about ebook security?
If you read ebooks, you've probably heard the term DRM or digital rights management. DRM exists to control access to copyrighted materials by preventing users from illegally copying and using software and data. It effectively locks your ebook file so that only the person who purchased it can view it.
The ebooks we produce do not contain DRM as, in our experience, adding it can cause problems. It is intended as an anti-piracy deterrent but can cause issues for legitimate readers such as preventing them from reading the book on multiple devices. If you wish to add DRM then most retailers will offer the option of adding either Amazon, Adobe or Apple DRM when uploading your files.
- how do I upload my ebook for sale?
Once complete we return your final ebook files ready for distribution. If you are using our ebook publishing service services we submit this file for distribution for you.
If you are using an alternative distributor or handling your own ebook distribution then you will need to do this in your own account. Be sure to upload the correct file for printing, that means the .mobi file to Amazon and the .epub file to Apple, Google or Barnes & Noble. You will also have received a cover image file from us prepared for you to submit to retailers.
All ebook files are verified to the latest ePubCheck and ePubPreFlight standards. However, individual ebook retailers will occasionally update their checking standards without prior notification. Should your ebook file show any errors when uploaded, please just contact us with details and include a screenshot of the issue.
Tip: When completing your author, title and keyword tags in your metadata do take care to make this match between the print and ebook version if you want the retailer to show them in a combined listing.
- what are your terms?
We do not have a written contract for you to sign. Instead we ask that you have read this know what you're buying section and accept our general terms and conditions which we have tried to make short and readable.