Tag Archives: self-publishing

Why must creating an eBook be so mysterious?

“Something to read and enough coffee” originally uploaded to flickr by bibliothekarin

Happy Movember book folks!

We hope you are all having a wonderful autumn season so far. Fall always makes us think about books (although I think about books everyday, since I work in publishing). I think it has to do with the warmer layers, pumpkin spice lattes and mint mochas, and snuggling up by the fire, not to mention that it gets dark by 4 pm. Curling up with a good book just fits right in with all that.

Since books have been on the brain more than usual, I have been doing a lot of eBook work over here at the Playfort. Seems there is a lot of information on tips and tricks for creating ebooks on the interweb. By Googling the subject I was able to find a bunch of good (and not so good) info for creating eBooks using Adobe InDesign. I even managed to turn our current titles into eBooks without any prior knowledge.

The problem arose when I found out that eBooks must meet certain criterion to be considered valid by retailers and others that distribute eBooks, and if they don’t these retailers would not go near them with a ten-foot pole.  And my eBooks did not pass EPUB Check. Of course once I found that out I went searching for information about how to get them to pass EPUB Check, and I couldn’t really find anything concrete. Why must creating an eBook be so mysterious?

Then we found out about eBOUND Canada, a not-for-profit focused on helping Canadian publishers advance their digital engagement. And they don’t discriminate. Even though we are a very small Canadian publisher, they offered us the same level of help and access as they give their larger members. So we signed up to be a member and I instantly had access to tutorials that showed me EXACTLY how to convert my books into EPUBs and how to get them to pass EPUB Check. Because of that I was able to turn five of our titles into validated EPUB format eBooks and should be able to convert them to MOBI (for Amazon’s Kindle eReader platform) pretty easily. So if you are a Canadian publisher struggling with how to turn your print books into digital eBooks, I suggest you become a member of the Association of Canadian Publishers (ACP) and eBOUND Canada. They are very helpful and offer great discounts on publishing services to their members. There is a cost to membership, depending on your annual revenue. But if you will use their services, it’s worth it.

If you are an author looking to self-publish, you may have better luck paying a company to create your eBook for you. I managed to find a listing of companies that do this work, although I know there are many others. This is a very new industry, and there isn’t really a master list of where to find these professionals. You should do a bit of research on the companies you are considering paying for this service, as they do not all offer the same services, and you want to make sure they are a good fit with you. Also, with most publishers turning their backlist into eBooks right now, a lot of these companies may be backlogged with work, and I cannot guarantee that they will have the time to take on your project.

I am glad that we have found some great help with ACP and eBOUND Canada, and that our eBooks will soon be available with many online retailers, including Amazon, Apple, and OverDrive (libraries). But my work is not done, so I better get back to it!

Violet 🙂

Are you trying to create an eBook and having trouble? Let me know in the comments and I will try to steer you in the right direction.

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