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Upcoming Events

Joshua speaks at and attends eBook and publishing events every year. You are welcome to chat with him anytime at these events, or you can set up a time to consult with him about your eBook needs in person. Please see our Consulting and Training page for more details, and contact Joshua to set up an appointment.


ibpaIBPA Publishing University

April 10-11, 2015
Austin, Texas

High Quality eBooks on a Budget
Most independent publishers are strapped for cash, and one area that is often given the short straw is eBook development. However, with the continued growth of eBook sales and the need for better discoverability and better reviews, cutting corners on eBook quality can have unintended consequences. In this session, we will look at some of the most common mistakes independent publishers make in their eBook development processes, and will consider some suggestions for increasing eBook quality while not dramatically affecting the bottom line. We will also discuss how to handle more complex content and enhancements without breaking the bank.

Register

There will also be a full-day eBook Ninjas workshop on April 9th in the IBPA PubU conference hotel with special pricing for IBPA members! Find out more at the eBook Ninjas website.


BEA_logoBook Expo America

May 27-29, 2015
New York


pepcon2015PePcon

June 1-4, 2015
Philadelphia

Publishing to Kindle
Amazon still sells the majority of eBook files, and anyone who creates eBooks needs to know how to create files that work well in the Kindle system. While there are differences in workflow and file requirements, Amazon’s KF8 reflowable ebook format is very close to the EPUB standard used by other eBook retailers. On the other hand, the KF8 fixed layout spec is vastly different from EPUB3 fixed layout, and Amazon has special tools that they recommend you use when creating childrens eBooks, comic books/graphic novels, and textbooks. This session will cover:

  • How to prepare your InDesign mechanical for reflowable EPUB export and KF8 conversion
  • How to crack open a reflowable EPUB — made from any source — and modify for best KF8 results
  • How to make a KF8 fixed layout file, both childrens and non-fiction, with or without InDesign
    • Using a little InDesign combined with an HTML/CSS templated approach
    • Using Kindle Kids’ Book Creator
  • How to work with KF8 comics using Kindle Comic Creator
  • An overview of Amazon’s new (and maybe still in Beta) Kindle Textbook Creator

Register with the code “SPK26F” to get $50 off!

FAQs

Is it a good idea to put my Table of contents at the end of my eBook?

Some people do this to increase the size of the free samples automatically generated by the eBook retailers. However, the Kindle and other devices will re-set the “last read location” to the end of the book if you have your Table of Contents there, so we normally recommend against that practice.

What is the difference between HTML5 and XHTML5?

HTML5 is the latest version of the HTML standard used on the Web and in eBooks. XHTML5 is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML5, with rules from XML imposed on the code. For example, when a tag is opened it has to be closed, and all of the tags have to be properly nested. XHTML5 allows the code to be more easily interpreted by the display engine, and it keeps the code more consistent and easier to edit.

I have heard you can’t use color in eBooks. Is that correct?

No, that is absolutely incorrect. eBooks look great with color, and we highly recommend using color images and even colored text (within reason) in your eBook files. Some devices have grayscale eInk screens, so the color will not show up on those devices. However, the color will be in the file, and it will work on all of the color devices. We do recommend you test colored text on a device with an eInk screen and ensure that the text will not be too light to read.

Do you need to have a separate ISBN for each version of the eBook for different companies?

Technically, yes. See an extended answer on our ISBNs page.

What is KindleGen?

KindleGen is Amazon’s eBook creation/compiling program. It is used on the KDP website to auto-convert files uploaded into the Kindle store, and it is also integrated into the Kindle Previewer program to handle the conversion of non-Kindle files loaded in that program. You can download KindleGen and get access to other Kindle creation information at amazon.com/kindlepublishing.

What is a fixed layout eBook?

Fixed Layout eBooks are HTML-based eBook files that are usually designed to match the layout of a print book. The key difference between fixed layout files and reflowable files is that reflowable eBooks allow the reader to have more control over the reading experience, such as changing the font size, background color, etc. For more information, please see our Fixed Layout Children’s and Non-Fiction pages.

Does Amazon sell HTML files or only Kindle?

Amazon only sells eBooks in the Kindle format, but that format, just like ePub, is built using HTML and CSS files.

How is fixed layout different from a pdf of the book?

Fixed layout eBooks are built using HTML, so they have more functionality than PDF files. For example, the narration overlay functionality used in many children’s eBooks is not possible in PDF files. In addition, none of the eBook retailers sell PDFs, so fixed layout eBook files offer the best sales opportunities.

A university librarian told me they are not acquiring any Kindle books but only HTML5/ePub. Have you found that to be common with other libraries? I know our local public library does buy Kindle books.

Libraries acquire their eBooks from services like 3M and Overdrive. These services sometimes offer an option for Kindle checkouts, but typically they are limited to ePub files because of the more common use of the Adobe DRM.

Has the Kindle format gotten any more sophisticated in how it handles tables or floating images?

Yes, Amazon’s Kindle Format 8 has support for many great design features, including floating images, tables, color text, embedded fonts, and more.

How are page numbers handled in an eBook?

Print book page numbers are included in the HTML code of both the Kindle and ePub formats as anchors. They are also listed in the PageList section of the NCX or Navigation file. The PageList is used by some reading systems (like the Kindle and iBooks) to show the reader the print page numbers of the book as they read.

How are page headers created in eBook files?

The different reading systems control what shows up in the header of your eBook. Most will display the title of the book, and some will also display the author name. That text cannot currently be set to display the chapter name or other information about where the reader is currently reading in the text.

How do eBooks handle hyphenation of long words?

Some eBook reading systems will apply hyphenation to longer words to make the text better fit on the screen. This is typically controlled by the reading system, and will change depending on the font size and other settings the reader has set on their device.

What about protecting the file?

eBook file protection is called Digital Rights Management (DRM). Please see our DRM page for information on how it works and suggestions on how to use it.

Can I sell my eBooks on my own website?

Yes! You are certainly able to sell your eBooks on your own website. For more information, please see this page.