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Largely Confused

leonianjen I dont want to sound like a complete idiot, but after reading tons of info on ebooks im lost. I plan on having my own website to sell my ebook, but I also want to send it to publishers like 1st Books, and Ebook Mall, etc...how do I know what format to put the books in? PDF seems common but purchasing it is high. Is it better to go with HTML? Im so lost on which format to choose. Please help.

Posted on: 5:53 pm on January 31, 2005
Neenah13 Hi,

I don't know if you ever solved your problem, but I thought I'd answer it, anyway. Haven't been here in a while . . . Gotta do something about that!

First, Adobe offers trial periods for their software. If all you have is one book, probably a 30 day trial of Acrobat would get it done for you.

They also offer a service online to compile pdfs for you. The free service is very limited, though. I think it's around $10 a month for the paid service.

There are other pdf compilers out there. I've used PDF995 as well as the pdf compilers that come with Word 2002 and up, WordPerfect 10 and up, The PrintShop 15 and up. The PrintShop isn't a word processor program, however, nor will it handle book layout projects. I used it to create the pdfs of some pictures that were going to be included in a family history book.

There's a PDF Creator you can get from a ton of sellers on eBay, Yahoo and other auction sites. I don't think you can edit those created files, though, with the program--I haven't gotten it yet, to see what it does offer. You'd need to find one somewhere. PDF995 has one. PDF995 offers free as well as paid versions of its software. Less expensive, easy to use. I haven't used the editing program, although I did download it. I have Acrobat 4 with a ver 5 upgrade. I've just downloaded the newest version 7 to try it out and see if I want to upgrade further. For my needs, 5 has been  fine.

You can buy Acrobat on the auctions, too, for far less than retail. You don't necessarily need the most recent version. So past versions will be far more affordable.  Just be sure the seller is honest and is selling a true copy. I got burned once. Seller said the software was "used". Used is fine . . . what I got was a burned copy . . . I never got my money back, but he's not selling anymore, either, so it won't happen to someone else.

You can also hire someone to compile it for you. I offer that service. If you're interested, email me privately.

Check the site of the publishers you're interested in. They may, for a price, convert your Word manuscript into PDF. They probably offer typesetting services as well. Most publishers want you to take care of getting your ms into pdf. So, it's good to know how to do it or where to get it done as inexpensively as you can, without sacrificing quality.  

As for HTML, unless you're going to be sending the book to an eBook publisher, you wouldn't use it. Some eBook publishers accept mss in Word and/or WordPerfect. They turn the book into HTML themselves. In many cases, by just using the programs' publish to HTML option. Not the best way in my opinion. But, again, go check out the submissions page of the publishers you're interested in. See what formats they do accept. If you don't see that info, email them and ask.

For my own eBooks, I code the HTML myself, and add some graphics. I also divide the chapters into groups of about five pages so people don't have to scroll quite so much. While people don't seem to mind scrolling down a longer PDF file, they don't care to scroll so much in HTML. Not sure what the difference is--a long scroll is a long scroll.

I also offer design services in HTML.  To check out what I do, you can also follow the link to my site and download copies of sample chapters of my own eBooks. While I do occasionally use other compilers, Activ Ebook is my favorite. I try out others just because I like to play with new software.

Can't wait for the okay to start officially using the new version . . .

I know this is over a year late, but maybe it'll help someone . . .!


Posted on: 4:54 pm on September 6, 2006


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