eBook Conversion

eBook conversion for Kindle and ePub readers


Thanks for visiting the site – I’m assuming you’re a self-publishing author looking for tips on making an electronic version of your book; at present this site concentrates on the the Kindle, but the intention is to also extend it to the ePub format. Many of the articles will be useful for both formats.

I’m a big fan of the Kindle, but I’ve been disappointed by some of the conversions I’ve seen; it’s especially disheartening when you’ve paid full price for an eBook. Many publishers, even the big ones, seem to view these conversions as a glorified copy and paste exercise, without much thought for the reader. As a professional editor, I’m paid to be a pedant; however, for a straightforward book, it’s the kind of thing you can do in an evening, even if you’re not technically minded.

There is a received wisdom on the internet along the lines of: ‘I just use Calibre to convert all my files to Kindle format and it works great’. This isn’t the whole story; yes it works in terms of shifting text from one format to the other, but rarely does passing a Word file though Calibre produce a professional-looking result. After trying conversions based on MS Word, RTF and PDF, I came to the conclusion that the only surefire way to make it look like it’s supposed to, is to do the conversion from HTML – the code used to produce webpages.

The thought of HTML may fill you with dread, but don’t panic – the level of HTML we’re talking about is very basic. And it doesn’t stop you writing your book in whatever program you like. But you’ll probably want to sell your book in Kindle and ePub formats and both these file types are related to HTML, so it makes sense to use a common starting point for your conversion. As you’ve probably spent months – if not years – writing your book, spending a few hours optimising its format shouldn’t be a big issue.

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