Need Ebook Conversions? Check the Ebook Conversion Services Directory

by Joel Friedlander on February 10, 2011 · 18 comments

Post image for Need Ebook Conversions? Check the Ebook Conversion Services Directory

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Questions from readers and clients are where I find out what is causing the most confusion for self-publishers. Lately, one area has dominated the questions I’ve been getting: ebooks.

Lots of people have read about the success Joe Konrath and other authors, mostly novelists, have had in recent months with ebooks. And we’ve followed the many posts by guest authors he’s been running on his very useful blog, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.

Every author I’ve talked to recently has questions about ebooks and how to go about getting their book ready to go on sale in the Kindle store, the iBookstore and all the other venues where people are buying ebooks to fill up their new Kindles, iPads, Nooks, Kobos and other ebook readers.

The Bottleneck is Easy to Find

Since most of these books start off life as print books, getting your book ready for life as an ebook is a matter of converting the print files to ebook formats like Mobi and ePub.

So the answer to this question of how to move to ebooks involves finding someone to make these file conversions. People who create ebooks need to have skill at understanding how books are constructed, and how best to interpret them in the ebook environment.

The big differences between print books and ebooks can make this process a bit of a bumpy ride. On the one hand, the person doing the conversion needs to observe how the book is presented in the print version, then have the skill at coding HTML to reproduce, as closely as possible, that presentation in ebook formats.

Smashwords, the big distributor of indie ebooks, only offers its own automated conversions, so if you have a heavily formatted book or one for which you want to do your own ebook files, you can’t use them.

Some of the other distributors, like BookBaby, will do basic ebook conversion for free, but there are signup fees to consider and you may not have any more control of the final file that you have at Smashwords.

In yesterday’s interview, Joshua Tallent of Ebookarchitects explained how his team takes a completely hands-on approach to each book, and the books I’ve seen from his company show the results of this attention. Other firms rely on a more automated process, and you can tell the difference between these types of ebook conversions right away.

However, there’s such a big demand for ebook conversion services that firms like Joshua’s are simply overwhelmed with projects. Many large publishers are moving hundreds of backlist titles to ebook formats, and there are all the new books coming out ever day as well.

An entire industry has sprung up to accommodate this demand. However, in trying to find vendors to recommend to clients, I have been frustrated since there was no listing to be found anywhere on the web for companies to provide this service.

The Ebook Conversion Services Directory

A few weeks ago I decided rather than wait for someone else to solve this problem, I would take it on myself. With input from some members of the the #ePrdctn group on Twitter, I started soliciting information for a directory.

I also queried the participants in the LinkedIn ebook discussion group, and generally put out the call for anyone who would like to be included.

Although I had planned to make a blog post with the information I gathered, it soon became apparent it would be much more useful to have it on its own domain.

Now we’ve launched the Directory and it has over 40 companies and individuals listed from several countries, each of whom perform ebook conversions. It’s located here:

The Ebook Conversion Services Directory

It’s a simple alphabetical listing with information from each responding company. Here are the questions we asked on our Request for Information:

  1. Which ebook file formats do you convert to
  2. Acceptable file formats to convert from
  3. Which type of file is best to convert from
  4. Turnaround time for standard book conversion
  5. Provide basic pricing information
  6. Are there discounts for multiple file formats or multiple books converted at the same time
  7. Estimate of the cost to convert a sample book

Since companies quote prices in many different ways, I wanted to come up with a means to gauge relative pricing. That way users would know they were comparing apples to apples.

I went to the White House website and downloaded a bunch of recent speeches by President Obama and created a kind of instant book, Speeches of Obama. In our request for information we asked each company what they would charge to convert this sample book to Kindle and ePub formats. You’ll find that information in the directory listings, and there’s a link on the Submissions page if you’d like to download the sample book to see what the prices are based on.

Caveat Emptor: Let the Buyer Beware

I hope this directory proves useful to you in finding vendors for your ebook conversion needs. Keep in mind that I haven’t tried to verify the information that’s been provided by the vendors, since that’s outside the scope of this project.

However, being able to compare companies side by side as far as their capabilities, prices, locations, and turnaround times should give you quite a good head start on getting your book done to your specifications.

I would be interested in any feedback you have about the Directory, ways it could be more useful to you, or things we might include in the future. For now, it’s the only listing of ebook conversion services that I know of on the internet. And that’s something that simply didn’t exist a couple of weeks ago.

So go over to the Directory site and check it out. And please let other people know about this resource. I’ll look forward to your feedback.

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    { 15 comments… read them below or add one }

    Blaine Moore February 10, 2011 at 6:29 am

    Great idea for a service, Joel!

    The only suggestion I have would be an easier way to search the listings…having individual listings is great, but having either a search widget and/or a spreadsheet to help compare multiple listings at a time would be quite useful. (Something along the lines of the formats, sample price, turn around time etc for columns, the listings as rows.)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 10, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Thanks, Blaine. I thought this Wordpress website was a big step up from doing a blog post, but if people find it useful I’ll certainly try to continue to upgrade the functionality of the site. Your idea sounds like something that would help users make comparisons, so thanks for that.

    Reply

    Roger C. Parker February 11, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Joel:
    I don’t get it–where are all the comments I expected when I discovered this important blog post?

    When I saw this on the Kindle version of your blog, I immediately went downstairs and visit your site–and thought to myself: What a spectacularly useful idea! It’s a question I’m often asked.

    Anyway, I think you’ve barely scratched the surface of this project’s potential. Regarding format, have you considered posting the info as an online mindmap, using MindManager or Personal Brain?
    Roger

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Roger, there seems to be traffic going there, so I hope people are finding it useful. Certainly the format isn’t ideal, but I was more concerned to get the basic data up and available. I’m not familiar with the mindmapping software you refer to, but it might be a good fit, I’ll have a look, and thanks for the suggestions. Blaine also had some good ideas, and I’m talking to the people who helped with this Wordpress install to see how we can reconfigure or change the site to make it more useful. At least it gives me somewhere to point people looking for this service.

    Reply

    Suzanne Kiraly February 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

    This was an exceptionally practical and useful article! Thank you for that. I will make sure that I pass on this information to my followers. The eBook world is in such a state of flux, that any quality information which can help indie authors to succeed in distributing their books in this format is most welcome.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 12, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Thanks, Suzanne. I agree with you, all authors should be moving their work to digital formats, and the sooner the better. The universe of people who read in e-formats is expanding rapidly and it makes to be there for them.

    Reply

    Jack Smith October 7, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    these are the services which I required for my book conversion, hence I got the books done from http://www.ebookconversion.com/

    Reply

    Jose Mueller October 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    Hello.

    I’m requesting quotations.
    We publish a printed magazine each month, and we want to publish it in ePUB format as well.
    This magazine contains scientific and technical articles, which we recieve on Word and/or InDesign formats, with lots of formulas and some images each.
    Regularly, we have around 15 articles per issue. Each of one having between 5 and 10 pages (two column in pdf).
    We’d also like to have interactive footnotes/references. Normally, references go from 10 to 20.
    Each article has one title, one large subtitle, authors’ line, abstract, some other subtitles, formulaes (anywhere between 2 and 50) and images (probably none, probably 10)
    We need a quotation for this service. If you may, ASAP.

    Thank you very much.

    Reply

    Vicky December 14, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Hello Jose,

    We are a conversion services provider company. If you wish to connect on your requirements kindly email me vicky@vcil.biz

    Thanks
    Vicky

    Reply

    bhishm singh April 4, 2012 at 5:46 am

    We (www.learningleads.in) also provide ebook production and marketing services at very affordable rates.

    Please list our name also in your list.

    Thanks,
    Bhishm Singh,
    bhishm@learningleads.in

    Reply

    Blaine Moore April 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    I actually created a script to do the heavy lifting of ebook conversion for me, and then was finagling it by hand. It was working really well, so I got some partners on board to flesh the script out and actually have a really simple piece of software that can create the different ebook formats and even take an unformatted document and intelligently figure out what everything in the document is and come up with a simple 6×9 document ready for print on demand. As you can imagine, it’s a big time saver, although it does still require that you write something worth reading, heheh. Since it isn’t service, it’s a piece of software, do you have any interest in taking a look at it when we launch in a couple weeks?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander April 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Blaine,

    Sounds intriguing, I’d love to evaluate it when it’s ready. Thanks.

    Reply

    eGlobus Technologies August 9, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Submitted my site as well. Please visit http://www.eglobusgroup.com for all kinds of data conversion services

    Reply

    kesav kumar October 31, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Keshav Data services offer a full eBook conversion service to the clients. We can convert from any to any format. High quality and very affordable service, specializing in complex layouts

    EBook Conversions services

    Reply

    Nancy June 10, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Perfect info for all authors, who thrive to get their work turned into an eBook. To add up, I would like to suggest to choose manual conversion processes instead of automated ones as you cannot rely upon these (automated) to retain the originality of your images, special characters, etc., in all eReader devices. I would recommend eBook Enhancers to be the ideal service providers who offer dependable manual conversion process.

    Reply

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