ePub, ePub Everywhere, What’s a Blogger to Do?

by Joel Friedlander on September 15, 2011 · 10 comments

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It wasn’t hard to predict that ePub would start to become a common output option on more and more consumer-level software programs.

As it is, there are word processors and layout programs that convert your documents to ePub books, complete with linked table of contents.

Now, the promise is becoming a reality. There are more and more tools to create ePub files. Some of them are free software, others are commercial programs, and still others are browser-based software or services.

A Growing Tide of Options

Here are some of the programs I’ve been wanting to evaluate:

Apple’s Pages
I did a brief test of this software when Apple first integrated the ePub export, and it worked pretty well. But I’d really like to do a longer and more demanding test of this software. Pages is a capable and enjoyable program, and I’d like to explore how good it is at ePub books.

Legendmaker e-Book Builder for Mac
Here’s a blurb from the company’s website: “Are you looking for an easy way to create ePub books for your iPad? Are you trying to make your books available for the Kindle? Are you spending too much time trying to properly format your books instead of focusing on writing? Legend Maker for Mac OS X takes all the hassle, confusion, and mystery out of creating perfectly formed ePub and Kindle books so you can do what you do best, write!”

I’d love to try this software out as well and evaluate it for use by new self-publishers.

iStudioPublisher
Another Mac-specific program, iStudioPublisher is an inexpensive ($49) desktop publishing or layout program that will export ePub files. I have no idea how well it works, or if it’s a common tool for e-publishers, but it would be great to find a capable layout program at that price that will create good looking e-books.

PDF to ePub Converter
Another Mac-specific program, this one promises “Aiseesoft PDF to ePub Converter can convert PDF files to ePub file easily and quickly. So you can read eBooks more easily on your iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Sony Reader or other eBook Readers. In addition, The best PDF to ePub Conversion program supports batch conversion, very simple settings. And the user-friendly interface of the PDF to ePub Converter makes the operation quite easy for both beginners and advanced users. Just free download the PDF to ePub Converter to experience more colorful multimedia life!”

Seems like it’s worth an evaluation, and it looks like there’s a free download version.

More Coming

Tomorrow will see the release of an app I’ve been looking forward to, BookCreator for iPad.

Would you like to use the iPad’s touchscreen interface, fluid controls and connectivity to put together your ePub book right on the screen? That’s the promise of BookCreator. Forget all those e-book formatting nightmares, “Simply arrange pictures and words using your fingers, and tap to edit. Book Creator is simple to use, leaving you to get on with making great books.”

I plan to review this one myself.

Calling All Reviewers

I need some of you smart e-book publishers to write reviews of the programs mentioned above. It will be great to bring this information to readers, and you’ll get a link back to your own site. Everybody wins. I can’t wait to read your reviews. And if I’ve missed something fantastic that you know about, please let me know in the comments.

Photo by ceslava.com

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    { 10 comments… read them below or add one }

    Paul Salvette September 15, 2011 at 2:29 am

    Joel,

    These are good programs, and Sigil (which is open source) is also worth exploring. However, I think for the self-publishing community to really compete with the publishing houses (that have IT support for eBook conversion) it is necessary to get down and dirty with the actual EPUB source code (which is a combination of XHTML and XML). While it may seem daunting, it’s really worthwhile to learn how to build you own EPUBs from the ground up. If I can do it, anyone can.

    I’d be happy to do a guest post on this topic if you’re interested.

    Reply

    Piotr Kowalczyk September 15, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Paul, you’re right, Sigil is definitely worth describing. The basic knowledge of the source code is needed and it would be great to read the article explaining that.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Paul, thanks!

    Sigil is a program I know almost nothing about, but I bet there are people who would be very interested. The more you can focus on book creation, the kind of thing a DIY author would want to know, the better. I look forward to seeing it. Feel free to include screenshots, they will be helpful.

    You can email me at marin.bookworks (at) gmail.com. Also, check our Guest Author Guidelines

    Reply

    Liz Carmichael September 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Hi,

    I did the HTML for the Kindle version of my book, and now you have me wondering if the XHTML is very different? I’d be interested in reading about it.

    Reply

    Paul Salvette September 18, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Liz,

    XHTML is almost the same as HTML, but it is stricter in its rules. For example, you can’t have uppercase tags. For web design, it’s actually being phased out by developers in favor of HTML5. However, EPUB and MOBI are both based on XHTML. Here’s a tutorial I whipped up if you’re interested.

    Reply

    Liz Carmichael September 20, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Paul,

    Thanks for the link.
    I’ve bookmarked your site, and will use the tutorial for my next ebook.
    Liz

    Reply

    James September 20, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I agree with Paul, but I always hesitate to throw XHTML at folks–it’s a slippery slope. Mostly, I try and get them to not write books in Microsoft Word. :]

    Reply

    Liz Castro September 19, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Hi Joel:
    I reviewed Book Creator for iPad here: http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2011/09/fixed-layout-epub-with-book-creator.html

    Hope you find it useful.
    Liz

    Reply

    James September 20, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Liz, I’ve always loved your books, especially your QuickStart Guides. Keep writing.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander September 20, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks, Liz that’s really helpful.

    Reply

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