Is Formatting for Print Book and Ebooks Too Much Work?

POSTED ON Feb 24, 2014

Joel Friedlander

Written by Joel Friedlander

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It’s rare these days to talk to an author who isn’t planning to publish both print and ebook versions of their book.

There are still a lot of books that suit one format better than the other, and which can safely be published as only print—or ebooks—without giving up any sales in the process.

No, authors have learned the “be everywhere” book marketing lesson pretty well. Even novelists who publish almost exclusively in ebook formats keep coming back to print books for at least some of their readers, for reviewers, or simply to have books to put on their bookshelf.

As a longtime lover of print books, I get it. There’s nothing quite as seductive as sliding a proof copy of your book out of the packaging it arrives in, and holding it in your hands for the very first time.

Although I’ve produced scores of books over the years, it’s still a thrill.

The Fly in the Formatting Ointment

The only problem with this picture is that authors, who are hard pressed to find time for writing, for marketing, for making a living, and for all the promotion they want to do, don’t have all that much time to spend formatting their books.

Authors who are using professionals for the technical aspects of book publishing—an ideal situation for authors who need, for one reason or another, to produce top-quality books—don’t have to worry about the time all this takes, they just have to pay for it.

But for vast numbers of authors who for one reason or another take on their own formatting, the time invested can be substantial.

You can spend days setting up book sizes, experimenting with fonts, making sure your pages look the way they’re supposed to.

But even then, if you’re planning on print books and ebooks, your workflow might look something like this:

  1. Establish design for the book
  2. Make sure manuscript is really “final”
  3. Set up a file in the program you’ll use for formatting, which might be Microsoft Word for some people, Adobe InDesign or Apple’s Pages, or Open Office for others
  4. Pour file in and format the front matter, all the chapters, then the back matter
  5. Proof and correct the book file
  6. Output a PDF for reproduction as a print book
  7. Take a pause for other important tasks
  8. Start over again to format and output your ebook files

Although you don’t have to do all that work on the manuscript again, formatting your book twice is pretty much built into the system.

We even sell pre-designed matching print book and ebook templates on our site. These allow you to keep a lot of the design from the print book versions when you do the ebook version.

But you still have to do the formatting twice.

It really bothers me to think about all the authors out there slaving away over their formatting chores when they could be doing something that will help them much more.

And formatting, for most people, is painstaking and unfamiliar work. Some people think it’s pure drudgery.

Escaping the Double Formatting Trap

Well, I’m very excited to tell you that tomorrow, I’ll be announcing a breakthrough product that can save you a huge amount of formatting time.

A product, quite frankly, that I didn’t think could exist, because it just seems impossible.

Make sure you read tomorrow’s blog, I think this is going to be awesome.


Joel Friedlander

Written by
Joel Friedlander

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