ebook-formattingHow does a book become an eBook?

Two ways: eBook conversion and eBook formatting. These two paths from print to eBooks both involve the insertion of codes to format the text in a way that an eBook reader will understand, but your choice of path should be based on the level of quality you want for your eBook.

Ebook conversion is available everywhere and it’s cheap. Why? Because the codes are inserted by running a Word file or a PDF file through a software program or an algorithm that makes all the formatting decisions—many of them bad—and inserts the codes.

In contrast, eBook formatting is done by a human trained in how to format eBooks. By hand-coding your file—inserting the codes needed to properly format the eBook—the designer can “correct” for the idiosyncrasies of different reading devices so that the eBook always displays as well as the technology allows.

Formatting also allows the designer to license and embed the same fonts that were used in the print book. Why is this important? Have you ever received a PDF where the fonts looked all weird? Or a Word document where the person who created it uses fonts you don’t have on your computer? You wouldn’t want your eBook to look like that; the eBook must be formatted with this font issue in mind so that your eBook looks as beautiful as the print edition. While the person reading the eBook can always change the fonts and font sizes to suit his or her individual preferences, we can, at least, present readers with an initial view that looks designed.

We’ve all seen bad eBooks. These are almost certainly converted. We’ve also seen eBooks that look, and read, as easily as their print counterparts. These are almost certainly formatted.

Text elements such as sidebars, pull-quotes, special characters, and the like usually look terrible in converted files. When an eBook file is formatted, a degree of control can be exercised, again to make the eBook look like a real book.

Does it cost more to format an eBook? Yes. Is it worth it? If you want to make the very best first impression on your buyer, then yes.

Learn more about 1106 Design’s eBook formatting services here. Save money on your eBook if 1106 Design creates your book cover and page layout.