If you’re a self-publishing author targeting readers on iPad, learning about Apple’s standard for eBooks can prove handy in the long run. Apple has made it possible for users of its e-reading devices to access thousands of eBooks via the iBookstore and iBooks app. While you can leave the nitty-gritty of book formatting to professional eBook formatters, having a grasp of what’s required always goes a long way.
The EPUB is an open source standard developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF).
Fundamentally, Apple publishes titles in EPUB and PDF formats which can be read via the iBooks application. However, if you wish to have your eBook available for purchase via the iBookstore, your manuscript has to be converted to the EPUB format regardless of its original design.
Many professional eBook formatters aiming at EPUB conversions like to start with Adobe InDesign. The application permits the manipulation of text, images, graphics, fonts and other live elements of a manuscript before conversion to the final eBook format. InDesign also provides room for manipulation of layouts, styling, chapters and metadata.
After interior design of an eBook and applying final touches (including embedding of fonts), InDesign lets you convert your file to the EPUB format so that you can upload it to the iBookstore.
Yet, it’s understandable why many authors who have developed proficiency in MS Word or other common word processors would hesitate to worry about software such as InDesign. The good thing is that you can always use tools such as Calibre to convert your word file to the EPUB format. Thus, you can accomplish all the book formatting and interior design tasks within Word and then use the Calibre tool for the final conversion to eBook.
Calibre will also let you add Metadata and any other information or features you’d want carried over to the final product.
So, why is the EPUB format significant and why do book formatters recommend it to fresh entrants into the self-publishing industry? For starters, the format is acceptable to a wide array of e-reading devices and self-publishing platforms. This means that while you may be targeting the iBookstore initially, other firms such as Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords also accept EPUB formats for publishing.
But one exciting thing about working with EPUB is that the format supports reflowable content. Living in the age of rapid technological advancement, many book lovers are faced with a wide array of choices when it comes to e-reading devices. Without reflowable content, many readers would be unable to enjoy your published material if they switch to the latest devices. Thus, EPUB makes it possible to optimize content for whatever device a customer is using to read your eBook.
No wonder, the format is highly popular among self-publishing firms, eBook conversion houses and professional book formatters.
There are many book formatting applications and options out there for self-publishing authors. But it makes perfect sense to engage professional book formatters such as The Fast Fingers to be able to produce a world class title for iBookstore.