E-books shouldn’t be automated

One of Calamus Consulting’s core skills is designing and producing e-books. We have over 50 e-books currently available on Amazon, Kobo, iBookstore, and other markets.

When we produce e-books, we don’t convert Word documents, and we don’t use conversion tools (such as Scrivener and Calibre). We go straight to the code, and ensure that everything – page breaks, links, styles, and other layout intricacies – are coded correctly. And we do a quality check on the final product before it’s released for publishing.

But many authors are blissfully unaware of the limitations of converters. Guido Henkel, author of Zen of eBook Formatting, summarizes the problem:

When I visit message boards for authors on the Internet, I frequently come across the same question over and over again, followed by what is effectively the same advice over and again. Sadly, in my opinion, the recommendations are all too often ill-advised and tend to create more problems in the tail-end than they solve.

What I am referring to is the question that aspiring independent authors routinely ask once they get to the stage where they want to self-publish their books, “How do I create an eBook?” Aside from the noise that such a question inevitably generates, the tenor of responses usually goes something like “You can export an ePub file from your word processor” or “Take your word processor file and upload it to insert-your-favorite-conversion-service-here for conversion.”

To me, these responses are usually not real advice, but rather, flawed opinions. Someone suggests the procedure because it worked for them, wholly unaware that the process is richly flawed, and of the fact that their own eBooks resulting from said procedure are oftentimes riddled with problems. Not to mention that the way to get there frequently resembled a gauntlet of cumbersome obstacles and tests of patience.

Thanks to Keith for posting this.

This entry was posted in E-books and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *