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Publish Your Own eBook

Going digital with your magnum opus.

The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit on April 4 against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Shuster, Macmillan, and Penguin Group. The suit concerns pricing, specifically the over pricing, of eBooks.

The root of the pricing issue began with Amazon’s $9.99 standard. Some of the defendants have settled; some remain. All this led me to consider the technical side of eBook publishing.  Could someone publish their own writing as an eBook? And the answer is yes.

We’ll introduce these three tools to convert your text and images into an eBook: Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite, Apple’s iBooks Author, and Literature & Latte’s Scrivener.

Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite is part of Adobe’s InDesign CS5.5. I’d put this one at the high end in terms of extensive knowledge required to use it effectively and its price.  This software takes your completed content and makes it tablet-ready. It includes: Folio Producer Service, Viewer Building Service, and the Adobe Content Viewer. It provides versatile options for both ePub and eBook formats. A great benefit for individuals with vision impairments is that you can create PDFs which are fine tuned for screen readers and other assistive devices. While either a Mac or a PC can be used for the Folio Producer, a Mac is required for the Viewer Builder. Publishing can be done through submittal to the Apple store or directly to your Website.

iBooks Author is an Apple app you can use to make eBooks for your iPad. It provides templates and widgets for book covers, page layouts, table of contents, chapters, media galleries, placeholders for other content such as videos, and as with the Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite has features such as Voiceover, Apple’s screen reader, for use by individuals with visual impairments. Based on Apple’s Keynote app, you can export PDF versions as well as other options. Potential readers require iBooks 2 on their tablets.

Literature & Latte’s Scrivener is a complete workflow software for writers. You start with notes, move into outline, fill in that outline, draft the text, complete the piece, and ultimately print or make a digital document.   More than word processing, it helps organize your materials and created content. You end up with a rich text file (RTF), PDF, HTML, ePub and Kindle formats. Scrivener is reasonably priced at $40 with a support structure of fellow users contributing to public forums as well as product programmers. Scrivener has both Mac and PC versions.

If writing the great American novel is on your bucket list, you still have several long and tireless nights of composing and editing to endure. Once those are over, avail yourself of one of these options to enter the eBook world on your own terms.

Bob April 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I just got Adobe Creative Suite 5.5, does that mean I also own the Digital Publishing Suite? Although, as an Apple fanboy (yes, I said it), Apple's Author is free and I've heard good things about it. Books with built in multimedia is the next step in the evolution of the written word.
Lydia Patrick April 21, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Yes. The Digital Publishing Suite should be included. I recently saw a TED Talk on Khoya, an interactive ebook program. The presenter called it magical.
Chris Robley April 24, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Lydia, great article. I wanted to weigh-in with one other option available to people who want to publish an eBook: <a href="http://www.bookbaby.com" title="Self Publishing Made Easy">BookBaby</a>, the world's largest eBook distribution network for independent authors. For $99, we'll take your book file (Word, .txt, etc.) and convert it into a beautiful eBook that will be available for iPad, Nook, Kindle, Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, eBookPie, Baker & Taylor, Gardner's, and more! Plus, we pay authors weekly and pass 100% of your net revenue back to you. We also offer print, layout, and book cover design services (for physical books) and advanced formatting and conversion options for eBooks. Please feel free to contact us (books@bookbaby.com or 877-961-6878) with any questions you might have about <a href="http://www.bookbaby.com/howitworks">turning a simple Word or Text document into an eBook</a> available on all the leading digital retail sites. -Chris Robley BookBaby Marketing Coordinator http://www.bookbaby.com

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