Artisan Ebook Checklist

Artisan ebooks must meet or exceed each of the following qualifications.

Basic formatting check

  • EPUBs pass epubcheck and epub preflight without errors
www.threepress.org’s EPUB validator will do this automatically.
  • MOBIs pass Kindle Previewer with no errors
Kindle Previewer is available for free from Amazon.com.
  • EPUBs have been tested on at least one ereader (preferably more), a PC, and a Mac
Digital Bindery tests each book on the Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, iPad, Smartphones, PCs, and Macs for consistent presentation.
  • MOBIs have been tested on at least one Kindle, Kindle for PC, and Kindle for Mac
Digital Bindery checks formatting on a Kindle, Kindle for PC, and Kindle for Mac as well as using Kindle Previewer to check emulated formatting for all versions of the Kindle.

Complete formatting check

  • No content is missing or rearranged
Special attention should be paid to side bars, pullout boxes, tables, and images.
  • Section and chapter breaks are logical
Print editions require blank pages and attention to recto and verso display where ebooks do not. These print artifacts can leak into the ebook causing odd disruptions in the text flow.
  • Front matter is relevant to the digital edition
Book printing information, ISBN, copyright information, etc can refer to the print version alone and should be removed.
  • Content hierarchy is clear
Chapter headings, poetry titles, and subheadings are all presented in such a way as to be easily understandable.
  • Any font-based storytelling devices have been addressed
Font changes for thoughts, computer text, perspective changes, and foreign languages must be accounted for.
  • Consistent application of style with close approximation to the print brand
Reading the ebook should be a familiar experience and should maintain a consistent look and feel between print and digital editions unless a conscious choice has been made to do otherwise.
  • Any consumable content (quizzes, workbook pages, etc) has been removed or revised
Links to downloadable or printable content or, in some versions, editable content should replace or supplement consumables.
  • There are no references exclusive to the printed version
Beyond just front matter, all static print page numbers, the colophon, etc should be removed or updated.
  • All unusual characters have been removed or changed to ascii reference
Not all ereaders will interpret &emdash; as an em dash. Other characters are problematic as well, but especially “curly” quotes and apostrophes and angle brackets (‹ ›).
  • All italics, bold, small cap, and inline formatting changes have been maintained
This requires very careful proofing with an eye for detail and familiarity with the original text. Do not leave this to the ebook converter alone.
  • Metadata for the title is complete and correct
Certain metadata is required to pass the validation checkers, but a lot of it is optional. More is always better when it comes to metadata. It does not bulk up the book, but does provide more information on the whos, wheres, whats, and whys of the book. It makes the book more easily findable by readers.
  • The cover is readable and compelling at small sizes and in grayscale
Bookstores are accessible directly from the ereader screens. Many readers will choose your book based on how appealing that small black and white cover is.

Interactivity is Correct and Functional

  • Table of Contents
Check both the MOBI and EPUB. Generating a table of contents for these formats is a very different process.
  • Index
Indices can be linked to the content within the book, which solves the print page number dilemma. However, each link should be reviewed to ensure it is linking to the correct location within the text.
  • Bibliography
Links within the bibliography can direct users to an internal reference, or to an online resource. As with the index, these links should all be checked for accuracy.
  • Foot and end notes
Both the foot or end note and the reference at the end of the book or chapter should link to each other.
  • External Links
Links to external web pages must be absolute references (http:// must precede each link) and they should only be used if the website referred to will be in operation for the life of the book.
  • Cross References and Internal links
In addition to working properly, these links should provide easy navigation back to the original location.

Graphic Elements

  • Images are correctly sized and visible in color or grayscale
Readers have the option of viewing ebooks on color or black and white only screens. Ensure the image looks good in 16 shades of gray.
  • All references to art that must be removed for rights (or any other reason) have been removed
It is the author’s responsibility (even in most traditional publishing arrangements) for authors to procure the rights for copyrighted material. The contract must stipulate the work for use digitally.
  • References to colors are explained for grayscale
“The man with the red shirt” and descriptions like these will not translate between color and grayscale devices. Reword them.
  • Images containing text are legible
When images are compressed, often text becomes too pixelated to be legible or too small to read when viewed on small screens (like smartphones) .
  • Tables fit on the screen and are legible
Tabular data may be best presented in a fixed layout, reorganized into a less complex layout, or, if all creativity is exhausted, available as download from the internet.

Digital Bindery’s quality assurance process guarantees every ebook that we create will meet these rigorous standards.