Ebook Conversion - Digital BinderyDigital Bindery

Ebook Conversion

At Digital Bindery, we keep up to date with the ever-changing digital standards, design trends, and ebook issues. We can help you understand everything from digital rights management to format choices and digital design. We design multimedia ebooks with embedded audio and video, complicated fixed-layout designs for image-heavy projects, and straightforward texts with the same hand-crafted approach. We constantly strive for the ultimate reading experience for all of our artisan ebook conversion projects. If your creativity is only limited by technical skill, Digital Bindery can help.

 
  • Why do I need someone to digitally design an ebook?

Do readers care about ebook design? Publishers, already stretched thin by the demands of today’s economy, have had to answer no to this question and rush to bring their backlist to the ebook market as quickly as possible. The results have been annoyed readers who are not willing to pay for a product of such inferior quality. Even readers who are not normally aware of formatting are jarred into attention by margins that are far too wide, paragraphs that seem to run together, and pages and pages of irrelevant front matter.

Care

An ebook is not simply the digital conversion of the printed text—it is a separate entity with different design considerations, a different readership, and different capabilities. Many publishers, including the New York behemoths, have not understood these crucial differences. Digital conversion teams have been pumping out ebooks as fast as their mouse can click ‘Export for EPUB.’ The results have been a flood of poorly designed, difficult to read disasters.

At Digital Bindery, we understand that an eBook is its own entity with unique design challenges and opportunities. We believe readers should not be distracted by careless formatting and that flawless design will provide greater satisfaction and consumer loyalty.

Quality

Each epub is checked on several standard reading devices including the Kindle, the nook, the Sony eReader, smartphones, and the iPad. The book is also reviewed on the most popular software including Stanza, Adobe Digital Editions, Aldiko, and iBooks, to ensure a product that does not detract from an immersive reading experience.

We are up to date on EPUB standards and remain aware of trends in software and device updates that affect the performance of digital books. Digital Bindery considers each text worthy of the time and attention to detail needed to create a high quality product equal to the content it is intended to convey.

  • What books make good ebooks?

The short answer is all books make good ebooks.

Simple text is the easiest to convert into an ebook format, though this does not mean that more complex manuscripts should not be converted. Image-heavy books and books with a lot of tables or intricate layouts require care, but can be beautiful and even more informative than their print counterparts.

Nonfiction titles tend to lend themselves more naturally to interactive features available in ebooks while fiction is still the most popular format for eInk devices. The crisp resolution of tablet readers has even given a home to digital art and photography books.

  • Ebook, epub, ereader, what’s the difference?

An ebook is long form text (book) that has been digitized and optimized to be read on an electronic device. Of course, this definition is open to change as we redefine ‘reading’ for the twenty-first century. Already, periodicals, newspapers, and blogs are available on what were recently deemed ebook-only devices.

An EPUB is a specific ebook format that can be read on most ereaders (the notable exception being the Kindle). Ebook is to epub as document is to Word Doc or Car is to Ford Focus. Ebook is generic, epub is specific.

Ereader is the term used for the devices that read ebooks. The Nook, the Kindle, and the iPad can all be called ereaders.

  • Why do I need more than one type of ebook?

Most ereaders can read the open source epub format. These include the Nook, Kobo reader, Sony Reader, iPad, and Adobe Digital Editions. The Amazon Kindle can only read the proprietary Amazon formats mobi and kf8. In order to reach the largest audience, Digital Bindery recommends that you convert each title into both formats.

  • Can I put audio or video into my ebook?

Adding audio, video, or both to a book is now possible. Readers using Apple’s iPad, an Android Tablet, the Nook Color, or any desktop or laptop computer can take advantage of the multimedia experience. Amazon is still working out the kinks for audio and video in Kindle-based devices.

  • Do I need audio or video in my ebook?

From the Bible to the Hobbit, original songs have been included in literature, but had to rely on sheet music, describing the tune (jaunty and merry), or using typography to indicate phrasing. Audio and video excerpts can now be inserted within ebooks that are intended for use on a computer or tablet PC. Many ereaders have audio capabilities, but eInk screens have a refresh rate that is often too slow to deliver video.

Creating a more complete ambiance for your story by adding a soundtrack, pulling the reader into a character by allowing them to watch first person as a package is unwrapped, or listening to the recording of an old cassette your protagonist found in a dusty trunk can bring an excitement to your story that paper books cannot deliver. You may have played the Myst or Riven computer games from the 1990s and recall how effective a well-placed video or audio recording can be.

Digital Bindery is dedicated to helping you choose the appropriate enhancements for your projects. Not all books will be served by enhancements, and we can help you decide when to say “when.”

  • Can I make my book interactive?

Whether you want to add something simple like hyperlinks, or something complex like moving art objects, interactive books are possible for tablets, touch screen devices, and computers.

Interactive storytelling can be an immersive and exciting experience for readers. You may recall reading some interactive stories as a child—the Choose Your Own Adventure series invited readers to become a character and participate in the story building process, and Two Minute Mysteries asked the reader to become the detective and challenged them to solve the mystery before revealing the solution. With digital media, authors have an opportunity to revive this style and use new technologies to immerse readers in the story experience.

Hyperlinks are the familiar way we all negotiate the Internet—the words often underlined and in blue, that lead us to another website by clicking. It may be that your next story could take advantage of this technology—linking to character asides, definitions, images, or allowing the reader to make a choice or discovery like we did as kids.

Allowing readers to choose their own path through your story, or go into greater depth on a topic or character, can give the reader a greater sense of control and ownership of the story.
As a reader, you have probably found a news article or blog post that incorporated interactive elements and experienced how well that can work.

Do not let your creative expression be limited by your technical ability to develop the interactive mechanisms. Digital Bindery can be the technical half to your creative genius.

  • Who reads ebooks?

The short answer is: lots of people, and more every day. Below is an infographic designed by Ebook Nation that describes who is reading ebooks and what they are reading when they do.

  • What storytelling formats are ebooks better suited for?

Non-linear Stories

One of the most challenging formats for digital storytelling is the non-linear story. Similar to an interactive story that allows the reader to choose their own path through the text, non-linear stories are presented as nonsequential experiences. Readers can uncover mysteries, reveal characters, and follow plot lines in a way that is organic to them and similar to how we experience life and memory.

With digital technologies, non-linear storytelling principles can be used within the context of a traditional story. Memories, flashback sequences, or foreshadowing glimpses into the future can be organized in such a way that the reader can choose when to read or re-read the entries. Ebooks could give the reader the option to read a journal, check the calendar, or browse the email of the characters at their discretion or when prompted by links within the text.

Serial Literature

Serial literature—stories told in a series of installments—has been around as long as storytelling has. Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Stephen King have employed the serial format to tell a larger story in small pieces. New technologies provide authors with new and unique opportunities for serial storytelling.

Writing a serial story is not simply a matter of chopping up an existing story. A serial story drives readers to the next installment while leaving them satisfied with the current edition. Readers today have been familiarized with the serial story through television and have a natural sense of where breaks should come. Simply chopping up a novel will not compare to a piece written with this format in mind.

Twitter, blogs, email, ebook subscriptions, and smartphone applications can deliver stories to readers on a predetermined schedule. Using an email newsletter to produce a serial story delivers the current chapter directly to the reader’s inbox, where they can access it when and where they choose. Ereaders, like Amazon’s Kindle, offer subscriptions for periodicals and even blogs. Smartphone applications, programs that run on phones like Apple’s iPhone or Motorola’s Droid, can tell the story in installments.

  • What books make good ebooks?

The short answer is all books make good ebooks.

Simple text is the easiest to convert into an ebook format, though this does not mean that more complex manuscripts should not be converted. Image-heavy books and books with a lot of tables or intricate layouts require care, but can be beautiful and even more informative than their print counterparts.

Nonfiction titles tend to lend themselves more naturally to interactive features available in ebooks while fiction is still the most popular format for eInk devices. The crisp resolution of tablet readers has even given a home to digital art and photography books.

  • Why do I need more than one type of ebook?

Most ereaders can read the open source epub format. These include the Nook, Kobo reader, Sony Reader, iPad, and Adobe Digital Editions. The Amazon Kindle can only read the proprietary Amazon formats mobi and kf8. In order to reach the largest audience, Digital Bindery recommends that you convert each title into both formats.

 

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