Deciding which ebook formats to use and viewing your ebooks

yellow bird sitting on a rock
yellow bird sitting on a rock

An image from The Real Mother Goose

If you are producing ebooks and wondering about the best format, whether to use fixed layout or not, and how you can view what you’ve created in different devices, you can download samples of books in ePub2, ePub3 and Mobi/KF8 formats from the BB eBooks website.

On a related website, Substance-B,  you can find tutorials for downloading and using ebook readers for different devices and platforms. For example, you can use Redium in Google Chrome to view ePub3 books which such as fixed-layout picture books and poetry books.

This will help you decide the best format for your book, and whether you should bother with creating an ePub3 version – as well as whether your conversions are successful or not.

 

 

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Making ePubs from scratch

If you want to find out how to create an ePub by writing the code and compiling it yourself, here are a couple of useful references.

The eBook Design and Development Guide, by Paul Salvette. Available on Kindle.

Also, the related website, BB ebooks.

Build a digital book with EPUB, by IBM.

And a wonderful tool, the ePub checker, from Pagina online.

Warning – it’s a painful process and takes time. If you don’t want to write code, this isn’t for you! However, if you are comfortable with html and css, I recommend learning how to do it yourself. Once you have repeated the steps a few times and worked out your own templates and processes, you’ll be rewarded with messages like these:

Kindlegen message: mobi file created successfully

epubcheck message: no errors detected  Amazon message: file upload successful - no spelling errors