Learn About eBooks

Partner: Pro Audio Voices

ProAudioVoices_smallChildrens picture eBooks really come alive — and become more educational — when audio is added to the design. Unlike a standard eBook that provides only a visual experience, an audio-enhanced eBook gives the child the ability to easily follow along while being read to, without requiring an adult to take time out to read at the drop of a hat. As the words are spoken, the text can be visually highlighted on the page to support early readers.

Sound effects are also a delightful way to further engage the audience with an audio-enhanced eBook, and make it more interesting and interactive. Imagine an illustration of a storm. We hear the rain and distant rumblings under the words — tap the lightning in the picture and the crack of thunder sounds. Or imagine a scene in a garden, and we hear the buzzing of bees and rustle of the leaves — tap the bird and she sings.

To handle the creation of the soundtrack for an audio-enhanced eBook, we recommend Pro Audio Voices.

Pro Audio Voices

By providing professional voiceover and related sound services (including recording, editing, mixing, and mastering sound files) that uplift, transport and inspire audiences, Pro Audio Voices is a thriving hub for voiceover production serving the animation and publishing industries, especially those targeting young audiences. Pro Audio Voices provides an accessible path for self-published authors to enter into and thrive in audio book and audio enhanced eBook distribution. Pro Audio Voices can also provide voiceover in any language.

With over 32 years experience in the industry, Becky Parker Geist, owner and founder of Pro Audio Voices, began her career as a narrator for Talking Books for the Blind, quickly becoming one of the most-requested narrators. Since relocating to California, Becky established her own studio, and works with publishers and self-produced authors. She serves as President of Bay Area Independent Publishers Association, and is herself a writer and published author.

Becky believes that great stories can lift us up and carry us away, no matter how challenging life can get. Voice conveys the feelings behind the words, and a talented actor can transport and uplift a listening audience. She has a deep passion for acting, voiceover, and creating fun and engaging sound tracks with sound effects and music. She has a fast-growing clientele of publishers and authors who recognize the value of hiring an experienced professional with a strong acting background and the talent to bring their projects to completion through a joyful, collaborative process.


Pro Audio Voices proudly partners with eBook Architects and is also committed to creating the best reader experiences by having high quality standards throughout the audio creation process: narration, editing, mastering, and sound effects (created or found) that are perfectly balanced and mixed.

The prices listed below will provide you with a basic idea of what your sound track for your audio enhanced eBook project will cost, but since each project is so unique, especially regarding sound effects, it is best to request a quote. (Please note that these prices only reflect the creation of the audio content, not the implementation of that audio in your eBook file.)

These rates are based on a “per finished minute” (PFM) calculation, which means that when the project is done, the final time of the finished audio determines the final cost, rounded up to the nearest full minute. The minimum rate includes: buy-out (ownership) of the audio; the studio time to record and edit the audio, using professional equipment and software; minor revisions; audio delivery.

Narration only: 0-5 minutes (minimum) $350
Additional PFM* (narration only) $20
Narration + sound effects and/or music: 0-5 min. (minimum) $450
Additional PFM with sound effects/music $40 – $35
* per finished minute

Pro Audio voices also offers Royalty Share agreements of negotiable percentage rates, to qualified clients, to reduce your upfront cost, in exchange for sharing profits from the sale of the audio enhanced eBook.

Not sure how to figure out what cost you’d be looking at? The most accurate way is to allow the Pro Audio Voices to give you a quote. Second best way is to read your book aloud to estimate the length of the audio. If you imagine a lot of sound effects and/or music, assume you’ll be at the high end of the “additional PFM” range; if you imagine it light on sound effects, probably the lower end of the range.

One thing you can count on with Pro Audio Voices and eBook Architects partnering on your book: you’ll LOVE the finished product, and so will your audience.

Becky at Pro Audio Voices
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Is it a good idea to put my Table of contents at the end of my eBook?

Some people do this to increase the size of the free samples automatically generated by the eBook retailers. However, the Kindle and other devices will re-set the “last read location” to the end of the book if you have your Table of Contents there, so we normally recommend against that practice.

What is the difference between HTML5 and XHTML5?

HTML5 is the latest version of the HTML standard used on the Web and in eBooks. XHTML5 is a stricter and cleaner version of HTML5, with rules from XML imposed on the code. For example, when a tag is opened it has to be closed, and all of the tags have to be properly nested. XHTML5 allows the code to be more easily interpreted by the display engine, and it keeps the code more consistent and easier to edit.

I have heard you can’t use color in eBooks. Is that correct?

No, that is absolutely incorrect. eBooks look great with color, and we highly recommend using color images and even colored text (within reason) in your eBook files. Some devices have grayscale eInk screens, so the color will not show up on those devices. However, the color will be in the file, and it will work on all of the color devices. We do recommend you test colored text on a device with an eInk screen and ensure that the text will not be too light to read.

Do you need to have a separate ISBN for each version of the eBook for different companies?

Technically, yes. See an extended answer on our ISBNs page.

What is KindleGen?

KindleGen is Amazon’s eBook creation/compiling program. It is used on the KDP website to auto-convert files uploaded into the Kindle store, and it is also integrated into the Kindle Previewer program to handle the conversion of non-Kindle files loaded in that program. You can download KindleGen and get access to other Kindle creation information at amazon.com/kindlepublishing.

What is a fixed layout eBook?

Fixed Layout eBooks are HTML-based eBook files that are usually designed to match the layout of a print book. The key difference between fixed layout files and reflowable files is that reflowable eBooks allow the reader to have more control over the reading experience, such as changing the font size, background color, etc. For more information, please see our Fixed Layout Children’s and Non-Fiction pages.

Does Amazon sell HTML files or only Kindle?

Amazon only sells eBooks in the Kindle format, but that format, just like ePub, is built using HTML and CSS files.

How is fixed layout different from a pdf of the book?

Fixed layout eBooks are built using HTML, so they have more functionality than PDF files. For example, the narration overlay functionality used in many children’s eBooks is not possible in PDF files. In addition, none of the eBook retailers sell PDFs, so fixed layout eBook files offer the best sales opportunities.

A university librarian told me they are not acquiring any Kindle books but only HTML5/ePub. Have you found that to be common with other libraries? I know our local public library does buy Kindle books.

Libraries acquire their eBooks from services like 3M and Overdrive. These services sometimes offer an option for Kindle checkouts, but typically they are limited to ePub files because of the more common use of the Adobe DRM.

Has the Kindle format gotten any more sophisticated in how it handles tables or floating images?

Yes, Amazon’s Kindle Format 8 has support for many great design features, including floating images, tables, color text, embedded fonts, and more.

How are page numbers handled in an eBook?

Print book page numbers are included in the HTML code of both the Kindle and ePub formats as anchors. They are also listed in the PageList section of the NCX or Navigation file. The PageList is used by some reading systems (like the Kindle and iBooks) to show the reader the print page numbers of the book as they read.

How are page headers created in eBook files?

The different reading systems control what shows up in the header of your eBook. Most will display the title of the book, and some will also display the author name. That text cannot currently be set to display the chapter name or other information about where the reader is currently reading in the text.

How do eBooks handle hyphenation of long words?

Some eBook reading systems will apply hyphenation to longer words to make the text better fit on the screen. This is typically controlled by the reading system, and will change depending on the font size and other settings the reader has set on their device.

What about protecting the file?

eBook file protection is called Digital Rights Management (DRM). Please see our DRM page for information on how it works and suggestions on how to use it.

Can I sell my eBooks on my own website?

Yes! You are certainly able to sell your eBooks on your own website. For more information, please see this page.