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Upcoming Events

Joshua speaks at and attends eBook and publishing events every year. You are welcome to chat with him anytime at these events, or you can set up a time to consult with him about your eBook needs in person. Please see our Consulting and Training page for more details, and contact Joshua to set up an appointment.

DBWlogo-largeDigital Book World

January 13-15, 2014
New York City

A Practical Introduction to ePub3
With the increasing number of devices that support ePub3 and the calls from all directions for more ePub3 content to be made available, it might seem to many publishers that now is the best time to switch to the latest version of the popular eBook format. However, while creating an ePub3 file that validates in ePubCheck is not that difficult, that validation does not take into account the many important ePub3 features and functionality that are really at the core of the new format.

In this workshop, Joshua will walk you through some of the foundational coding changes that come with ePub3, looking at what the specification says, how that translates into proper coding techniques, and how to use those coding techniques in the real world of eBook publishing. You will learn about:

  • Basic ePub3 package structure and core files
  • Changes between ePub2 and ePub3 that you should note
  • Converting a basic ePub2 file to ePub3
  • ePub3-specific HTML5 semantic coding
  • Accessibility
  • epub:type attributes
  • Index markup
  • ePub Stylesheets
  • Current device support

This will be a code-intensive workshop with lots of practical advice and examples. You should walk away with a clear picture of the true differences and advancements in ePub3 over ePub2 and a solid understanding of how ePub3 files work in the real world.
Register


iccIntelligent Content Conference

February 26-28, 2014
San Jose, CA

Joshua will not be speaking at this conference, but he will be attending on the 27th and 28th.
Register


ebookcraftebookcraft and BookNet Tech Forum

March 5-6, 2014
Toronto

The Ebook Unicorn: Standards in Ebook Development
Joshua will be attending the BookNet Tech Forum and participating in a panel discussion on eBook standards and best practices at the related one-day ebookcraft event.
Register


IBPAPubUIBPA Publishing University

March 21-22, 2014
San Francisco

Tackling eBooks: Practical Advice for a Changing Market (Session 203)
Since eBook sales took off in 2008, the publishing industry has endured a lot of disruption and change. The technological changes in the eBook space have finally started to settle down, but publishers and authors still have a lot of confusion over eBook formats, enhancements, development strategies, and distribution. In this session, Joshua will provide you with a practical overview of eBook development and distribution, explaining how independent publishers and authors can more easily navigate through the confusion and create beautiful, functional eBook files. In addition, Joshua will offer some practical analysis of IBPA-member books and eBooks, giving you advice on how to tackle complex content in your own eBooks with ease.
If you would like to submit a file for analysis and possible discussion in the session, you can email it to Joshua directly at joshua@firebrandtech.com or you can send him a file download link through Dropbox. PDFs will be assessed for eBook development strategies, and ePub files will be assessed for quality and functionality.
Register


pcpaProtestant Church-Owned Publishers Association

April 3-4, 2014
Nashville, TN

eBooks in the Real World
Publishers often find eBooks to be frustrating and even confusing. Developing eBooks can be time consuming and expensive, and knowing how much effort to put into that process is not always that straightforward. In this workshop, Joshua will give you a solid introduction to the world of eBooks, with information for managers and designers alike. You will learn about eBook formats, enhancements, reading systems, DRM, selling on your website, testing, QA, and more. This will be an information-packed workshop with time for questions and more targeted advice.

FAQs

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.

Do the eBook files you create include a linked Table of Contents?

Yes, all of our files include the proper linking for the Table of Contents, index, and other elements.

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.

Do you build websites?

No, eBook Architects does not currently build websites. We recommend you contact a local website design company or use a service like Squarespace.

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.