See How We Work

Our Process

Authors and publishers are typically too busy writing and publishing books to become proficient in eBook creation and optimization. With so many formats and devices available, knowing what to do and how to do it becomes even harder. At eBook Architects, we specialize in handling the eBook creation and design process for you so that you can focus on what you do best, while giving you the creative control you want from the eBook design process.

Our eBook development process is simple:

  1. You give us your files and explain what you want from the project.
  2. We give you a quote on the development, as well as any considerations or recommendations we have about how to make your eBooks the best they can be.
  3. If necessary, we can have a more in-depth discussion at this point about the project and how it should be handled.
  4. You approve the final quote and pay the deposit.
  5. We develop the eBook files and send them to you for review.
  6. You review the files and either submit revisions or approve them.

That’s it! Our development process is designed to be very client-friendly, and our Concourse project management system allows us to keep track of projects and communicate with you easily about the project.

File Formats We Accept

After designing eBooks for many years, one thing we have learned is that there is little or no consistency between the files we get from our clients. Some publishers use InDesign, some use Quark, and some use other print design programs. Authors typically use a word processing program like Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or Corel WordPerfect. The variation in file types and quality, even from one publisher or author, can be extensive.

In addition to that, the complexity of a book can have a substantial impact on the difficulty of converting it into foundational XHTML and designing it in the eBook formats. Fiction books usually take much less time than non-fiction, but some fiction books are more complex due to formatting irregularities or images.

Our content conversion and eBook design processes take all of these issues into account. We typically ask for Word and PDF files since those are the most common source files our clients have available. However, we can also start with InDesign files and other formats, as well as print books that have no digital file available.

For a more technical description of the files we will need, including details on what we will need for fixed layout and enhanced eBooks, please see our Content Specifications page.

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.