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Old 06-25-2010, 03:25 PM   #1
q5485
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Children's books author needs suggestions

Hi
I have authored/self-published 20 children's books in hardcover format. I am now considering converting them into epub so that ibookstore can carry them.
To begin, I started with my first book. I already have it stored in pdf format and in docx formats. I converted the pdf format of the book into epub using callibre. I used sigil software to clean it up and then I had it "validated". It is now validated (though I would still like to make some changes in the appearance such as fonts, etc). Since it is already validated, I would like to know the following:

(a) is there a sandbox or a place where I can upload it and see how it will look on an ipad? I downloaded epubcheck-1.0.5.war but I am lost as to how to use it. I even downloaded the epubcheck-src-1.0.5.zip but I don't know how to run it. (I know how to unzip, extract & install but I am lost as to how to how to run epubcheck or if I still need to run epubcheck.

(b) One of the reasons I am restricting sales of my hardcover books to the US market is control over DRM. Will I be able to control for piracy if I make my books available through ibookstore.

(c) Assuming I have successfully validated the epub format of my book, where do I upload it? Is there an application that I need to fill out and send to apple?

(d) If I can successfully do this with my 1st book, I will get the conversion done for the remaining 19 books and then upload them to ibookstore.
(e) Should I consider converting the books to suit other ebook readers such as kindle, nook etc? Are DRM better or worse with other ebook readers?
(f) I am trying to minimize the cost of conversion. I was fed up with the big book publishers and decided to self-publish. Do you think I can still do these myself or should I have a 3rd party convert it and upload it for me? One third party is charging $ 250 per book to convert and upload it to ibookstore. Is that a reasonable cost?

Thank you very much for being patient and reading my questions. I hope you will be able to help me with pointers and suggestions. Thank you in advance for doing this.
K
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
To begin, I started with my first book. I already have it stored in pdf format and in docx formats. I converted the pdf format of the book into epub using calibre.
I'd suggest starting with your docx, saving as HTML, and then going from there. Converting from the PDF is likely to lead to problems with incorrect paragraph breaks.

Quote:
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I used sigil software to clean it up and then I had it "validated". It is now validated (though I would still like to make some changes in the appearance such as fonts, etc).
You can't specify the body font for iPad. You can specify the font for headings, but only from the range of fonts available on the iPad. You can specify relative sizes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
Since it is already validated, I would like to know the following:

(a) is there a sandbox or a place where I can upload it and see how it will look on an ipad? I downloaded epubcheck-1.0.5.war but I am lost as to how to use it. I even downloaded the epubcheck-src-1.0.5.zip but I don't know how to run it. (I know how to unzip, extract & install but I am lost as to how to how to run epubcheck or if I still need to run epubcheck.
I don't know of any emulator that will run iBooks. I wish there was. Without a moderately recent iPod Touch, iPhone or and iPad, I don't know of any way to view your book as it will appear in iBooks. You can, of course, view it in Adobe Digital Editions, but the rendering capabilities are slightly different.

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(b) One of the reasons I am restricting sales of my hardcover books to the US market is control over DRM. Will I be able to control for piracy if I make my books available through ibookstore.
Piracy isn't a problem. Avoid using DRM if at all possible. And why restrict to US only? Although piracy isn't a problem, not allowing 95% of the world population to buy your books seems an odd way to try to avoid piracy.

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(c) Assuming I have successfully validated the epub format of my book, where do I upload it? Is there an application that I need to fill out and send to apple?
You have to upload it to Apple using special software that only runs on a Mac. You need to sign up with an iTunes account, and then sign up to supply them with ebooks first.

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Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
(d) If I can successfully do this with my 1st book, I will get the conversion done for the remaining 19 books and then upload them to ibookstore.
(e) Should I consider converting the books to suit other ebook readers such as kindle, nook etc? Are DRM better or worse with other ebook readers?
I'd suggest that a Kindle conversion is worth doing — you sign up at dtp.amazon.com. You can get Calibre to do a conversion to Kindle format, but you'll get better results (IMO) in working from the ePub source (i.e. unzipped) with KindleGen, a cross-platform command-line program from Amazon. You'll need to tweak the ePub files a little, but only in a good way.

It might also be worth doing a version for Smashwords.

Quote:
Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
(f) I am trying to minimize the cost of conversion. I was fed up with the big book publishers and decided to self-publish. Do you think I can still do these myself or should I have a 3rd party convert it and upload it for me? One third party is charging $ 250 per book to convert and upload it to ibookstore. Is that a reasonable cost?
It depends how much you value your time, and how good a job they do. Personally, I suggest that a little time spent learning about ePub and Kindle ebook formats and sorting out tools and workflow will allow you to convert your book quite quickly and probably end up with a better product.

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Thank you very much for being patient and reading my questions. I hope you will be able to help me with pointers and suggestions. Thank you in advance for doing this.
K
If you're on Mac, look up my Applescripts for ePub Zip and KindleGen.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:57 PM   #3
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Thank you! My entire set of hard cover books weighs more than 24 lbs and shipping overseas is going to cost me much more than the cost of printing. That's another reason I am holding them back.
In regards to your suggestion, I guess I will have to buy a mac or find someone who has a mac. What program do I need on the mac to upload them?
Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 06-25-2010, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
Thank you! My entire set of hard cover books weighs more than 24 lbs and shipping overseas is going to cost me much more than the cost of printing. That's another reason I am holding them back.
Perhaps I've misunderstood. I thought you were saying that you were going to restrict ebook sales to the US.

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In regards to your suggestion, I guess I will have to buy a mac or find someone who has a mac. What program do I need on the mac to upload them?
It's supplied by Apple - there'll be details after you've signed up, I expect.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:36 PM   #5
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These articles may help:
http://www.maclife.com/article/news/...tly_ibookstore

http://www.macrumors.com/2010/05/27/...in-ibookstore/

The second one notes:
Quote:
Apple notes that all authors signing up to work with Apple must have a U.S. tax ID and valid iTunes Store account with credit card on file. Apple also requires authors to meet certain minimum sales in individual markets before making payments to authors and recommends that authors weigh that factor before deciding whether to work directly with Apple or through a third-party aggregator.
Good luck! You could also go with a third party aggregator like Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/
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Old 07-05-2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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I am currently looking for some books for my young son and your books look like they might fit the bill. However, they would have to be available in Canada in ePub format. I am more than willing to check them out if this were the case. Please consider using Smashwords and making them available outside the U.S.

For the record. DRM is easily broken and offers no real protection at all. If your titles are only available in the U.S. you will be more likely to have them pirated by people outside of the U.S. due to this restriction. Less restriction is better for sales.

At this point I am desperate to find ePub formatted stories for children. If yours are among the first available in Canada, and the quality is decent, you will likely get 24 sales from me alone. However, if they are not available in Canada, but become available on the darknet, I am not above getting them that way as there would seem to be no other option.

Last edited by RedRoverJ; 07-05-2010 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:31 PM   #7
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I am planning on making them available worldwide. In fact, I am looking for translators currently, who would translate them into Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Arabic & French. So theses children's books would be bilingual versions.

I don't know how any of the books will look on ipad in those languages. Has anyone converted books in those languages?

I am not a programmer and here is my problem. In my hardcover children's books, all illustrations are on the left hand page and the relevant content is on the right hand page.
I know we can read ipad in portrait and in landscape mode. I would prefer that everyone reads the ipad in landscape mode, so that the image and the content is both visible (I am assuming that the epub programming can ensure that it will be displayed in that fashion). When viewed in the portrait mode, only 1 page will be displayed (either the illustration or the text) and that is not the ideal way to read my children's book.

How can I ensure that the image stays on the left hand page of the book? Is it possible to do that in epub?
Thanks
Kash

Last edited by q5485; 07-06-2010 at 04:36 PM. Reason: correct some typos
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by q5485 View Post
I know we can read ipad in portrait and in landscape mode. I would prefer that everyone reads the ipad in landscape mode, so that the image and the content is both visible (I am assuming that the epub programming can ensure that it will be displayed in that fashion). When viewed in the portrait mode, only 1 page will be displayed (either the illustration or the text) and that is not the ideal way to read my children's book.

How can I ensure that the image stays on the left hand page of the book? Is it possible to do that in epub?
Thanks
Kash
I don't think there is a way to force people to read your book in Landscape mode only thru iBooks (ePub).

You might have to create your book as a self-contained App instead to control the user experience to the extent you seem to want.
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Old 07-06-2010, 04:41 PM   #9
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Thanks kjk..
I am guessing that creating an app is far more difficult than creating an ibook (epub), correct? If that is the case, all I can do is just make a recommendation to the reader in the beginning that these books are best viewed in landscape mode. Will that work? Please remember I am an author and have already written the books. just need to make them available on ipad.

I have heard of smashwords, though I am not keen on giving away 20 % of my revenue to them if I can do the conversions myself.

Thanks once again
K
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Old 07-06-2010, 09:18 PM   #10
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If you can make it available in multiple formats and host it yourself, all the power to you. However, you still have to draw in the traffic and handle payments and all that good stuff. Smashwords at least does that for you, at a price of course.
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Old 07-07-2010, 12:11 AM   #11
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Currently I am selling my hardcover books through Amazon and my website. I end up doing the marketing anyway. My guess is that Smashwords won't be marketing my books but making them available (just like Amazon). It is certainly a better deal than Amazon (which takes 55 % from me).

BTW, there is so much talk of DRM. How does one ensure DRM in an ibookstore? What is the norm as far as DRM is concerned?
Thanks
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