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Old 02-11-2013, 01:01 AM   #1
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Craig223 began at the beginning.
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Need Help Creating an E-Book

Just joined the site, so hello to everyone.

Iím here because Iím struggling with an assignment Iíve been given. I hope this is the right place to post about this.

Sorry in advance for the length of the post, but I want to include everything I think might be relevant. (Plus, the more I say, the more clear will be my modest level of understanding of computers, e-books, etc., which hopefully will lead folks to simplify their responses to something that wonít thoroughly befuddle me.)

I work for a group of about 300 physicians. I handle their various writing projects, such as a monthly newsletter, random brochures, etc.

Iíve just completed one of the most ambitious projects so far, a guide for cancer patients that the oncologists will distribute to their patients. I created it in Microsoft Publisher, and I also have it in pdf, since itís easy to convert to that. Itís about 125 pages.

Now the president of the group has decided that itís so expensive to print that (plus binder, tabs, etc.) that heíd like to make it available to patients as an e-book instead (or in addition, so they can have their choice and hopefully most will choose the electronic option). So Iím now charged with making it into an e-book.

I come into this knowing basically nothing about e-books. I donít own an e-reader or whatever theyíre called, certainly have never created an e-book.

Several hours of Googling led me to the following initial impressions (which may all be completely wrong; feel free to correct me on any point): ePub is the most common format for e-books, but many devices cannot read such files, as is true for all the alternatives. Many recommend simply leaving it as a pdf, which evidently just about all devices can read fine. If instead I choose to convert it to ePub or some such file type that is specific to e-books, I gather that that has certain drawbacks/consequences, including that it eliminates the pagination and basically makes it all like itís one page so that individual devices divide it up however fits their size, it has only a very limited number of fonts and font sizes, it has only the basic keyboard letters and numbers and most common symbols, and it can unpredictably screw up graphics and text boxes and such.

Again, Iím not saying all that is accurate, but thatís what Iíve read so far online.

Basically it sounds like it would be a nightmare trying to convert my Microsoft Publisher document to a file format like ePub. It has different fonts, headings of many different sizes, plenty of graphics and text boxes that Iíd want to keep on their current page, occasional less common symbols (like, say, the copyright symbol), and on and on. It was very much created to be a print document.

I reported all these early findings to the president of the group. His response is that what I read about the pagination issue is wrong, that whatever device he reads an e-Book on the pagination stays the same. He says pdf files are just very user unfriendly, that he hates trying to read a pdf, whereas an e-Book is a breeze and much more intuitive. As to it not converting well, his response is that heís willing to pay me to go through it page by page and line by line to clean up however it messes up the spacing and fonts and such. And for that matter to do so for multiple file types, since if neither ePub nor anything else will work for everyone, his solution is to make the book available in two or three or four electronic formats and patients can choose the one that best fits their device.

He also brought up the issue of how to even get the electronic version of the book to people. What heíd like to do is have it available (in multiple formats) on the groupís website, so people can click to download it from there. (It would be free; weíre not charging patients for it.) But heís under the impression that some formats, like the one Apple uses for its devices, are proprietary and you probably have to direct people to their website and maybe even pay to make it available there. So thatís another thing I need to research.

So in summary, I need advice on at least the following:

1. What file type(s) should I change a Microsoft Publisher book to in order to make it so that everybody or almost everybody would be able to read it on their device, it would be as user friendly as possible as far as the reader experience, and it would enable me to keep it as close in appearance as possible to the print version of the book?

2. What do I then do with that file(s) so that people can readily read it on their device?

Thanks so much for any guidance you can give me.
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