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Old 03-26-2020, 11:49 AM   #1
quaquangbinh
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A question for the readers

I've been discussing the movement of all my books to ebook (yes, we're slow getting to it, but if you'd seen what our schedule has looked like the past 6 months, you'd understand why we're so slow. Heck, Destiny's Mission just got released recently some 3 months behind schedule!!) in the near future, still keeping the paperbacks for sale for those who prefer them that way, while appeasing all those who want to read them in the more modern format.

But anyways, I digress, as I'm getting off topic here. The blunt of my question is this. Other the major common formats pdf, what other formats would you recommend that I offer my book in, or should I simply stick with those three formats, as it appears that almost everyone will soon be moving to supporting only those three?
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:22 PM   #2
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EPUB should probably be your Primary format. Anyone with Calibre can make a decent other format from it.

AZW3 (if not uploading to Amazon) or Mobi

Lastly, PDF for those that don't want a dedicated reading app
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Old 03-26-2020, 06:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quaquangbinh View Post
I've been discussing the movement of all my books to ebook (yes, we're slow getting to it, but if you'd seen what our schedule has looked like the past 6 months, you'd understand why we're so slow. Heck, Destiny's Mission just got released recently some 3 months behind schedule!!) in the near future, still keeping the paperbacks for sale for those who prefer them that way, while appeasing all those who want to read them in the more modern format.

But anyways, I digress, as I'm getting off topic here. The blunt of my question is this. Other the major common formats pdf, what other formats would you recommend that I offer my book in, or should I simply stick with those three formats, as it appears that almost everyone will soon be moving to supporting only those three?
You are coming at this from the wrong direction.

Do you want to reach the largest pool of readers? Put your book for sale on Amazon, Barnes And Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and Apple. Amazon alone is something like 80% of the market. Add the rest and you pretty much have the entire market covered.

Each store will have its own rules and formats that you will have to follow. Follow them. Even if you go to Smashwords and pay them to distribute your book, they will demand a Word Doc if you want to get into their premium catalog.

In short, the choice of the format is really the wrong question. Distribution channels must be decided first and they will dictate the format to you.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:45 AM   #4
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Another major point is: whatever you decide to do, DO NOT convert PDF to another format and offer that conversion as it is. PDF is absolutely the worst format to convert from. The result is almost always a mess which has to be cleaned up manually (and cleaning up a poor PDF conversion is a slooooow job).

I mention this because I have seen self-published PDF conversions a few times on Amazon. Awful.
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Old 03-27-2020, 07:19 AM   #5
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VydorScope is correct.

I would add that it seems to be quite apparent from your post that you have not done your homework. One of the primary things you should consider is whether you want to go exclusive with Amazon. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has some good posts on her blog and has written various books on the subject which can give you some guidance.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:19 AM   #6
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Unless you are in the academic market, PDF is the single worst format to start with.

It hasn't been a significant format for commercial ebooks since last century, give or take a year. Most ebook stores list millions of titles for sale: few if any in PDF. The commercisl market left that behind decades ago.

Pretty much every publisher, corporate or indie, starts with ePub or one of the Amazon mobi/azw formats as they are perfectly readable on ereaders, phones, tables, PCs and Macs. PDF is pretty much limited to the larger screens.
If you don't want the bother of going through every ebookstore individually, there are aggregators like Direct2Digital and Smashwords who'll distribute it for you.

As pointed out by Darryl, above, your first decision is whether to go Amazon exclusive (and get *optional* access to Kindle Unlimited) or go "wide" through Kobo, Apple, Google, Nook, and maybe Overdrive. None of which do much business, if any, in PDF.

Now, if you are doing a textbook or scientific report with complex graphics and charts or you want to limit access to the academic world, then PDF might serve but for narrative text commerce ePub and Mobi, especially the latter, are mandatory.
That's where the customers are.

Last edited by fjtorres; 03-27-2020 at 08:23 AM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 11:41 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sirtel View Post
Another major point is: whatever you decide to do, DO NOT convert PDF to another format and offer that conversion as it is. PDF is absolutely the worst format to convert from. The result is almost always a mess which has to be cleaned up manually (and cleaning up a poor PDF conversion is a slooooow job).

I mention this because I have seen self-published PDF conversions a few times on Amazon. Awful.
I agree. PDF is a "terminal" format in that it should be treated as the end of any conversion series. Any other formats should be created from the source used to create the PDF and never done from a PDF.
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Old 03-27-2020, 12:00 PM   #8
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Smashwords ms doc conversion isn't great, they don't take docx.
SO
Make an epub2 from a docx that uses per paragraph styles and "body text level" for everything except chapters / sections etc, which should be Level1, Level2. Don't go more than 2 levels.

Upload ePub2 direct to Smashwords and Amazon. Smashwords also distributes via epub2 to Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Tolino etc.
Make a dual mobi (it's old mobi and azw3/KF8 in one file) from the epub2 and direct upload that to Smashwords for Kindles. Don't use that anywhere else.
"Save As" the docx as ms doc and upload that to Smashwords for LRF and PDF, don't use that anywhere else.

So the epub is the master / main ebook format and the source is edited in odt (Writer, with save as Docx and Doc) or docx in Word,

Don't open and save docx or doc files in LO Writer without checking ALL styles & headings and saving in ODT, use "Save As" to export Word Formats.

There is also Google Playstore/Google Books. Only upload epub2 to it, if using it at all and add $1 or $2 to price as Google only takes the Publisher price as a guide. They aid piracy by suggesting PDF by default. Most pirated paperbacks are scanned PDF with an unproofed text layer from OCR.

Proof the ebooks on a real eink based epub reader (not in kepub mode). If you are not 100% sure check the dual Mobi on an ancient Kindle and on a later one that does AZW3, select Publisher mode if any heading styles important.

Check on the eink ereaders that you can change font size, line spacing and margins. Justification isn't so important if it's fully justified, otherwise check they work too especially if it's poetry.

Do not rely on Apps or PC programs or Amazon previewers to see if the ebook formatting is OK.

Last edited by Quoth; 03-27-2020 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:34 PM   #9
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What you want to do is create ePub of your books. use ePub 2 as you won't need ePub 3. Once you have a well crafted ePub and the code is good (keep it as simple as possible and any graphics should be high resolution), you can use that as the source for Amazon. Everywhere else will accept and sell the ePub.

You need to validate it with the latest version of epubcheck as that's what the stores require ePub to pass.

What format are your electronic versions? PDF is going to be a lot of hard work to convert from. So let's hope you have a better format to start from.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:04 PM   #10
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Epub and Mobi.

I've been having the usual battle with pdf, and just wrote another rant about it.

Pdf files which load fine on one device won't necessarily load on another, and will sometimes crash. Pdf-to-pdf conversion is frustrating and sometimes loses text. Pdf-to-epub conversion is harder.

Pdf files which are formatted for a large page, often with 2 columns, are a pain and a half on small devices.
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
Unless you are in the academic market, PDF is the single worst format to start with.
There too.

Quote:
It hasn't been a significant format for commercial ebooks since last century, give or take a year.
It's still the standard, here, in 2020, and absolutely maddening.

P.S. Academia is almost all pdf. Most academic sources likewise. DTRPG has 72,763 books and other files in pdf, vs. 1,239 in epub, and 909 in mobi. Most hobby sources likewise. Which is why I think it's still the (awful) standard.

Last edited by MarjaE; 03-27-2020 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 03-27-2020, 08:30 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarjaE View Post
There too.



It's still the standard, here, in 2020, and absolutely maddening.

P.S. Academia is almost all pdf. Most academic sources likewise. DTRPG has 72,763 books and other files in pdf, vs. 1,239 in epub, and 909 in mobi. Most hobby sources likewise. Which is why I think it's still the (awful) standard.
I did say *commercial* ebooks.

And yes, pdf is bad for academia but so are paid subscription Journals, and they're still doing both.


Some day they'll realize it's the 21st century out there.
But I'm not holding my breath.
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