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Ebook Authoring Tool Suggestion

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8 replies to this topic

#1 nethy


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Posted 23 July 2009 - 10:32 PM


I'm a little off topic, but if anyone has good tips I'd love to have them. I am looking for a tool for designing & creating ebooks. It needs to be something a little more up to the job then an 'export-to-pdf' option in a word processor. It also needs to be easy to use for non-technical first timer and free (like beer). Preferably, it does by default all the things that are good practice for producing ebooks:
  • Small File sizes
  • Landscape page size/shape for reading on a laptop screen
  • Table of contents
  • Play nice with common PDF readers' side panels
  • Print nicely and/or
  • Copyright protection (for what it's worth)
  • Whatever else is a good idea for ebooks*. (I am not very knowledgeable)
If you have any suggestions that are not free or you know of a resource explaining how to use a more swiss army knife tool that can achieve the above if xyz, that would also be appreciated.

As a side note: Does anyone know of a cheap (preferably free) hosted site creation** tool that aids and complements ebook distribution. Preferably this is a tool that was built with ebook authors in mind allowing ebooks-in-exchange-for-personal-information exchanges and contact permission and ebook sales.*** For those familiar, what I am hoping for is a weebly or synthasite for ebook authors.


*Come to think of it, a list of simple best practices would be appreciated too.
** If you have any non-cms suggestions such as embeddable widgets, that is also useful.
*** Sales are secondary. I don't discount something that doesn't support ecommerce.
****The context is not for profit, hence the emphasis on cheap an easy.

#2 mal4mac


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Posted 24 July 2009 - 05:33 AM

Adobe Acrobat? It's not cheap, but it has the best chance of getting the side panels to play nice! I bought it when I became serious about writing ebooks, and found it worth the price.

#3 nethy


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Posted 27 July 2009 - 01:16 AM

Thanks malmac.

Adobe Acrobat certainly has the right features. Unfortunately it's not right for my purposes. The price tag ($400?) is prohibitive and so is the learning curve (if it is similar to other Adobe products). I'm sure it's the right tool for the job if you regularly produce ebooks, but that's not what I have in mind.

The idea is to make ebooks more accessible. IE, a tool suitable for someone who want to write an ebook.

#4 mal4mac


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Posted 27 July 2009 - 05:56 AM

The price might be worth it if you produce only one ebook -- as long as it sells well! Actually I've moved away from developing ebooks, I found web pages + AdSense to be a much better model, for what I'm doing, than pdf + PayPal. There are so many naff ebooks out there that I wonder if most people have been put off buying them or searching for them. Certainly the AdSense click through rate on my informational web pages produces far better results than PayPal income form ebook sales.

#5 madams


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Posted 27 July 2009 - 06:51 AM


Your quite an old guy according to your profile age oldfogey.gif

#6 nethy


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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:38 PM

For anybody interested in the conclusion

I haven't gotten far in the search, but I have searched a bit. I suppose that means that the tool I described doesn't exist or isn't widely used. Here is the best I have come up with. I guess I knew this before I started but at least now I know that mostly everyone else knows about as much as me. If you have anything to add, please do.

From Seth Godin on Squidoo
* Write something worth reading!
* Put it into Word or a similar word processor.
* Change your page layout to wide.
* Even better, change your page size to eight inches wide and six inches high.
* Use a legible font for the body copy. Times is fine, but boring. Don't use something fancy.
* Use a headline font with bravado!
* Now, if you have a Mac, just choose, "print to PDF".
* If you don't have a Mac, go buy one and repeat the previous step, or, if you must, figure out how to do that step with a PC or a Commodore 64 or whatever it is you're using. [Easy tip: visit http://www.openoffice.org/ it's free and has print to PDF built in].
* Your eBook is now basic, but done.
* If you open it in Adobe Acrobat (not the Reader, but the for sale version) you can add hyperlinks. Recommended.
my notes:
- You can make PDFs in pretty much any word processor that isn't made by Microsoft. OpenOffice.org (free) will let you save links as links so even if you use a mac you should get Open Office (sorry Seth) if you don't have Adobe Acrobat

More here.

#7 Scottie


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Posted 31 July 2009 - 04:17 PM

For the actual writing part, I like YWriter5. Great tool for helping you organize your thoughts, progression and chapters. It's meant for writing novels but is handy for instructional books as well. Check it out, its free. smile.gif

#8 Michael-F


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Posted 03 September 2009 - 04:02 PM

CutePDF is a free and easy way to print to a PDF.

#9 BeTheBest


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Posted 15 September 2009 - 11:09 PM

I have written and $old e-books. I used an inexpensive program that worked really well. What I found is that when you put a password on the book (to open it) it increases it's value and peole are far less likely to try and share it (only important if you're thinking of actually selling the book.)

I used a small program from ebookcompiler.com. When I bought it, it was about $30.00. Only one problem is that the ebooks are NOT able to be used on Macs. From over 5 years experience, I didn't find that to be a problem. I don't know why. Maybe MAC owners know everything and don't buy e-books.

Anyway, you basically build a small website. The ebook compiler puts all those HTML pages into a book. It generates passwords, etc. I found it a great program. Even embedded pdf files (like chartes, etc) into the ebook. Actually made the cost of the program back in the first month. Works well.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

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