6 Replies Latest reply on May 11, 2010 8:37 AM by J. Strnad

    Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?


      I am trying to write a ebook but cannot find any software for writing an ebook. I googled this topic and got back a lot of spam sites and software vendors requiring their own readers.


      Is there any software suited to the Adobe reader?

        • 1. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?

          I think Adobe wants you to buy their InDesign product.  I don't understand why Acrobat Pro can't write

          in ePub format.  It writes in several other formats.  You should be able to read in a PDF and export to

          ePub format in AcrobatPro, in my opinion.

          • 2. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?
            J. Strnad Level 1

            I'm struggling with the same issue. I'm making progress.


            My book is written in Microsoft Word. It has "parts" and "chapters." It seems that the part headings (just a page with the words "Part One," "Part Two," etc.) need to be formatted with the style "Heading 1." To change the look, I need to modify the Heading 1 style. The chapter headings need the style "Heading 2." Again, to change the look, I have to change the style.


            Okay, book written and formatted, saved.


            Now I've done a "Save As" to save it as a Web Page (.htm). When saving, I found a "Web Options" button that let me select a tab called "Coding" and selected "Unicode (UTF-8)." This seems to be important. I saved the file.


            Then I used a free program called "calibre" which is an ebook reader/converter program. I clicked on "Add Book" and browsed to the .htm file I'd just created with Word. Once that was in place, I click on "Convert Book" and converted it to an epub file.


            It looked pretty much OK but not perfect.


            So I downloaded another free program called "Sigil" which is an ebook editor. It has been of some help but leaves much to be desired.


            I'm still wrangling with getting the cover image to display in Adobe Digital Editions.


            There must be an easier way without spending $700 for Adobe In-Design. Heck, I probably won't even make $700 off this book.


            Best wishes to you and all others trying to make ebooks!

            • 3. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?
              gcfl Level 1

              I found Calibre also, but on the first try it totally ignored the formatting of the PDF file, such as centered paragraphs, etc.  I haven't gone back in to try to figure out how to tell it to do the right thing, if that is even possible.  I view these problems as typical of freeware.


              I have already bought Acrobat Pro.  In my opinion, it should export to ePub format.  It should be straightforward for Adboe to add ePub as an alternative export format.  I think Adobe is missing an opportunity to sell more Acrobat Pro.

              • 4. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?
                J. Strnad Level 1

                Yeah. I even have InDesign in the CS2 suite, but I'd have to upgrade 

                to the latest-greatest to get ePub support and that costs $200.


                I wouldn't look for any program to work with a PDF file. The whole 

                idea of PDF is to create a file that is unchanging. It's more like an 

                image file that looks the same from one computer to another. That 

                makes it crummy for ebooks that have to contend with varying screen 

                sizes and type sizes, etc.


                An ebook is really a web page that can be viewed with various browsers 

                on different readers. The pages have to change in size and shape and 

                the text has to flow and adjust to different sizes and displays. ePub 

                is really just an html file, a web page.


                That's why it's easier to go from a Word document saved as a web page 

                than from a PDF file. If you wrote your book in Word, save it as a web 

                page (with UTF-8 decoding, whatever that is) and work from that. Add 

                it as a book in calibre, then convert it to ePub and see what happens.


                I got about 95% of the way there by going from the Word/web page file. 

                Still having trouble with certain formatting, though, and the cover.


                Right now, the freeware will get you a long way, and the next step is 

                very pricey Adobe InDesign. I don't even know that that works, but for 

                what they charge, I'd hope it would! Somebody sometime will come up 

                with a $50 ebook creator, but it doesn't seem to exist yet.


                Best of luck,



                • 5. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?
                  gcfl Level 1

                  My situation is a little different.  I didn't write the original document, I only have it in PDF form.


                  But to your point, I could use Acrobat Pro to convert the PDF to a Word or HTML document and then take that document into Calibre to see what happens.  I'm sure with enough time I could get the formatting to work.


                  For me, it's not worth the effort.  I just got a script to read in PDF format and I wanted the convenience  of the iPad iBooks reader, which provides a superior reading experience to just reading a PDF on the iPad.  This is just a one-off.  I can read the script in less time than it would take me to figure out how to get it formatted correctly for iBooks.


                  Someone should do an iPad app that reads various document types, including PDFs, and outputs ePub format.  That would allow all these documents to be put on the iBooks shelf and read using the iBooks user interface.  That makes more sense to me than having a different reader for every document type.  I'm sure Adobe will come out with an iBooks-like PDF reader for the iPad, but that's not what I want.

                  • 6. Re: Authoring ebook Software - Recommendations?
                    J. Strnad Level 1

                    Ah, got it.


                    Definitely, not worth the trouble.