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3 Most Common Book Formats for Self-Publishers

Thursday, April 07, 2016

The first thing to know when entering the book world is the differences among your book formatting options. There are three main book formats used to create and design your book, each offering a different set of pros and cons. Read about the benefits of each to decide the best option for making your book publishing dreams come to fruition.

PDF for Print Books

Portable Document Format (PDF) is the standard format for creating a print book and documents. Creating a print book requires that you format it to standard print book sizes and provide a PDF file to the printer. It’s easy to create a PDF, but it’s not so easy to create a beautiful book, which is why you need to buy a book design template, learn how to use a book publishing tool, or hire a professional. Every program from Word to InDesign, PowerPoint to Photoshop, can export to the PDF format and be printed exactly as is to paper or delivered digitally. Because the text does not reflow, PDFs can be extremely difficult to read on small devices.

Standard EPUB

With any endeavor into publishing an ebook, you’ll come across the EPUB book formatting optionthe standard choice on the market. Everyone in digital publishing agreed to use the EPUB standard; even Amazon now uses it, although they used to require MOBI.

EPUB can be read on Kindle e-readers, Apple devices, B&N Nook, and via apps like Adobe Digital Editions and gives you access to the biggest ebook stores on the market.

Always validate your EPUB before uploading to a publishing platform or retailer. Otherwise, you could be in danger of putting your ebook at risk. So if you’re doing it yourself or hiring a pro, make sure to take this last step.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone!

If you've published your print book with IngramSpark, there is a conversion option available to your within your account dashboard. The charge is just 60 cents per page to convert your print book into an ebook. You can also use experts such as PressBooks or Joel Friedlander’s book design templates for help. You can also hire an independent conversion professional, but be wary of sloppy book formatting and unappealing layouts. Make sure to check references and look at samples of their work before buying.

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Carla King

Carla King is a publishing coach and the founder of the Self-Publishing Boot Camp educational program of books, workshops, and online courses. Her books include the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, the Consumer’s Guide for Self-Publishers, which reviews the products, tools, and services you use to write, publish, and promote your books, and IngramSpark’s Book Formatting Guide. Carla started self-publishing in 1995 with her travel guide, Cycling the French Riviera, followed by a memoir titled American Borders and a collection called Stories from Elsewhere. She runs the Indie Publishing track at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and hosts the Author Friendly Podcast. Find the podcast, along with her books, courses, free resources and advice at www.selfpubbootcamp.com.