eBook Formatting for Self-Publishers
Which Format? — eBookstore requirements
Self-publishing is now an accepted and respected route to getting your book onto the virtual eBookshelves.
The eBook stores (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Apple iTunes Bookstore, etc.) cater for different eReading devices (Kindle, Nook, iPad…), with differing eBook formats:
- MOBI for Amazon (Kindle)
- ePUB for Barnes & Noble (Nook) and most others
In fact, it is likely that your source document - your manuscript - will need to go through an initial process to convert it into a format (probably HTML) that conversion software can then use to produce the MOBI or ePUB file.
The guidance on the Kindle Direct Publishing website indicates that a DOC source document created in Word, then saved as WebPage Filtered, is perfectly acceptable. Many authors have found, though, that this produces inconsistent and unprofessional-looking results when the final book is viewed on a range of eReaders. In order to have full control over what your book will look like they recommend manually creatng an HTML version of your manuscript, and then using eBook creation software such as Calibre to do the final conversion into MOBI format.
If you wish to sell your eBook through as many outlets as possible, you may wish to consider using Smashwords. Smashwords does sell eBooks, but is mainly a distributor. Currently, it is the easiest, and in some cases the only, route into Apple iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Diesel and Barnes & Noble. It requires a “clean” DOC file (stripped of all the superfluous formatting tags that Word adds behind the scenes as you type your manuscript). This file is then put through a process called the Meat Grinder, which produces a number of different eBook formats which Smashwords then ships out on your behalf to the resellers concerned.