I put together a standard operating procedure (SOP) that I used to produce ebook versions of books that existed in print and PDF forms at my previous employer, including the one I wrote, Failure Analysis Techniques for Electronics. Luckily, I had the original Microsoft Word files for each book as a starting point.
SOP for creating eBook files from MS Word documents
- Open/Edit Document in MS Word
- Word .doc files have to be converted into HTML.
- Please note that Word .docx files are much easier to convert since they are already in an XML file format, which is similar to HTML.
- XML was designed to store and transport data, while HTML was designed to display data and its appearance.
- Remove the page numbers from the Table of Contents by going to References, Insert Table of Contents, uncheck box for Show Page Numbers.
- File, Save As, Web Page, Filtered, .HTM file. Change file name if you want. Click Save.
- Images may be compressed and not look as nice with the default settings.
- To improve image quality, but also increase file size, in the Save As dialog box, click on Tools (in bottom left), Web Options, Tab for Browsers, Check Box for Allow PNG as a graphics format, Tab for Pictures, Screen Size, Click on a larger resolution, Pixels Per Inch, Click on a larger value, Click OK, Click Save.
- Open .HTM file in web browser and check for any issues.
- If needed, edit .HTM file in MS Word, save changes.
- Open Calibre eBook Management (Free software found at http://calibre-ebook.com/).
- Drag and drop .htm file into main window of Calibre, where it creates new entry as a ZIP file.
- Also can Click on Add Books, Add Books from a Single Directory, go to location of file and select it, Click OK.
- Right click on new entry in Main Window, Edit Metadata, Edit Metadata Individually to add cover image, edit title, author, keywords, etc. Click OK when done.
- Right click on entry, Convert Books, Convert Books Individually. Select ZIP as input format (should be only choice). Select EPUB as output format. Click OK. Wait for Jobs animated icon on bottom right of Calibre to stop. Jobs: 1 should stop as say Jobs: 0.
- Double click on number for the new entry and eBook viewer should open up. Check for any issues by clicking on the eBook navigation, font size, and other control buttons.
- If issues are found, edit the original HTM and import file again into Calibre.
- If no issues are found, the EPUB file should work on any device/program that reads EPUBs such as Apple iBooks and the Barnes and Noble Nook.
- To create a file to read on an Amazon Kindle, right click on entry, Convert Books, Convert Books Individually. Select EPUB as input format. Select MOBI as output format. Click OK. Wait for Jobs animated icon on bottom right of Calibre to stop. Jobs: 1 should stop as say Jobs: 0.
- The files are located in My Documents/Calibre Library or you can right click on an entry and Save to Disk in a different location.
- The MOBI file has a second set of Table of Contents at the end of the file, see Calibre’s FAQ for more information on this issue.
- If you use Amazon’s Kindle Previewer software to convert the EPUB file to MOBI, then the second Table of Contents won’t show up.
- The HTML code produced by MS Word is not at all elegant, but it seems to work fine.
- DRM is not encoded in these files, so they are not copy protected.
- Please note that when dealing with tables, it would be best to convert the tables to images in the original MS Word document.
eBook Stores and Resources
- Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
- Apple’s iTunes Connect
- Working with iTunes – Authors & Book Publishers: Frequently Asked Questions
- Please note, a Mac computer running Mac OS X 10.6 or later is required to run the iTunes Producer software to upload the files.
- Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Press
- Google Books Partner Program
- Kobo Writing Life
Helpful Independent Articles, Books, and Resources
- Asymmetrical’s Series on Indie Publishing
- Jane Friedman’s How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors
- Smashwords Style Guide
It’s a few years old now, but this video has a very useful overview of the issues involved in eBook production. Caution though, there is some language used that may be an issue in some offices, so I recommend using headphones.