I am a big fan of eBooks. I have many eBooks in formats other than .epub so I wanted to convert them into the proper eBook format – ePub. How difficult can it be? It turns out that its easy to make your own eBooks as long as you know the basic rules and tools.
Tools I use:
- iBooks (or any equivalent eBook reader)
- Pages (Apple’s equivalent to Word)
- iBooks Author
- TextWrangler (or notepad equivalent) – optional
Notes on the tools:
- iBooks is an eBook reader. It’s not a perfect software but it enables me to read everywhere and from any of my iOS devices. The main feature that I enjoy the most is that I can read a book on one device and continue reading on another device in anther room, at exactly the page I was on last.
- TextWrangler to me is equivalent to Notepad++, a text tool that recognise a lot of syntax from programming languages. I even use it to write instead of Word.
iBooks Author vs Pages:
iBooks Author and Pages can be both used to make eBooks. I tired both and found out that there is a Golden Rule – Books made with iBooks do not let users changing the font size. To me, that’s just stupid. 🙂 Because that I read a lot, I have my books all set to certain font size for easy reading. To me, this is the biggest fail for iBooks Author.
In short, if you want to make an eBook with loads of interactive features and multi-touch gestures (e.g. pop-up videos that expand, galleries of images on the same page) use iBooks Author; use one of the preloaded beautiful templates. I think that Apple pushed it out only for professional e-publishing purposes so the teaches can make their own textbooks etc. Click here to see beautiful examples of eBooks published by iBooks Author.
If you want to make an eBook with loads of texts, Pages can do the job for you simply. I had to use this option. You can still include video and audio files in your eBook with Pages but they won’t function as smooth as the ones in iBooks Author.
Apple‘s recommendation is to use the ePub_Best_Practices_EN.pages as a template for producing eBooks. I tried different Pages template and I had to admit that the template is well optimised for eBooks. I used another template, the eBook it produced was much slower to open and the font was not great to read with either.
- Download the template from Apple: ePub_Best_Practices_EN.pages
- Read Apple‘s instruction on how to Creating ePub with Pages