ePub Hell Revisited

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Our first book on the iBookstore, Plurality of Worlds, is finally out and I have to admit it was less of a slog than I'd anticipated. However, I suspect that the next book, Enemies of Books, will be much better. I've learned from producing the first one. Also, the second one is in ePub 3 format. Both books are designed to be read on iPhones and iPod Touches as well as iPads. Producing books using iBooks Author would be easier but would restrict sales to people with iPads.


In the UK, Plurality of Worlds is available here. In the US, it is available here.

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ePub Hell

Here at Schloss Danckwerts, the spiritual (and, indeed, commercial) home of the vast and sprawling Tiger of the Stripe publishing empire, we are hard at work trying to cash in on ebooks, not least because sales of our printed books have fallen off the metaphorical cliff. But what a palaver it is!

I published some PDF ebooks some years ago but the profits were virtually non-existent - in fact they were non-existent as the few pounds profit was paid by a cheque in Australian dollars which would have cost me more to pay in than it was worth. My next plan was to sell PDF books from my own site but I concluded that it was open to pirating and unlikely to be profitable. Than Kindle and Apple iBooks came along. 

Although I have a lot of new ebooks in the pipeline, I've only published one (a Kindle version of Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds) so far because creating either mobi or ePub files from my existing resources (InDesign files) is by no means straightforward. 

The biggest problem is that my books are full of footnotes and/or endnotes. Endnotes are not supported directly by InDesign so I use InFnote but that doesn't create hyperlinks in the ePubs or mobi files so this has to be done by hand. In any case, pop-up footnotes are much more suitable and they are a further complication.

The second major problem is the integration of illustrations. This is relatively easy with fixed-layout ePubs (with Rorohiko's superb ePubCrawler plu-in) but should I really be creating them? They are a nightmare on small devices such as iPhones.

Ah well! It is time to go and feed the vultures who circle around the castle turrets. If I come back alive, I'll return to this topic another time.

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