eBook Services FAQs

If you have questions about our eBook services, start here! If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact us.

What is an eBook?

An eBook, or electronic book, is a book that has been digitized and designed to be read on a computer or specialized eBook-reading device. The most common eBook formats are ePUB and ePDF.

What is the difference between an ePDF and an ePUB?

An ePDF is a static format. It does not flow and will look identical to the printed book, but will be optimized for web viewing. An ePUB file flows to fit the reading device and is often customizable. The ePUB format is what most eReading devices support.

What about Kindle?

The Amazon Kindle device reads a proprietary file format (.azw) which is controlled by Amazon. This format is based on the ePUB format but does not render exactly as an ePUB would. Bookmasters submits an ePUB file to Amazon for our publishers and authors, but Amazon tweaks that file and places it into their own file format. This can sometimes cause formatting discrepancies. For highly designed books, Bookmasters can create a further file (.prc or .mobi) which is closer to the Amazon proprietary file, but still is not 100%.

I’ve heard a lot about ePUB 3.0. Is this the ePUB file you will create for my book?

ePUB 3.0 is the agreed-upon improvement to the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum) ePUB specification. This was for standardization and also to improve future functionality when device retailers agree to support the ePUB 3.0 specification. Currently, eReading devices do not support ePUB 3.0 and so any functionality is not available.

Does the ePUB format support foreign language characters?

While the ePUB 3.0 specification will improve upon this, the following languages are not currently supported in the ePUB format:

Amharic Arabic Burmese Central Khmer
Chinese Hebrew Imperial Aramaic (700-300 BCE) Japanese
Judeo-Arabic Judeo-Persian Lao Mon-Khmer languages
Official Aramaic (700-300 BCE) Persian Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.)

Is it possible to have the ePUB file look like my printed book?

Not exactly. Because of the number of eReaders available and the various viewing options, the ePUB file will never look exactly like the printed book. The reader controls their reading experience when reading eBooks, whereas the publisher controls the reading experience with printed books. The different device makers have created fixed-layout ePUB formats that allow the ePUB page to remain almost exactly like the printed page. Bookmasters routinely converts to the Apple fixed-layout ePUB specification.

What does Bookmasters need to create these eBook files?

Bookmasters requires a complete, vector (searchable) PDF, including the cover image. All elements of the PDF must have a resolution of at least 300 DPI. A scanned document is not a vector PDF and must be further OCR (Optical Character Recognition) scanned to make the text searchable. The print-ready PDF is preferred if the book is to be printed as well.

If I only have a printed book, can I still have an eBook created?

Yes! Bookmasters can scan the printed book and then use that file to create the eBook formats. Since this is a more complex process, it typically is a bit more expensive, but well worth it for someone who only has a printed book with which to begin the process!

If my book contains color pictures or text, does this affect the price to convert to an eBook?

No. Color images, text, etc. do not affect the costs involved to convert your print PDF to eBook files. However, color images will appear grayscale on devices without color capability.

Will the back cover be included in the eBook files?

No. It is standard practice not to include the back cover in the eBook files. Any pertinent information from your back cover may be included in your title description when you upload your new title information metadata.

What if I want to make corrections to my eBook?

We consider the PDF file we receive for conversion to be final and ready to be converted. Any editorial or author-preference changes can be made before conversion but may be subject to an additional fee. Changes requested after an eBook has been converted and distributed also may be subject to an additional formatting fee. Bookmasters will then redistribute your new eBook files, but we cannot guarantee that the retailers will replace the old file with the new file.

What is metadata?

Metadata is all of the info associated with an eBook. Good metadata is the first step in marketing an eBook. When you look at an eBook on amazon.com, the metadata has provided all information about the book: title, author, price, description, ISBN, and the BISAC codes (the category into which Amazon files it and the category the reader searches to find it). Bookmasters also needs good metadata to ensure your book is loaded into our system and sales can be tracked on your book.

Why does each file type need a separate ISBN and where can we get those?

Each file type is required to have a unique ISBN for identification purposes and should be registered with Bowker. Sales are tracked by ISBN and so the different formats need to be kept separate. Bookmasters can purchase your ISBNs on your behalf if you need help with this.

Do the eBook ISBNs need to be on the copyright page?

They can certainly be included if you wish. Most publishers who decide to include the eBook ISBNs decide to have all three (print, ePDF, and ePUB) on the copyright page. Since the file Bookmasters receives for conversion must be complete, it should include all of the ISBNs that you would like to appear in the finished eBook. Corrections to the print PDF requested by the customer may incur an additional formatting fee.

Do we need to copyright the e-content?

No. The copyright that protects the printed version would also protect the e-versions.

Do I need a Library of Congress Cataloging Number for my eBooks?

No. The Library of Congress does not currently catalog eBooks.

What can be used to view the completed eBook files?

There are many devices on the market to view eBook files; most of these handheld devices accept the ePUB format, with the exception of the Amazon Kindle, which uses their own proprietary format. You may also use Adobe Digital Editions, available as a free download, to view either the ePDF or the ePUB.

Does the publication date of my print book affect the release of my eBook?

Yes. Unless Bookmasters receives instructions from the publisher or author to send the files out upon completion, they will be held and released on the publication date of the printed version.

Once my eBook files are sent to the various retailers, how are they protected?

We use the strictest DRM (Digital Rights Management) available to guard against loss through sharing, copying, etc. We require that all retailers to which we distribute also meet these high DRM standards.

Where will my eBook files be available?

We currently distribute to more 70 retailers including the Apple iBookstore, Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Overdrive, and many others.

If I already have an ePUB file that was not converted by Bookmasters, can this be used as my eBook?

If you already have converted files, Bookmasters can validate them to determine whether or not they will be accepted by the eRetailers and meet our standard service level agreement (SLA). Bookmasters can also do the conversion of both your ePDF and the ePUB formats to ensure compatibility with all of the eRetailers to whom we provide content.

Could we get a copy of the completed eBook files?

Yes. Your files are always available upon request.

How long does the eBook process take?

When Bookmasters receives your files, it takes approximately 10 working days for them to complete the conversion process. Bookmasters will notify you when we begin work on your files and when your title is sent out for distribution. It could take up to two weeks for your title to appear for sale on some websites.

What are hyperlinks?

Hyperlinks use HTML tagging to provide navigation within the document, generally for the Table of Contents, footnotes/endnotes, and external URL addresses. Inserting these is a more complex process and therefore is usually subject to an additional fee.

Do we need to supply anything other than the print PDF if we request full XML tagging?

Yes. Full XML tagging means you're required to supply a DTD (Document Type Definition) and also a CSS (Cascading Style Sheet).