A PDF might be an electronic format book, but it is no eBook

Many books offer a "digital download" of their content... in PDF format. While this may meet the definition of an electronic book (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book) it falls short of the "eBook experience" that I was after.

In my mind, an eBook should be able to:
  • automatically reflow the text, as needed (for example, when rotating the device)
  • provide customization options to the reader (for example, font and size)
So... what format to choose...

The ePub format is universal. Sort of.

The ePub format is the official standard of the International Digital Publishing Forum and is supported by quite a few Ebook Readers, including:
  • Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod
  • Bookeen Cybook Opus
  • Sony Readers
  • Nook
  • B&N Nook
  • and many more.
One notable omission, however, is the Amazon Kindle! Luckily, Amazon provides several mechanisms to convert an ePub into a Kindle-readable format (MOBI).


There is no magic bullet

So, all I needed to do was convert my book (created in FrameMaker) into ePub. Luckly, the latest version of FM has built-in support for ePub. Unfortunately, I'm using a much older version. :-(

There are also multiple tools that will "automagically" convert PDF, HTML, or DOC files into ePub. However, I've found that the quality of these automatic tools varies greatly. And there are number of things that they don't do well.

In the end, I used a number of different tools:

Final result

I've successfully published the Ebook version to LuLu.com (for ePub version) and Amazon.com (for Kindle version).

For details, see http://tikiforsmarties.com/Books