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Does anyone have some experience creating ebooks? I have a book that I want to create an ebook from; I considered converting the book, but after trying, it produced very poor results, because the original had a lot of math and custom formatting in it.

Anyone able to help?

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closed as not a real question by John Smithers, Standback, Neil Fein, justkt Feb 7 '12 at 15:53

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question as it stands is rather ambiguous. What kind of help are you looking for? Tools? Prior experience? Other? Please edit the question and explain what you need. –  justkt Jan 31 '12 at 19:29
I think it's pretty clear the asker needs help with the conversion to ebook format. This is more of a SuperUser question, I think. (Similar to this one.) –  Neil Fein Feb 4 '12 at 16:04
@NeilFein Correct, except the book I am trying to convert is mine (i.e. i wrote it) - and it was typeset in microsoft word. So I want to either convert it or rewrite it in some other format that is more suitable for ebook preparation. –  drozzy Feb 4 '12 at 18:09
What I'm saying is that this is more of a technology question than a writing question. If it's closed here, the mods can migrate it to SuperUser, where it will (I think) get more answers. –  Neil Fein Feb 4 '12 at 22:03
Software tools are on-topic here if they are writing specific, so I'm not sure this is off-topic so much as ambiguous and needing clarification. –  justkt Feb 5 '12 at 22:33
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1 Answer 1

To answer the first question, yes, I have considerable experience in creating e-books. So far I have created about twenty for myself (under my name and a pen name), and I have also created another dozen or so for others.

The basic problem you will run into is that most e-book formats are basically using html to render the content, and most of the software tools out there tend to add a lot of unnecessary html code that confuses the different e-book readers. Also, they don't do a good job of converting special characters, such as those you might use in a mathematical formula, and they don't do well in converting images.

You always have the option of doing a screen print of your formulas and embedding them as images. The problem with that is getting the right size and format for the images. Since people can now read e-books on their phones, tablets, or computers, you never know what size the screen is going to be, so optimizing the image can be a major problem.

The best way to ensure that you maintain your current formatting and appearance is to convert everything to html first. Then you can use a tool like Calibre (which is free and easy to use) to convert the html to different e-book formats. I strongly recommend a series of articles by Guido Henkel that will walk you through most of the information you need to format your document. You may have to do some research to find the html tags for certain formulas, but most of the rest is addressed pretty well in his series.

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