ebook conversion service
Additional Services, Cost, Design, Page Layout, Reading, Self Publishing

Understanding the Difference Between eBooks vs. PDFs

Ever since their rise to popularity in the early 2010s, eBooks have dramatically changed the way we read, share and enjoy our favorite books. In 2018, e-book sales accounted for roughly a quarter of global book sales, further cementing their place in the growing market of readers.

While printed book sales continue to rise in 2018 and beyond, eBooks still play an important role in the marketing strategies of many self-published and indie authors. eBooks represent a nearly unlimited resource for authors, requiring no investment beyond the initial conversion cost. In other words, your eBook sales will always perfectly match your demand.

ebook conversion service

But what is an eBook, and what makes it different than a PDF?

A PDF (Portable Document Format) is a common file type that can be easily downloaded, shared and read across a wide range of computers and monitors. Most documents can be converted into PDFs using standard text editing programs, such as Word or InDesign.

However, PDFs lack many of the quality-of-life features of your standard eBook file. The two most common file types for eBooks are Mobi and ePub. Mobi files are required by Kindle and Amazon devices. ePub files are accepted by most other online booksellers, including Google Play and Barnes & Noble.

Both Mobi and ePub files are specifically designed to be read on an e-reader or tablet. As such, they’re equipped with some convenient features, including:

1. Linking

eBook files are an HTML-based format, meaning they may contain links within the text. This allows readers to quickly navigate between sections of the book, from the index to relevant pages, or out to separate websites. This is especially handy for textbooks and guides, which may contain reference notes.

2. Reflowable Text

eBooks text will “reflow” depending on the viewing window. This allows eBooks to be conveniently read on multiple devices and sizes, including tablets, phones and computers.

3. Pagination

With reflowable text, the total page count of your book will increase or decrease depending on the window size of your device. Publishers handle this differently; some embed pages to match the print or PDF version, and some leave them out entirely. As such, some eBooks will not display a page number and will instead allow users to jump directly to chapters using the Table of Contents.

In some instances, however, you will not want your page count to change, as in the case of some academic books with chapter or section citations. In these cases, PDFs are often the preferred format as they will lock in your total page count.

online ebook conversion

4. Accessibility

For impaired readers, eBooks give users the ability to modify the appearance of the content on their device, making them much more accessible than a PDF. Features, such as font style and font size, can be easily modified on the fly to meet the reader’s needs.

5. Zoom In/Out

Unlike PDFs, eBook files do not have a zoom in/out tool. Instead, users can customize the font size of their books using their device, and the text will automatically reflow to fill their screen.

6. Advanced Features

In addition to the above features, eBooks can incorporate many advance features, including:

  • Video — embed a video that your reader can watch.
  • Audio — enhance your message by including audio recordings in your content
  • Gallery — your readers can swipe through an entire collection of images with captions instead of navigating through pages to find them.
  • Read-aloud — make certain words, sentences, or paragraphs of an ebook read aloud to the reader. This can be useful when reading to children.
  • Multi-column Layout — add visual appeal to your content with multiple columns.
  • Pop-over — this feature enables the readers to access another window that contains additional information, data, or another image to give more context about the selected image with just a tap.
  • Scrolling Sidebar — insert relevant information and topics into a scrolling sidebar so readers can view additional or explanatory material without ever leaving the page.
  • Interactive Image — incorporate callouts and pan-and-zoom features to your images.
  • Reviews — let the readers review their knowledge using different types of tests such as multiple choice, select correct image, label the image, or a mix of all three. Authors can include up to six possible answers to each question.
  • 3D Images — instead of just seeing flat images on your ebook, your readers can interact with 3D objects by touch.
  • Keynote Presentations — browse presentations with custom animations right inside your ebook. This feature includes controls for slide navigation as well as optional auto-play presentations.

how to make an ebook

What’s the difference between a “classic” and “fixed-layout” eBook?

A classic ePub or Mobi file has flowable text so it can be read on any device using the reader’s preference for font size and styles. There are no official pages because the  text flows into each device differently, much like a web page. With this kind of eBook, the reader has more control over the reader experience. The classic-layout is less expensive than the fixed layout because less attention is paid to the look of the pages.

A classic ebook layout is ideal if:

  • Your book is mostly text (such as a novel)
  • Your book uses only small images that are embedded between paragraphs

A fixed-layout ebook does not reflow

because each page is locked in place, much like in the pages of a printed book. This type of eBook is ideal when pages rely heavily on images or formatting, such as with children’s books, cookbooks or books with detailed layouts. The reader has less control over his/her reading experience other than the ability to zoom in/out. Fixed-layout eBooks are more expensive than classic eBooks because they require extra attention during the conversion process to maintain the design.

A fixed-layout eBook is ideal if:

  • You want to preserve the look of your pages
  • You want your book to have a horizontal orientation
  • You want multi-column text pages

Learn more about our eBook conversion service to find out how to get an eBook copy of your book.

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How to pick a book size
Book Printing Cost, Book production, Cost, Design, Page Layout, Pre Press

How to Pick a Book Size for Your Genre

Printing a book takes a lot of decisions. What will your cover look like? What font will your book be printed in? How will your characters escape their fate?

how-to-pick-a-book-size

There is one question, however, that authors often forget to ask themselves until their book is ready to go into production: what SIZE will my book be?

Trim size affects not only the price of your book but also how your readers will perceive and handle your book. Your readers will have a preconceived notion of what kind of book they are about to read based on the page count and size.

What book sizes are best suited for my genre?

While book size is largely a matter of preference, below are some of the most common genre and book size pairings.

5_5x8_55.5 x 8.5” – Pocketbooks, Travel books, Novellas

If you intend your reader to travel with your book, 5.5 x 8.5” is a convenient size for readers to fit in a purse or briefcase. This is also a great size for books with shorter word counts, as it will increase your overall page count.

Genres that work great as 5.5 x 8.5” include business guides, thrillers/mysteries, self-help books and instruction guides.

6x96 x 9” – Paperbacks, Novels, Anthologies

6 x 9” is one of the most traditional and well recognized trim sizes. This is your “standard” book size, great for paperbacks and softcover novels. It is also one of our most popular sizes, chosen by many first-time and independently published authors.

It would be hard to find a genre that doesn’t work well as a 6 x 9”. Popular choices include sci-fi, memoir, spiritual and both general fiction and non-fiction.

8_5x118.5 x 11” – Workbooks, Textbooks, Histories

If you have a book with a lot of content, 8.5 x 11” is a great size choice to reduce your page count. It also gives your pages a lot of room to show off charts, tables and photographs. Most document editors are also set up for 8.5 x 11”, making this a convenient size when preparing your files for print.

Popular genres for 8.5 x 11” include school textbooks, ancestry books, family history books and picture books.

11x8_511 x 8.5” – Art books, Photo journals, Children’s books.

If you’re looking for a size that will help your book stand out, consider a landscape trim size. Landscape books are often intended to be put on display, such as coffee-table books. This size also works really well for books with multiple columns.

11 x 8.5” is a great choice for books that want to showcase their artwork, including children’s books, photography books and artist portfolios.

How do these trim sizes affect my final cost?

Paper is commonly bought as what is known as a parent size. Two common parent sizes are 25 x 38” and 23 x 35”.

For example, if your book is 5.5 x 8.5”, it would likely be printed on stock that started as 23 x 35”. If the book is 6 x 9”, it was likely instead printed from a 25 x 38” parent size. These sizes give you the best cut out with the least amount of waste to still allow for finish trimming.

So what if your desired size is 6 x 8.5”? This would then mean your book would be printed from the 25 x 38” parent size, creating the possibility for additional charges for a non-standard size. This might not be the case if your book is printed on different equipment or if the bindery is able to adjust to a non-standard size without time loss.

Check with your book printer before you do the final page layout to find the most cost-effective approach for your book.

Check out these other helpful self-publishing guides for how to pick the size of your book:

BookCover Cafe

The Book Designer

Community, Design, Local authors, Self Publishing

Gorham Printing Honors Our Veterans

Here at Gorham Printing, we take special note of Veteran’s Day. We have printed dozens of veterans’ memoirs over the course of our time in business, and we believe it is some of the most important work we do. We’d like to take a moment to showcase a few examples in addition to thanking all our veterans for their service to our country.IMG_0637

In 2014, retired Master Chief Petty Officer Peter Slempa brought his story to our shop with the help of local personal historian Julie MacDonald Zander. A Pennsylvania native, Pete Slempa served in the Navy aboard the USS Worcester CL-144 before qualifying for an underwater demolition team. He became a plank owner and first master chief of SEAL Team One, and served six tours in Vietnam. His memoir, Why Me, Lord? chronicles his life of service, including multiple near-death experiences. Earlier this year, we had the privilege of working with Officer Slempa again when he brought us his first novel, Ten Minus Nine Equals One Half.

Julie MacDonald Zander has had a hand in preserving the stories of dozens of veterans. She helped Lee Grimes tell the story of the founding of Lewis County’s Veterans Memorial Museum, now captured in the pages of the hardcover book, The Miracle Museum. Mr. Grimes conceived of the veterans museum in 1995 after a spiritual encounter, and realized his call to gather and preserve IMG_0638the stories of our veterans. The museum also serves as a community meeting space for local veterans to socialize, and seek support and healing. Copies of this book as well as Officer Slempa’s titles are available for sale here. You can learn more about the museum on their website, http://www.veteransmuseum.org/.

Gathering and preserving the stories of our local veterans makes up a significant part of the work done by Legacy Washington, a project run by the Secretary of State’s office just 30 minutes north of us in Olympia. Their big publication this fall was Korea 65: The Forgotten War Remembered. This 180-page 8×10” softcover commemorates the 65th anniversary of the “shaky armistice” that marked the end of the war on the Korean Peninsula that took the lives of 532 Washingtonians. John Hughes, Lori Larson, and several other members of the Secretary’s office have done and IMG_0639continue to do incredible work to make sure that our veteran’s stories are not forgotten. You can buy copies of Korea 65 as well as Washington Remembers World War II (2016) in Legacy Washington’s online bookstore.

We take a tremendous amount of pride in the work we do for veterans and the people who’ve committed themselves to preserving their legacies. We get to do this work year-round, and we always do it with gratitude, but today and tomorrow are special days set aside for deep reflection of and gratitude for the countrymen who have dedicated their lives to protecting our freedom.

From all the hearts at Gorham Printing, thank you.

Community, Design, Events, Marketing, Reading, Self Publishing, Writing

Are You Ready for Alaska Book Week?

Did you know that October 1st through 7th is Alaska Book Week? In 2015, the governor of Alaska declared the first week of October the official week to “celebrate [their] writers and the state’s rich literary tradition.” They encourage Alaskans to participate in events such as book clubs, author readings and library visits to promote “a passion for reading among all [their] citizens.” (You can read the full declaration here.)

We could not be more excited to learn about this celebration. In the last three years alone, we’ve printed books for at least seven Alaska-based authors. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase their work, and tout our ability to happily accommodate everything from complex design work to logistics-heavy barge shipments out of Seattle.

Who are the Alaskans we print for? Read on to learn about a few!

Matias Saari is a veteran marathoner who brought us the story of the USA’s oldest marathon: The Equinox. He hired us to design the interior and the cover of this thoroughly researched and reported personal and impersonal history book. He wanted to make sure he had books in time to sell at the 2016 marathon, so we worked under a deadline to get 1000 copies of his books on a barge to Anchorage before last September. Learn more about The Equinox: Alaska’s Trailblazing Marathon and buy a copy at Saari’s website.

IMG_0382Outdoor adventurer and transformation coach Wendy Battino and her world-famous  Alaskan husky, Luzy, brought us their irresistible landscape softcover, Luzy Lessons, to print in July, and we’re proud to report they needed a reprint by August! Luzy has a vast social media following, and Wendy turned her popular photos and positivity lessons into a book. You can get a copy, “signed” with Luzy’s paw, at their website, wendybattino.com.

Jan O’Meara is the owner of a small publishing operation, Wizard Works, who’s worked with us for several projects. Late last year, she brought us files for Cosmic Kitchen: Breakfast, Lunch and Friends, a cookbook compiled by two Homer-based (but Hawaii-raised!) restaurant owners, Sean Hogan and Michelle Wilson. This book makes our mouths water every time we printed it – four times in less than a year! If you’re in Homer, visit their restaurant to say aloha and pick up a copy to take home (I know I would).

IMG_0383Arguably the “crown jewel” of our Alaska-oriented books was researched and written by Cora Holmes and designed by our own Kathy Campbell. Alaska’s Wild West: The True Story of Alaska’s Range Wars in the Aleutian Islands, an 8.5 x 11 inch cloth-bound hardcover, has it all: color images printed on 100lb coated stock; a gloss-laminated dust jacket; custom printed end sheets; and foil on the cover and spine stamped with a custom die. This book catches the eye of many of our in-shop visitors, and we are proud to have designed and printed it. Learn more about Cora and all the books she’s hired us to work on at her website, coraholmes.com.

If you are an Alaskan author looking to self-publish, an Alaska-based independent publisher, or an Alaskan family or organization who needs books to preserve your history, Gorham Printing is ready and able to put beautiful books in your hands!