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 store your books to make them last
Reading, Self Publishing, Social Media

How to Store Your Books as a Self-Publisher

Most people are accustomed to storing a few books in their personal library. What they are not accustomed to, however, is handling a shipment of 100+ copies of their freshly printed book. Self-publishers often struggle with finding storage space while also preserving their books’ quality at a level that will be satisfactory to their customers.

If your library of books is becoming frayed or worn, you might be storing them wrong. Here are 6 tips for how to store your books to make them last.

how to store your books to make them last

1. Firstly, you will need a storage space that is neither hot, cold or damp. Storing books on concrete, such as a garage floor, is a recipe for trouble. Similar to a sponge, the paper used in books is hygroscopic, meaning it wants to reach equilibrium with the surrounding moisture level. Moisture from damp floors will transfer to your cover and interior pages. This also holds true for stacking against a concrete wall. Instead, consider using a wooden pallet to elevate your books while also ensuring proper air circulation underneath them.

2. Open cartons of books can attract insects. Unhatched insect eggs can appear as small specs on the pages. If caught in time, the eggs can be cleaned with a soft brush. Sealable containers, such as plastic cartons, can prevent bugs from infiltrating your books. However, do not wrap your books in plastic wrap or foil, as this may trap moisture against your books’ covers and lead to mold.

3. If possible, store books in a climate controlled area. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can result in mold. The ideal storage space has a temperature of between 60-75 degree Fahrenheit. Spaces like garages, which can suffer dramatic temperature changes between night and day, should be avoided.

stacked books

4. While you may be tempted to display your books next to a window to show off their beautiful covers, too much direct sunlight can lead to bleached covers and cracked spines.

5. Shelves not only provide a nice display for your books but also provide good ventilation to help prevent dust from collecting. Make sure your shelves are high enough to avoid potential water damage caused by spills or flooding.

6. The way your books are stacked also matters. For long term storage, books should be kept together according to size and weight. Books should never be stored on their spine. Rather, books should be either stored upright or stacked flat with the heaviest books at the bottom. If they are stored upright, make sure the books are pressed tightly together and not slumping at this can lead to creases.

Keep in mind these suggestions are for books for general usage. If you have rare or extra valuable books, additional means of protection should be considered.

With proper care and regular cleanings, these steps can go a long way in keeping your book beautiful, clean and ready for the market.

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!

Community, Events, Local authors, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing

National Encourage a Young Writer Day is April 10th!

The crew at Gorham Printing was excited to learn that Encourage a Young Writer Day is a thing, and it’s right around the corner! Monday April 10th is a day marked to let any young writer in your life know that they should keep up the good work.

We participate in and support many young writers and literacy projects in our community. Last year we sponsored a young writer contest in affiliation with the Roosevelt Elementary Read-a-Thon, and we’re doing it again this year. Last year Arianna’s The Girl Who Saved a Dinosaur was a hit in our shop. A winner has been chosen for this year and we can’t wait see his story (we’ve heard it’s about a ninja pig!).

Last spring we also sponsored the printing of the Olympia High School Literary Press anthology, Attic. This anthology showcases the talents of English classes at Olympia High School and pairs it with submissions from the art department. Students solicit and gather submissions, curate and edit the content, then design and promote their book.

A few of the local colleges hire us print anthologies and other projects, too. South Puget Sound Community College printed their annual literary anthology, The Percival Review, with us last spring. We print The Evergreen State College’s Vanishing Point anthology, too, along with collections of student work from various creative writing courses.

We even have one young author who published Small Stories, an adorable 5×5” collection. Hadley Stanfill’s mom Laura is the editor in chief at Forest Avenue Press and we take great pride in helping her encourage her daughter to write and publish!

Young Writers

Do you know a young writer? Whether they’re a college student studying creative writing in an undergraduate program or a third grader writing stories in their journal, let them know you support and admire their efforts as a growing artist.

And if you happen to know a young writer who has a story they want to turn into a book, let them know Gorham Printing is here to help!