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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About Us, Book Printing Cost, Cost, Self Publishing

DIY Quoting is Easier than Ever!

Need pricing on a short run of hardcover books? How about a square perfect bound book, or a landscape spiral-bound cookbook? Our new Quote Generator has more options and can price your custom book printing project instantly.

Take Advantage of Instant Pricing

We know that making the decision about where to print your book project is a big one, and we want to help you decide. Your time is valuable, too. That’s why we’ve upgraded our Quote Generator to put more versatile pricing right at your fingertips! Now you can compare pricing for all of our binding styles and paper stocks, trim sizes from 4×5” to 8.5×11” in portrait or landscape, design services, eBooks, and more without entering your personal information.

New Quote Generator
Click “Get Started” to price hardcover books, custom trim sizes, and a variety of paper stocks

Taking the Next Step

You’ve browsed our website, priced your project on our Quote Generator, and decided that Gorham Printing’s short run book printing and design services are the right fit for your needs. What’s the next step?

When you’re ready to save a quote for later, learn shipping estimates, or place an order, enter your demographic information to set up an account. Your information is safe with us, and we never sell it to third parties or use it to spam you. From this portal, you can create and save an unlimited number of quotes for future reference, get shipping estimates, track current orders, manage reprints, and make deposits or final payments with all major credit cards.

We are extremely excited to unveil the latest version of the Quote Generator. If you have any questions or concerns about your experience with our pricing tools, do not hesitate to give us a call. Kamra, Alison, and the rest of the front office crew are here to help!

Happy Quoting!

Book Printing Cost, Book production, Cost, Design, Uncategorized

Customize Your Book with Gorham Printing

Are you looking for ways to set your book apart from the rest? You may want to consider a custom extra. While you won’t find these options in our Quote Generator, we do have standard pricing for extras like printed end sheets in hardcover editions, printing on the inside of perfect bound covers, and custom dies on cloth bound hardcovers.

Give us call (1-800-837-0970) or send us an email (info@gorhamprinting.com) to discuss pricing on your custom extra!

Printed End Sheets

Printed end sheets are a great way to bring your readers into the atmosphere of your hardcover book from the moment they open the cover. Our standard pricing includes white or off-white end sheets, selected to match your interior stock.

Donahue Endsheets
Printed end sheets in Donahue’s “Rudek and the Bear” (learn more at zuzelandthefox.com)

We’ve had some terrific projects come through the shop with printed end sheets, including a web comic anthology by Peter Donahue (right).

Pricing is based on the number of books you want to print AND the number of end sheets to be custom printed (there are two end sheets in each book, and some customers opt for one custom printed and one standard) as well as the orientation of your project (portrait or landscape). Have this information ready when you inquire.

Inside Cover Printing

Softcover books don’t have end sheets, but printing on the inside cover is possible. Pricing is based on the number of books in your order and, like the end sheets, the orientation of your book. This local history book by Anni Evans has an old map printed on the inside cover. Printed Inside Cover

Custom Dies

If you are interested in an image foil stamped on your cloth bound hardcover, or a specific font for your foil-stamped title and author name, you have the option of adding a custom die to your order. Custom dies start at $150 and increase in cost based on size and complexity. Simply submit a PDF of the true-to-size image you’d like cast as a die when you place your order and submit files.

Custom DieThomas Sawyer submitted an image of hands shuffling cards for his custom die.

The possibilities for a truly unique, customized book are endless when you choose Gorham Printing for your book project. We can’t wait to talk to you about bringing your vision to life!