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Monika | Have a Book
Posted on 28 May 2024

Clients’ Journey into the Realm of ePubs

Books flying into tablet

‘Hello, please create an ebook for me. Thank you!’

You’re welcome! And… Okay, stop. Here it comes. A bunch of technical questions which will irritate you and will have no sense for you. But believe me, they do. Without them your order has meaning only if you totally don’t care what product you get. It is also a kind of attitude. We respect that.

But starting from the beginning (heh), it’s not a story about the customers, but a fairytale about perfect communication between a person ordering an electronic book and suppliers who strive to fulfill all your needs. And first of all, they try to understand these needs.

We realize that you wish your problem being solved without any involvement in the process. Your dream is the smooth completion of the electronic product without bothering about all the dull and incomprehensible stuff. With some simple guidance and explanations, it can occur to be very true.

What kind of format do you need?

An ebook can be many things, especially in the minds of different people. Some of them use this name only for PDFs. Others think about fixed formats that preserve the original layout of the paper book. Reflowable epubs are one of the most common options, which allow the use of different features of e-readers but also show their limitations (more about it in ‘The very merry Guide to Killing your Reflowable Epub’). There is also another possibility: an ebook as a form of digital product specially adjusted to the platforms owned by different publishers or other counterparts. So what do you really need?

What kind of epub do you need?

YYY, what? You have already asked me about the format! Yes, yes I know, but the funny thing is that it can be reflowable or fixed, and even here you can choose different types. And now the easy part. Remember these simple rules:

  • Fixed: same layout as in a paper book, but many limitations on different devices. Some applications do not support them at all.
  • Reflow: text easily adjusting to the needs of the user, usually a different layout than in the paper book; various features depending on the device and application you use for reading
  • Other: mixed formats, new ideas. You can check some of the examples here:

Which application is intended for this reflowable epub?

No, no, no! It should open on every application! And it will, but with very different effects. Sometimes it’s good to be witty and write – ‘the epub is intended for…’ and then you know, that someone opening it on some niche application on the very old mobile phone was warned!

On the other hand, you as a client can have your own platform, and then we begin totally different story and a new bunch of questions. Maybe someone will write additional article about it soon 😉


A difficult subject indeed. The common knowledge is that epubs should be cheaper than paper books, which is not always true and in fact shouldn’t be. The productions of epubs are very often more time-consuming than typesetting itself. What has an impact on the price:

  • How well is the material in source files prepared? If a book was created in our company, we know how to make work easier for epub creators. Files from the ‘outside world’ have tremendously different quality, and there are solutions used that sometimes even hardly imaginable.
  • How many different complex elements are there in a book? Tables, indexes, illustrations, references, mathematical formulas and many more – we have solutions for all of them, but these elements have a great impact on the price.
  • Layout: reflowable epubs should have their own form which does not always correspond with a paper book. However we know that some authors are strongly attached to the visual aspect of their books. In this case, all the decorative elements and additional requirements also have impact on price.

Be brave in communication! Be flexible for suggestions! Be open for different types of testing! Be totally engaged in creating new standards on the market!

You as a client are our inspiration!!!