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Alternative Reads

Posted on 1.30.2012

eBookIt, Lulu and eBook Architects are all great eBook conversion services, but they’re not your only options. Below are five more eBook formatting companies that you may want to consider:

SunTec Digital
Digital Divide Data

And a list of Apple-approved eBook conversion services:
In North America
INscribe Digital

In Europe

And more from WM's interview with eBookIt CEO Bo Bennett:

Bo Bennett has always thought of himself as being “on the cutting edge of technology,” and after creating his own webhosting platform, as well as one of the first ever documented affiliate programs on the Web, he went on to run a number of tech companies. His current project is eBookIt, an eBook conversion service and marketplace intent on providing burgeoning and seasoned authors with a simple (and inexpensive) option to turn their books digital and market them for the wide array of e-reader devices available.

WM: After all you’ve done working on the Web, What made you decide to start an eBook conversion service?

Bo Bennett: I wrote my first book, called Year to Success, in 2004. In 2010, I bought an Apple iPad and instantly fell in love with the iBookstore. At that moment, I realized eBooks were here to stay.

I began researching different options for converting my book to various eBook formats and making it available through the online retailers. I started out with a leading service that offers free conversion and publication, promising its both “quick” and “easy.” I found that before I could upload the book, I had to format it to the company’s exact specifications following a very lengthy style guide. I attempted to upload the text of the book several times, only to find the conversion failed the validation tests each and every time.

If a gadget-loving, computer-programming, software-creating, tech-company-running author like me had trouble, what hope is there for the typical author who may or may not have a technical background?

I created out of my conviction that an author should have an inexpensive, simple and truly fool-proof way to get their book converted to eBook format, and submitted to the major online retailers fast, so they can get started capitalizing on the exploding eBook market.

WM: So, what did you want to do with eBookIt to set it apart from other eBook formatting services out there?

BB: I wanted to create a service for authors and publishers that was cost-effective and resulted in a finished product the author could be proud of.

WM: What should an author do before he or she comes to you with a book they want formatted?

BB: Write the book. :)  

It does help to have the book all in one document, laid out the way they would like it to look.  We do offer some pre-production services like editing services and proofreading.

WM: And what type of files does eBookIt convert?

BB: We convert .pages, .doc/docx, .odt, .rtf and pdf files

WM: Which e-reader devices can you format eBooks for?

BB: All of the major ones on the market today including the Kindle Fire, iPad, Color Nook, Sony+Kobo eReaders, and any other device that can read .epub or .pdf files.

WM: What is the cost of formatting a single eBook for all of these different devices?

BB: $149 from an editable source file (like a Word Doc), $249 from a pdf file, and $3 per page from a physical book, which includes scanning, OCR, formatting, converting, and distribution.

WM: What do you do with an eBook once it has been converted?

BB: We send the converted files, along with all the required metadata, to the book retailers.  Since each retailer has their own requirements for submission, our relationship with the retailers saves our clients lots of time and energy.

WM: What if an eBook has charts, graphs or other non-text considerations? How much do you charge for converting this content?

BB: There is no extra charge.  What most ebook formats cannot handle, we convert into images.  If we feel the book will be problematic for ebook format, like many textbooks, we let the client know and offer suggestions on how to proceed – if proceeding make sense.

WM: Does eBookIt have its own marketplace? For the author, what are the advantages of selling their book through instead of a company like Amazon or Apple?

BB: Yes we do.  We encourage our authors to direct their traffic to their own sales page on  Unlike other retail sites, there are no backlinks to a larger store, so it is not easy to lose traffic to a competitor's book.  Also, authors get to keep 75% of the sales price – a generous bump from the average retailer.

WM: Do you do ISBN registration? What does this involve for authors and how much does it cost?

BB: ISBNs are included in the fee.  We take care of all the necessary registration with Bowker.  

WM: What final advice can you give to someone who wants to start writing and distributing eBooks?

BB: Don't put it off any longer.  If you have a decent book that sells well, you can have a nice little income for yourself.  If you have a great book that sells very well, you can find yourself living your dream of being a successful author.


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