Driven by curiosity (as always), I’ve just spend a large part of my lunch break browsing through various forums, trying to get a handle on what problems self-publishers are facing when they are creating their ebooks.
My impression is that, unlike what I expected from the work and challenges I face making ebooks for a traditional publisher, styling and formatting isn’t a major issue—formatting problems seem limited to edge cases. I’m assuming this is because most self-publishers are doing novels with very simple style needs.
The problems people seem to be facing, in no particular order:
- Getting font embedding to work
- Editing and managing the metadata
Editing the book itself:
Getting footnotes to work and look nice
Editing typos and making corrections
Adding dropcaps (which fortunately has a simple solution)
Making sure the images embedded are of a correct resolution.
- Conforming to vendor requirements (mostly making sure there are no links to rival stores)
- Converting a Word file to a tolerable ebook.
Then there are more general problems that are probably more about library management for readers, such as:
- Extracting a subset of a book
- Merging books
What do you think? Is this an accurate reflection of the ebook production problems self-publishers are facing? Are there any major biggies that I’ve missed? Are any of these maybe not so big a problem (i.e. I stumbled upon a newbie thread and regulars think the problem is solved)?
- Just don’t use them. Seriously. They’re ugly, break the word apart, and can’t be done properly on the web or in ebooks. ↩