If you’ve ever uploaded a PDF to Amazon and allowed them to convert for you into the Kindle mobi format, then you know the end product, most often, looks different from what you started with. The reason for this is the converter is unable to read everything in the PDF format. That is why some of the formatting is lost or “misunderstood” by the converter and your paragraphs have huge gaps between them, indents become lost, or chapters don’t start on a new page.
I format using HTML, and I always recommend people format using HTML, but I also know hearing the letters H-T-M-L said one after the other causes some people to break out into a cold sweat. If you’re one of those people, then that leaves you with two options—hiring a formatter or converting from your Word document directly.
If you decide to use your formatted Word document to convert from (or if you’ve formatted using HTML but just don’t know how to get into Kindle ready format), there are a few softwares you can use which will help to convert your document more smoothly and with their user-friendly interfaces even the most novice formatter will be able to convert their ebook into a Kindle ready format.
While this method will work to a certain extent if you convert directly from Word, and your format may look just fine in Kindle, there is the possibility for non kindle devices some of the formatting will be lost. This is the reason it’s recommended to use HTML because it’ll keep its formatting regardless of what device the reader uses to view the document on, much like a web page looks the same regardless of what computer or screen resolution its viewed with.
How to Convert Ebook for Kindle
Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com) is a free open source software. It’s used by professional formatters and DIY authors alike. It’s probably one of the easier softwares to use and most versatile. It creates the table of contents for you (as long as you’ve formatted your Word document appropriately) and allows you to add in additional CSS formatting to give you a greater control over font and text placement. The biggest advantage though is that it’s free which fits right into the budget of the majority of self publishing authors. Calibre also allows you to convert to epub as well as mobi.
To import your Word document, you’ll need to save it as a web page filtered file. While this is technically an HTML file, Word adds in a bunch of unnecessary formatting automatically which can create some issues when viewing in a non-Kindle device. Once you’ve imported your converted Word document (or formatted HTML file), then Calibre allows you to do a variety of things such as add in the cover of your book, automatically create your table of contents, and convert to a variety of different formats. If you’re just starting to learn how to format, then I definitely recommend beginning with this ebook conversion software.
While Jutoh (http://www.jutoh.com) isn’t free, it is relatively inexpensive. You can get a license for around $40. If you’re planning on publishing several books, then it’s definitely worth the investment. It does however require you to do a bit more of the work yourself. If you’ve previously used an ebook conversion software before, then Jutoh is the next step, but for someone who’s never used it before I’d recommend just downloading the free trial version or getting Calibre first to learn and practice on. Then once you get comfortable with the software and learn how to use all of its functions properly, purchase the license so you can use the full version of Jutoh.
What softwares do you prefer? Have you used either of these before or do you use something else entirely?