An interesting category of tools to emerge in recent years is that of online ebook production tools. They combine many of the benefits – and address several limitations – of automated online conversion services and desktop ebook editors. They’re web-based like online conversion services, so they can be accessed via any web browser, by teams as well as individual editors and designers. Ebook editors, like Sigil and Jutoh, are installed on local personal computers. They include features such as rich authoring environments, and workflow management to accommodate multiple editors and contributors. Automated online conversion services such as Smashwords and BookBaby don’t provide access to editing tools, they simply convert a document prepared elsewhere.


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Easily create professionally designed print and ebook editions of your book. Pressbooks supports ebook platforms including: Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and more, as well as print-on-demand systems including CreateSpace, IngramSpark and Lightning Source.

PressBooks is built on top of the popular website and blogging platform WordPress. If you operate a WordPress-powered blog, the PressBooks interface will look familiar, albeit pared back to basics to focus on the job of book production. But this isn’t just a tool for WordPress users, it’s one of the best general-purpose tools for online ebook (and print) production.

Input formats : If you’re running a WordPress website, a nice feature is that you can import pages directly from your blog using the WordPress XML format. Most publishers, however, will be working from Microsoft Word files or similar. There’s a reasonable import capability for .DOCX (Microsoft Word – doesn’t support older DOC format) and .ODT (OpenDocument standard). You can also import EPUB files and HTML.

Output formats : EPUB, Mobi (Kindle), and ebook or print-ready PDF formats. PressBooks also exports some non-ebook formats that make it very useful as a way to get your content into other applications (and point to PressBooks becoming a useful ‘content repository’ — a central place to store and manage your content). The non-ebook formats include XHTML, WordPress XML and ICML (for Adobe InDesign).

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Professional-grade multimedia production tool, aiming at ebook and e-learning markets. No free option, paid tiers provide discounts for publishers and resellers (designers). Pre-Launch services produce standard ePub 3 “Liquid” e-books (cover art and images), however multimedia enhanced e-books (cover art, images, audio, video, animation, web links) are currently exclusive to iPad.

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Professional-grade service, aims at graphical and interactive publications such as illustrated and children’s ebooks. Fixed-layout only, good multi-format and multi-language support. Formats include EPUB3, Kindle KF8 and apps for Android and iOS. Paid service (per-user subscription) with a free trial option.

With PubCoder you can manage the entire workflow either by assembling single pieces of text and images or by importing full, complex layouts.
Its advanced features allow to add synchronized reading, image galleries, small games or you own widgets with the greater simplicity.

  • Create engaging digital stories with ease.
  • Reach your readers in any language, on any device.
  • Publish in all digital formats for tablets, smartphones and browsers.

Import from InDesign
Automatically create multiple pages with a professional layout by importing your InDesign Documents

Smart Object
Exploit your HTML widgets: PubCoder allows you to insert exercises, games and maps into your layout in a very simple way.

Visualize the Preview
Immediately check the effect of the interactions you have set, while working. The preview function allows you to visualize a single page or the entire project, either directly on your monitor or on your external device, using either a Wi-FI connection or a USB cable.

Readaloud
PubCoder provides a set of tools to synchronize audio files with text, in order to highlight it while reading. Just define the text separator, choose the color of the highlighted text, and upload your file. PubCoder will do all the rest.

EPUB checker
Whichever device you have chosen to publish for, Pubcoder will verify that your book respects the technical specifications of the stores that will distribute it, preventing the problems that often emerge only during the file submission.

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Professional-grade, free, open source platform to produce both print and digital editions. Optional Pro version takes care of technical and hosting issues. Booktype is a simple, open source platform that lets anyone write, edit and publish printed or electronic books.

  • Use Booktype in a closed business environment to produce in-house materials, online to make open educational resources, or for community based production.
  • Booktype’s clean, intuitive authoring environment lets writers concentrate on writing. Just open your browser and start typing.
    Multiple authors, editors, proofreaders and other stakeholders can work and communicate simultaneously, which means books come together faster than ever.
  • Import content from your library, other e-pubs, Gutenberg, archive.org or other Booktype communities in seconds. Update, illustrate, curate and publish.
  • Booktype supports all character sets and bi-directional text. The simple localization framework even makes it easy for you translate the interface into your language.
  • Booktype is open source. Download and install it for free, or ask Sourcefabric for custom installation or managed hosting. Either way, your code and your content is yours forever.

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While Inkling experimented with opening up its publishing platform to the wider publishing community, it has shifted its business model to the professional market, aiming at large publishers and specialist markets such as in-house corporate documentation and e-learning. For publishers, Inkling aims its service at the textbook market, or trade sectors such as travel guides or recipe books that share many of the same characteristics. Its online publishing platform provides publishers with tools to produce and distribute rich interactive textbooks and illustrated books.

Input formats : There are three main ways to get content into Inkling Habitat.

      The best way to get content into Inkling Habitat is by importing it from existing Adobe InDesign files, the preferred production system for most professional publishers. You then use an Inkling tool called Mapper to map the InDesign document styles to their Inkling equivalents. Inkling also offers a plugin for InDesign which lets you export InDesign files into s9ML, Inkling’s own XML specification.
      A second method to import content is via XHTML files. XHTML is a particular version of the web’s HTML format. While slightly technical, the XHTML files can be created in a number of applications, opening the way to import your content from a number of sources.
      Inkling also allows you to start with a ‘clean slate’. You can create a new, empty project, then build your book’s table of contents using simple drag-and-drop elements such as chapter or text. You add the book’s text by inserting what Inkling calls ‘cards’ (basically, containers for text) then adding the text to them. You can do this in various ways, including basic copy and paste.

An important issue for publishers using the system will be cost of mark up and the ease with which they can re-use these marked up source files outside the Inkling system. Inkling says that it plans to make the S9ML specification public once it is mature.

Output formats : Inkling textbooks are output as apps (iPad only at this stage), EPUB3 (which can also be converted to Kindle format) and HTML for the web.

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Valéry Girou

Valéry Girou

D.A. / DIGITAL / WEB / PRINT / Co-fondateur du site ELECTRICNEWS.fr / Consultant & Formateur Digital / Web / Print

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