I’ve posted several times about converting Word files to ePub files, but I haven’t offered any advice about how to properly set up the Word file so that the resulting ePub file will look nice. I also haven’t described the format of an ePub file. Fortunately, a recent book does all that, and more.
EPUB Straight to the Point: Creating ebooks for the Apple iPad and other ereaders by Elizabeth Castro focuses on creating eBooks in ePub format. The book is filled with screenshots and step-by-step instructions, and covers styling the Word document, saving it as an HTML file, and then cleaning up the HTML so it will present well in eReaders (an ePub file is basically a bunch of HTML and related files). Castro also devotes an entire chapter to creating ePub files using InDesign, for those who have it.
If you really want to roll up your sleeves, you’ll appreciate the “Inside an EPUB file” chapter. That’s followed by a chapter that covers advanced formatting techniques, topics such as working with images, creating drop caps, and including video.
I worked through the chapter that describes styling a Word file and then cleaning up the resulting HTML, just to try out the process for myself. After doing so, I concluded that using an ePub generator like eCub is a faster way for me to create an initial ePub file that I can then tweak. As the old saying goes, your mileage may vary.
The advanced formatting techniques will be of most use to me. Now I’ll be able to add some flair, like drop caps, when I tweak the HTML files produced by eCub.
If you’re interested in learning how to take a Word file to an ePub file without using a tool, or you want to pretty up the ePub files generated by a tool, check out Castro’s book.