First of all, what is an Epub? An Epub is a digital version of a book that is designed to be read online using free applications like Adobe Digital Editions and Calibre, or on a number of eBook readers such as the Sony Reader and Barnes & Noble Nook. You can even download applications that will allow you to read eBooks on your iPhone and iPod touch. The Epub format can also be easily converted to Mobi, which is the format read by the Amazon Kindle. You can easily do this conversion yourself using Amazon’s Kindle Previewer software. Check out www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/devices for a complete list of devices capable of reading Epubs.

Why does my eBook (ePub) look different than my book?

An Epub is based on XML, XHTML, and cascading style sheets (CSS)—terms you’re probably familiar with that are associated with web pages. And this is sort of what an Epub is: a webpage. So you can see your Epub on a small handheld device and the text will flow to accommodate the screen size of the reader you are using. Depending on the capabilities of your eBook reader, you might also be able to change font and font size.

Page structure is not defined in the Epub format so when your book is formatted, everything flows together in one continuous file, images included. If you have a fairly simple layout for your book you might not see much difference in the Epub, but a complex designed book might not lend itself to the Epub format and look totally different. Some content such as page numbers, page breaks and some vector based files are actually discarded when a book is converted to Epub. Because the format is based on several open standards, some things will look different depending on what eBook reader you are using.

What happened to my fonts in my eBook (ePub)?

Although the Epub format allows for embedding fonts that would to some extent preserve the look of your book, there are some eBook readers that will not work with embedded fonts. Besides, sometimes there might be licensing issues, as fonts are only licensed for use when purchased. For that reason, we at Self-publishing do not embed fonts but rather let the eBook reader determine what font is used.

At this point, the Epub format uses very basic code and has many limitations. Who knows what changes lie ahead. At Self Publishing, our goal is to provide you with an Epub that looks good and is readable on any device your customer chooses. And, we’ll do our best to keep up with the changes as they happen.