FAQ

Technical

The word spread is used in the pricing guide. What is a spread?

We use the word spread to refer to what you see on the the device’s screen.

In the print industry, a book or magazine has a left page and a right page with a gutter or spine in the middle. This left and right page make up a book’s [or magazine’s] spread.

Some eBooks are designed to show a gutter and a left and right page. To eliminate any confusion we will refer to the device’s  full display as a spread – whether it has a gutter indicator or not.

What are the Kindle device dimensions?

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ –  2560 x 1600px – 16:10
Kindle Fire HDX 7″ –  1920 x 1200px – 16:10
Kindle Fire HD 7″ –  1280 x 800px – 16:10
Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ –  1920 x 1200px -16:10
Kindle Fire  –  1024 x 600px – 16:9

What are the Apple device dimensions?

iPhone 5  –  640 x 1136px
iPhone 4  –  640 x 960px
iPhone/iPod touch  –  320 x 480px
iPad retina  –  1536 x 2048px
iPad mini  –  768 x 1024px
iPad  –  768×1024px

Ratio of 4:3 (iPads)

What is metadata?

Metadata is “behind the scenes” keywords, subject information, tags etc. about your eBook. We will ask you for this information and then we will code it inside your book. Having this filled out completely will potentially improve searches on Amazon and iTunes.

The Process

What interactive features can we include in our fixed layout eBooks?
This will depend on the device. Apple supports interactive features such as: read along text, word highlighting, popup windows, slideshows and audio. Amazon has a default feature that can read the book (electronic voice) to you and an option to use regional magnification of the text. Most other interactive features are not supported at this time on Kindle devices. Both Amazon and Apple allow images to be enlarged, interactive table of contents, word definitions and a live index that automatically takes you to the proper spread in the book.
What do I send to you to make the book?

You can create a new eBook with our services. If you already have a printed book we can format an eBook from scans of that book. More information about these options are outlined on this site. After you sign up with us, we will send you a Book Formatting Package. This lays out step-by-step what files we need from you.

How do I pay?

You will receive an invoice which outlines your services and fees. The invoice will include a direct link to PayPal where you pay by using your credit card or PayPal account. You will not have to obtain a PayPal account to use your normal credit cards. Publishers can arrange other payment methods.

You pay $75 upfront before we start work and pay the remainder before we send you the final ePub file. Additional services not accounted for in the first installment will be added on to the last invoice.

Should I develop a fixed layout book for both Amazon and Apple?

We offer our services to develop both from a single source file. You provide us just one manuscript and one layout. Then we hand format the fixed layout eBook using HTML coding to make the ePub files for both Amazon and Apple. Since Amazon and Apple have different device formats, the layout will be slightly different. The Amazon book will have attractive borders to adjust for this formatting difference. See the differences between the Amazon and Apple layouts.

Do I get to review my book after you create it for us?

You get to review the book for any errors we made during the formatting process. This does not include editorial changes, which would be subject to additional fees.

Do you do read along?
Apple devices supports read along. You supply the audio files and we place it in the HTML document for the correct spreads. Once you sign up, audio details will be included with our Book Formatting Package.

Amazon does not support embedding an audio file, but the Kindle device has an option to narrate your book. You can set the option for the Kindle device to read the story. You can also set the speed of the narration from fast to slow. Fast speed is great for reading a novel. Slow speed is better for children books. You have no choice of the sound of the voice.

Can I make a single illustration for fixed layouts go across the reading device?

Illustrated Fixed Layout BookFor a fixed layout book, you can easily make an illustration go across a spread. Text can be placed on top of illustrations if you want that design. Simple to do and the results are great!

How do I review the book you formatted on my device?

When we send you the files to review, we will include information on how to view your book. It is a fairly easy and straight forward process.

What fonts can I use in my fixed layout eBook?

Amazon and Apple have fonts that are preloaded on their devices. We suggest you use Georgia or Helvetica – fonts which are preloaded and common to both the current Kindle and iPad devices. These fonts have been tested and render well on electronic devices.

If you want to use a different font, we can embed that specific font in your eBook. We will only embed fonts that are open source fonts found in the Google Fonts Directory (http://google.com/fonts). We do not accept fonts from other foundries since they are expensive and have too many license restrictions. You need to download the fonts you want to use from the Google Fonts Directory and send them to us. Google advertises these are open source fonts, but it is your responsibility to make sure their licenses have not changed and you are using fonts that have a proper license for eBook commercial use (with no restrictions) for any fonts you supply for embedding. When you start your book we will provide the details about using embedded fonts.

eBook Basics

Do I have to know HTML coding to create a new eBook?

We will do the HTML and CSS coding for you. We do not use any automated software to code your book. We actually hand code every single spread of your book. This way we make sure every spread is designed the way you want.

Will you scan my printed book?

At the present time we do not offer a scanning service. You can usually find a local business that does this. Many eBook customers use the companies found on the Internet.  Many of these services have high quality scanning equipment.

Do I have to register my eBook and Illustrations with the Copyright Office?

There is a common misunderstanding that you have to register your photos and book with the Copyright Office to be copyrighted. For example, photos as soon as they are created, have copyright protection to the person that took them. But there are some extra legal benefits of registering the works with the Copyright Office if someone infringed on your work. For more information on copyright law and registering images, go to the U.S. Copyright Office’s website. You should always get permission from the owner of any work before using it. Don’t assume because you see something on the internet that it is free to use. Please note we are not lawyers and this should not be considered as legal advice.

How good is the eBook market?

Between January 2011 and January 2012, eBook sales increased 49.5% for adults and 471% for children and young adults. 457 million eBooks were sold in 2012 according to the Association of American Publishers. Amazon reports in September 2014, that kid’s fiction and nonfiction eBooks titles have been growing steadily from Jan 2013 through July 2014. Amazon comments: “Our data tells us this is an ebook market beginning to accelerate significantly.”

We see some books doing better on the Apple Store. Others report their books sell better on Amazon. Our service puts your fixed layout eBooks on both stores – so you can have the best of both worlds. For our 16 spread (same as 32 pages in a traditional book) simple layout option, you only need 49 iPad books downloaded at $3.99 to pay for the eBook formatting and conversion service.

You keep 100% of the royalties – we take none. Apple US gives you 70% of your book price.

Should I include a back cover?

Most eBooks do not include a back cover. For a traditional printed book, the back cover helps attract readers to the book. A back cover in an eBook cannot do the same thing because the back cover would not be seen until you finish the book.

Why should I self publish?

Self publishing has never been easier with the eBook market. eBook sales are on the rise. Self publishing also allows for a much higher royalty percentage.

What is the difference between a free flowing and fixed layout eBook?

A standard (free flowing, flowable or re-flowable) eBook is the standard form of eBooks. You can read it on any eReader and adjust the font size to fit your reading preferences. The spreads are not “fixed” with an standard eBook because the number of words displayed can change based on the screen size of the eReader and the reader’s settings. The use of illustrations with flowable books is somewhat limited. Images usually show up after paragraph breaks. Free flowing eBook are great for novels, but not so great for picture books.

A fixed layout book has the page “locked” into place. You cannot change the font size. Content of the spread will not flow to the next spread like a free flowing eBook. You can double tap or use finger jesters to increase the size of the photos or text if you want them to appear larger. The text can interact with some device functions such as word definitions, word searches, etc. Fixed layout books are great for books where there is many illustrations and you want the text and illustrations to stay together. The author or publisher has complete control of the book’s design. Fixed layout books are great for kids’ books, cookbooks and coffee table books.

Fixed layout books are different than a PDF book. While both have content that is not re-flowable, a fixed layout book can use enhanced interactive features. Apple, and to some extent Amazon, support interactive features in fixed layout books. Apple does not support you uploading a copy of a PDF book.

Do I need an ISBN for my Amazon and Apple eBook?

This is entirely up to you whether you purchase an ISBN. An ISBN is used to identify and track your specific book – allowing for more efficient marketing of the book to booksellers, libraries and distributors. You can purchase an ISBN at myidentifiers.com. More information about ISBNs can be found at isbn-international.org. If you already have a printed book with an ISBN, you need a different ISBN for your eBook.

Most conversion companies tell you need to purchase an ISBN and that you have to buy one for Apple eBooks. This policy by Apple has recently changed and both Amazon and Apple do not require an ISBN for your book.

Amazon and Apple will place a book identifier on your eBook for their own company tracking. You are not required to purchase an ISBN by Amazon or Apple for your eBook.

Does Amazon and Apple allow sample books?
On the iTunes book description page, readers have access to a short sample book and screenshots from inside the book.

Apple will create a sample book for you if you don’t provide one. Screenshots are optional and are provided by the author. We offer the service of creating a sample book and screenshots for you (or you can make your own screenshots). This way, you get to choose exactly what spreads you want to include. You can include up to five spreads with this service. A spread is what you see on the iPad screen.

Authors cannot create screenshots or sample books for Amazon. Amazon provides the service.

What is eBook Engineer's definition of illustrations and images?

We use the words illustrations and images to refer to various media which could include: photos, art, graphs, tables, information sidebars, maps, drawings, etc. These are image files that have extensions such as jpg, gif, or png.

Upload the Book

Do I need an eReader to review my work?

Yes and no. Kindle Previewer, Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, Adobe Digital Editions and the Chrome Readium plugin are PC/MAC programs that you can use to review your work. Unfortunately these programs will not run some of the interactivity that would you see on the actual device. The best way to review your work is in on the actual device(s).

How do I upload the ePub files to Amazon and Apple?

Information about uploading files to Amazon.
Information about uploading files to Apple.

You can use a PC or Mac to upload to Amazon. Apple requires you to use a Mac only. With your permission we can upload the files to Apple for a modest fee. We would not have any access to your private information when we do this. Apple has a procedure in place so we can never see your personal or banking information. Amazon only allows the author to upload their own book.

What are Amazon and Apple's royalty rates?

For the US market Apple’s standard royalty for authors is 70% of the book price.

For Amazon’s US market you have a choice of a royalty of 70% or 35%. If you choose a 70% royalty option, you will be charged according to your book size in megabytes. Amazon charges you $0.15/mb. A 4mb book would result in a $0.60 charge. This fee is taken out of your royalty check. There is a 35% royalty option that has no delivery charge. You will need to calculate which one is better for you. To help you keep the 70% option, we have photoshop and programming professionals who can help you  get the best quality while keeping your file size down. If you are not careful, a 70% can be a very bad deal if you have a highly illustrated book with a large file size. You could even potentially have to pay Amazon. We can help you make the right choice for your particular book.

Royalty rates from other countries vary depending on exchange rates and other factors.

About Us

Do you advertise for me?

We do not advertise your books for you. We provide a list of free resources on our Resource Information page.

What if I have a question not covered in the FAQ?

You can contact us by sending an email message to contact@ebookengineers.net. We always try to respond within 24 hours. Depending on the complexity of the question, we may need to schedule a phone conversation.

Who started eBook Engineers?

Brian is a professional programmer that has been making websites and programming for 15 years. He is proficient in video/audio conversion and helped upload and maintain a website of over 16,000 catalog images.

Dwight is an educator and professional photographer that was the sole photographer for 167 nature books for children. His work has appeared in more than 60 photo essays featured in major magazines such as: Audubon, Natural History, GEO, Smithsonian, National Geographic, National Wildlife and Ranger Rick.

We have recently developed over 60 fixed-layout eBooks for Amazon and iTunes. Both of us are very proficient at Adobe Photoshop and book layout design.

What is your guarantee?

We know you will love the book we formatted for you as much as we do. If you are not completely satisfied, let us know within 60 days of delivery of the final book and we will fix any errors we made at no cost to you. If we cannot fix the problem, we will issue a full refund within 21 days. See the Terms of Service for more details.

Do you format for all languages?

At this time we are only formatting books for English language. We have plans to do other languages in the future.

Why do most fixed layout conversion companies format for only one eBook Store?

Formatting for fixed layout books is very demanding and takes a huge amount of time. Each eBook reader requires different programming requirements. Many conversion companies and apps only program for one eBook Reader (i.e.  Amazon or iTunes).  ebook Engineers realizes how important your book is and the time you put into the manuscript and illustrations. We feel authors with fixed layouts should be on both stores and we will help you publish your book on both Amazon and iTunes!  

Here are some things to look for when considering eBook fixed layout conversion options:

  • Some groups only do fixed layout books for a single eBook store (such as Amazon or iTunes).
  • Many conversion groups only convert PDF books to ePub without making the text interactive. Apple does not accept PDF books. Kindle will accept PDF books but indicates there can be many conversion problems associated with PDF books.
  • Free PDF converting software usually does a poor job of converting to fixed layout ePub books. And you have the same problem as the previous comment.
  • Many conversion groups take a royalty from the sales of your books. We do not take any royalty from your book sales. Once we complete our service to you, the book is completely yours to sell and you keep 100% of the royalties.

We Guarantee You Will Be Satisfied With Your Book!

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