E book development


I’m a web designer but have been asked to turn a currently published book into an ebook. The author can supply it to me as a PDF.

I know it will take me longer than usual because I need to learn how to do it first.

But I was just wondering, what people would charge for this kind of service and how long it would take them?

I know the answer will be different for everybody but will be interested to see a range of answers.


In a way, you could argue that the PDF is an ebook. But presumably you mean an epub version? In that case, a raw text version would probably be easier to work with than a PDF.

I haven’t made a full epub book yet, but I’m about to learn. Here are some resources I’ve been looking at:



My preference is to start with the basic epub files and make the ebook manually, so I don’t know how well tool like those above work.

You should precise what kind of E-book format are you looking to create?

Are you familiar with, and have access to, InDesign?

If so, you could maybe import the PDF page by page into Photoshop, save each page as a JPG, then remake the book in InDesign.

Then from InDesign you would then be able to apply page transitions, and export as an SWF. You’d have animated page flips, and could even use “interactive page curl” which would allow the user to click the corners of the pages to flip them. Pretty cool stuff.

As far as pricing goes, that’s up to you. You could probably get away with charging a couple hundred.

I suggest going to www.smashwords.com and reading their how-to guide. You’ll make the ebook in Word, and once formatted correctly, smashwords will convert it into several formats. If it is formatted perfectly, then you may submit it for consideration for Apple iBooks, B&N Nook, and Amazon Kindle inclusion!

If the book is like a novel with very little formatting of fonts and paragraphs, then it should take a week (if you are working weeknights). If it is more complicated, including photos and captions, then it’ll take longer to format. Can you simply charge by the hour?

I am not sure if that helps, but I’ve seen people charging anything from $99 to $1k for that kind of service.

I guess it depends on the amount of work involved (are you going to do anything people mentioned before me?, are you going to do graphics work? etc.)

If I were you I would charge by the hour, as in such cases the customer usually don’t know what they really want so you may lose time.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone.

Out of interest, I’ve since found out more about the project.
It’s for Kindle. Not too easy from a PDF.
The book layout is really complex, with pull quotes, text flowed around images, and all sorts of different fonts.
What I’m trying is converting the PDF to ePub via: http://www.2epub.com/ then I’ll make any edits I need to in [URL=“http://code.google.com/p/sigil/”]http://code.google.com/p/sigil/ and convert it to a .MOBI. I’m hoping this’ll work!

No, no, no, that is not going to work!

Look up the ebooks in your own device. None of the good ones were converted. They were all designed from scratch, especially if they are complex with pull quotes and different fonts. Only a limited number of fonts are supported. The conversion codes are assuming something simple, that you’ve already done the homework and dumbed-down the original to make the conversion smooth.

Are you able at all to get the original documents that formed the PDF? Conversion from PDF to eBook is never a good idea, especially not at this infant stage of ebook creation tools. Sorry to blow your bubble.

Creating really good quality ePubs from PDF or other sources is surprisingly fiddly work. Unless you have a lot of time on your hand, and money for something like the latest version of InDesign, I’d outsource the task. Try echoebooks.com or bookgenie.in