If you ever felt like publishing your own ebooks, you may wondered what applications could be suitable for this indispensable task. In this article you will learn about some of the many applications available to create ebooks in a simple way.
In this era of digital content, screens in all dimensions and smart devices, paper books are giving way over the years to books and electronic publications, also known as eBooks.
At one time, the same thing happened with music. From having albums in compact disc (CD) format to having thousands of songs and dozens of artists and bands in your pocket, inside a device called iPod. Later came on-demand playback systems such as Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music.
Nowadays, this trend is getting closer and more to books. We can carry hundreds of them on our pocket mobile phones, on tablets and even on the digital book readers themselves, such as the Kindle E-reader family, Kobo and Nook.
First we must know the various formats of ebooks that are currently available, to know how to choose according to the type of content to be published. There are open, proprietary and even portable formats.
Basically, an ePUB is like a small website inside a folder, with files (HTML, CSS, JS, XML), tables of contents, images (JPEG, PNG, WebP), fonts, audio, video, etc. Your content can be edited once generated with Sigil application.
We can find it in two versions. Adobe calls them “adjustable layout” and “fixed layout”; and Apple calls them “dynamic” and “fixed layout”. In English: reflowable and fixed layout. The difference is related to the type of content that each publication has or will have:
- Dynamics: If you want the content to fit the different devices and orientations, use the Dynamics option. In an ePub file with Dynamic layout, the text size and page numbering are adapted according to the reading device. The Dynamic option is the best for documents that contain mostly text.
- Fixed layout: If you want the layout of each page of the document not to be modified, regardless of the device or orientation, use the Fixed Layout option. With this option, users can zoom in or out, but the positions of the text and content remain fixed and do not reset. The Fixed Layout option is best for documents that contain heavy images or multiple columns.
Then we have the proprietary ebook formats, such as: Amazon Kindle (.mobi), Apple Textbook (.ibooks), etc. Most of them are developed from the open specifications of the ePUB, adding functionalities created by each of these companies to extend their interactive features.
The disadvantage that these proprietary formats sometimes present is their compatibility and limitations with many applications, operating systems and reading devices that are available.
On the other hand, there is the PDF format, which was initially developed by Adobe in June 1993, released as an open standard since July 2008 and published as ISO 32000-1. It is also often used for various types of electronic publications such as: documentation, books, presentations, magazines, etc. The characteristic of this format is that its layout is fixed, so its content does not adapt to various devices. Its interactive features are usually limited on mobile phones and tablets.
Applications for ebooks
To generate ebooks, we have a vast number of applications to choose from for desktop computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. Most of them are free and a few commercial, but they all fulfill their purpose perfectly.
In 2000, Adobe developed and launched the InDesign application for the field of editorial design and digital printing. It is a commercial application of the Creative Cloud application package, which is also used around the world to create ebooks and electronic publications. And has a lot of options and settings to generate ePUB (dynamics and fixed layout) and interactive PDF. It is currently the most complete and complex application for the generation of ebooks. Requires more extensive learning and training time than other applications. Available for macOS and Windows.
Apple application launched in 2005, which exists in versions for desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone and web from iCloud. Pages is a word processor with a friendly interface but with enormous potential. Export books with great simplicity in ePUB (dynamics and fixed layout) and interactive PDF formats. It is the easiest application to learn how to use. Available as a free download for iOS, iPadOS and macOS.
Apple iBooks Author
Created by Apple in 2012 as an application exclusively for the authorship of ebooks. Exports in both ePUB (dynamic) format and proprietary Textbook format. This format has multiple features of great interactive richness, although with compatibility limitations on reading devices. It is an easy application to learn how to use. It was discontinued a few years ago and has been replaced by Apple Pages.
There are dozens more applications that fall into the same category of electronic publication creation. Some of them known over the years are: Sigil and Vellum. The first is free to download and available for Linux, macOS and Windows.
Now that you know some of its possibilities and potentials, it’s just a matter of starting to write and shape our own publication with any of these available applications. You can start typing in the palm of your hand with your mobile phone, shape it on a laptop and then publish it on the most well-known book platforms such as Amazon Kindle Store, Apple Books Store, BajaLibros, Google Play Store, etc.
You can learn more about how to create ebooks and electronic publications in the Adobe InDesign: EPUB Fundamentals course.
We also offer the service of converting books to accessible eBooks in ePUB and Kindle formats, both in dynamic and fixed layout.