e-Books

Trends in Publishing E-Books: Impressions from Four LavaCon Sessions

E-books are not a new, or even recent, phenomenon. I encountered my first e-book no later than 1994 (although it might have been earlier) with Project Gutenberg, which was started by Michael Hart in 1971 when he started typing classic texts into his mainframe computer terminal. But the role of e-books has changed drastically in the past few years, and now more e-books are sold than hardcover books. Continue reading ...

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Building E-Books: A Tool Overview for Technical Writers

As e-books become another option for publishing technical content, writers are faced with more choices among the tools to produce them. In my previous articles on e-book readers and formats, I noted the similarities between e-book formats and the online help formats that technical writers have been using for many years. In this article, I’ll look at some of the tools you can use to create EPUB books, the most common e-book format. I’ll also show how you can convert an EPUB to Amazon’s Kindle format. Continue reading ...

EPUB and eBooks: Formats, Setup, Production Workflows and Foreign Language Text Lessons from WritersUA

eBooks are a hot topic for technical writers and user assistance professionals right now, and WritersUA 2012 featured three sessions about eBooks and electronic publishing: EPUB: Putting It All Together, by Scott Prentice; eBook Production Workflows, by Joshua Tallent; and The Current State of Foreign Language Text in eBooks, also by Joshua Tallent Continue reading ...

E-Book Formats

Most technical writers understand online help formats and have worked with at least one over the years. Help file format have evolved from man pages (manual pages in UNIX in the early 1970’s) and HLP files through CHM files and the plethora of HTML-based formats that we have now. E-Book formats are similar in many respects to the common online help formats, but with one crucial difference; they’re designed to work on the small screens of today’s e-readers and tablets. Continue reading ...

All About E-Readers

The publishing world is experiencing the same momentous change that hit the record industry a few years ago – the switch from physical to digital media. One thing I can say with confidence: technical writers are in a good position to take advantage of this revolution in publishing technology. E-book formats are very similar to online help formats, and the tools and techniques that we’ve learned over the years in producing online help and web-based documentation are easily adapted to working with e-books. Continue reading ...