Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Electronic Books on the Move

by Vivian Zabel

   One thing about eBooks, unless a person carries multiple e-readers, the weight won't break his/her back. Personally, I prefer "real" books: paper, ink, covers. However, I do have a Kindle Fire and have "books" on it -- yes, I do read from the Kindle some times. Many people read only from their tablets, Nooks, Kindles, etc., and they need quality material. 4RV, with its goal to deliver quality books, also wants the same for its eBooks. Since we use books already out in print, we don't need to worry about the content except to copy edit and find any errors missed before. Many eBooks available lack professional formatting, even when the authors and/or publishing houses believe the formatting meets the professional standard, and of course, as humans, we often still make mistakes. 

     With that in mind, and knowing my own limitations and the limitations of our staff, I spent hours and hours and hours researching how to and who to do the best digital books. I read and listened and tried to format digital documents, with poor results due to confusion and unclear directions. Some eBook preparation companies produced inconsistent products with paragraphs crushed together or odd symbols that popped up in strange places. Some didn't provide customer service to help repair problems. After all the actual months of research and many hours of questioning two companies, I found one that not only produced the quality end product I wanted, but also provided help when needed. I highly recommend draft2Digital.

     Of course, we (or I, as the case may be) must work and tweak and revise until the Word doc is perfect. After loading the document on the company's website, I can preview the file in any of the formats provided: mobi (Kindle), epub (Nook, Kobo, and Apple), or cs.pdf. If something doesn't look "right," I can adjust the Word doc and reload as many times as necessary to have a final product that looks professional without strange quirks appearing. Easy, no, but doable and easier than with many so called services.

     The end result: Eight books now availabe in digital form on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple in less than a month and more to come. The books out through the company we use appear more professional than the ones we had others format for us and that we uploaded on Amazon and Barnes & Noble ourselves.

     The books 4RV has in eBook format include the following: The Art of Science by Ransom Noble, A Distant Summer by Mike McNair, A Shadow in the Past by Melanie Robertson-King, A Wandering Warrior by Harry E. Gilleland, Jr., Journey of the Cheyenne Warrior by Kathleen Gibbs, Life on Hold by Beverly Stowe McClure, Sparrow Along on the Housetop by Jean James and Mary James,  Walking Through Walls, by Karen Cioffi, and Victoria and the Ghost by Janet K. Brown. More will be added as I can format them.

     Interested? Contact me with questions (

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  1. This is so exciting to be entering the digital world. I can't wait until my 4RV book "Victoria and the Ghost" enters the e-book craze. We appreciate your work to make this happen, Vivian.

  2. Dear Vivian,
    I am very proud of your persistence in finding a company who does quality eBooks. It is wonderful that Draft2Digital met your specifications! Hip Hip Hooray for you, 4RV Publishing, and Draft2Digital.

  3. I'm just lazy enough to wish they did all the changing and formatting and revising and tweaking and ... *laugh* Guess I'd better just count my blessings and be happy I'm able to do what else is needed and not have to do all the coding and such.

  4. I'm thrilled that A Shadow in the Past is also available now in e-book format. Thanks for all your efforts to make it happen!

    I have a 'leaning tower of TBR' physical books and should it ever topple over, I might be buried alive. Still, I love the kindle app on my iPad and my Sony reader.

    Having an e-reader of any kind is great when traveling. Who wants to pay overweight charges on your luggage because your stack of vacation reading puts you over the limit?

    Not that I'll get through all of the books I've got loaded up in the various apps on my iPad when I'm on vacation in August, but at least I'll room in my luggage for other things.

  5. We'll be adding more eBooks as possible, too.

  6. This is so great - I'm sure the e-format will add readers to 4RV books. I too prefer 'physical' books, but do have a Kindle for convenience.