Although you can check your ebook formatting is correct after you upload it for publishing, it’s a lot simpler to make sure it’s all set up correctly before pressing that submit button.
If you have any changes to make, skipping repeated uploads to services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or to Barnes & Noble’s Nook Press will save you a lot of time, too.
Check out these two free programs that can help you make sure that your ebook’s format meets all the standards.
Calibre (seen at the right) is an open source “e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books.”
Among its many features, Calibre features an excellent ebook viewer (can read multiple formats), and will even help you convert your book from one format to another — such as a Word document to .epub. Downloads available for Windows, Mac, Linux.
Also open source, Sigil — subtitled “The EPUB Editor” — lets you look at your book in a few different ways, by selecting book view, code view or preview view. (You can even use their WYSIWYG editor in the book view, to make it very clear what you’re changing.) Want to make sure your code is okay? There’s an integrated FlightCrew EPUB validator to help you with that.
Putting the programs to work
When you’re proofing your ebooks, here are a few things you might want to check:
- Is the table of contents (TOC) displaying correctly — and do all of the links work? (Amazon calls this an “Active Table of Contents.”)
- Are your chapter numbers/titles properly formatted?
- Have you entered your metadata? (title, author name, genre, description.)
- Do you have page numbering enabled? (For most ebooks, you should not.)
- Do you have specific formatting or special characters? (For an ebook, you should typically not have anything other than bold, italic, and larger font sizes for chapter headings.)