Tuesday, July 27, 2010

EPUB Straight to the Point - EPUB Edition

EPUB Straight to the Point
Creating ebooks for the Apple iPad and other ereaders

by Elizabeth Castro
Peachpit Press, ISBN: 978-0321734686
Available in Paperback: August 8, 2010
Available as an ebook (EPUB format): Now.

This is a preview (and a pre-review) of Elizabeth Castro's new book about how to create ebooks in the format called EPUB. (When the paperback is released, I will post a full review.) EPUB has become the industry standard format; a format which can be read on any personal computer, read on the web, or read on almost every ebook reading device.

Despite the growing importance, adoption, and popularity of this format, there has been relatively little written about how to create it. You can comb the Internet and gather information from a few dozen sources; yet to my knowledge this is the first book-length work about how to create ebooks in EPUB.

Simplicity was a key factor in designing the EPUB standards -- EPUB is essentially an HTML file. Nevertheless, there are no one-step, push-button solutions for making EPUB ebooks, and there are no simple and sure-fire ways to convert from other formats into EPUB. Whether you code by hand, use shareware, or work with InDesign, at the end of the process -- even using the best and priciest software -- in order to tweak and validate your EPUB, you will still need to know how the EPUB format works under the hood.

Castro's book fills an immense gap in this field, as an essential guide for publishers, designers and authors who need to produce books in the EPUB format.

I read the EPUB version of this book using the iBooks app on my iPad. The ebook looks gorgeous -- thanks to its nice font, ample line spacing, stylish headers and full-color screen shots. This ebook edition once-and-for-all dispels the foolish myth that EPUB ebooks cannot be (or look) well-designed -- Castro's ebook is beautiful and easy to read. My full review will discuss the content in more detail. For now, you can look at this expertly-designed EPUB edition, by buying a copy direct from Castro's website, for $ 20, at


This EPUB ebook edition of the book -- offered without any encryption -- will let you easily search through the text, create bookmarks, highlight interesting passages, and copy selections of text. For various ways to read EPUB ebooks (in addition to the iPad, the Nook, and other devices), see my FAQ at http://www.zorba.us/?page_id=243.

—Michael Pastore, author
50 Benefits of Ebooks:
A Thinking Person's Guide to the Digital Reading Revolution