What Software Is Needed to Create an Ebook?

When deciding what format to use to publish your ebook, keep in mind that everyone else doesn’t have exactly the computer and software you do. Therefore, to make your book accessible to the largest group of people, you will want to choose a format they will be able to read with the computer and software they already have, or software which is easily available and free.

I’ll confess to a personal bias: Right now, I think that one of the best formats to use is PDF. That could change if another standard emerges in the industry; however, PDF will be around for a while, it is easy to create, easy for readers to access, and will work on just about any computer.

Portable Document Format (PDF) is a file format created by Adobe. Anyone can read PDF files with the free Acrobat Reader distributed by Adobe. Many of the online e-publishers and ebook distributors use PDF files, including Amazon.com.

One way to create files in PDF is to own the Adobe Acrobat software, which typically sells for about $300. The original document can be created in Word, WordPerfect, HTML, and many other formats. Use the program with which you are most comfortable to create your ebook and make it look exactly the way you want it to look. Then, Adobe Acrobat converts it into PDF.

There are other programs available to convert files to PDF, many of them free or costing as little as $15. These do not have the functionality of the full version of Adobe Acrobat, but they may be adequate for your purposes in converting a simple document to a PDF ebook. One popular free program is CutePDF. There is also a paid version with greater capability, including security features.

The ebooks I have created are in PDF format. This format preserves the fonts I used to create the ebook, the formatting, colors and pagination, and the graphics. What you see on the screen is exactly what I created on my screen. PDF files may include hypertext links and links to Web sites, as well as multimedia features, such as animation, sound and even film clips.

Creating PDF ebooks will allow your readers to see the book exactly as you created it, no matter what computer or operating system they use.