The concept of the e-reader dates back to Bob Brown’s 1930 book titled The Readies, however, digitized books didn’t become a reality until the 1971 launch of Project Gutenberg, which introduced the first e-book, a digitized copy of the Declaration of Independence.
Since then, e-books have managed to capture a nice-sized share of the publishing market, and the e-book has become quite popular with businesses. Used for product manuals and instruction manuals, e-books help cut costs associated with printing physical books. Marketing departments have also discovered that e-books are a great form of content marketing, using the e-book format to deliver:
- Case studies
- White papers
These marketing tools enable companies to collect leads, create shareable content and strengthen their search engine optimization efforts.
So if you want to create an e-book, where do you begin? Let’s take a look.
Usingsoftware to create an e-book
A great e-book starts with an idea, a story to tell. You also need the right tool to translate that idea to a consumable product. Some people opt for standard word processing software but that has a number of limitations.
Others may opt for software proprietary to a specific e-reader but that limits the audience.
The best choice is to use your PDF software so that you can create a rich, well-formatted document that anyone can read. Here’s how you do just that:
- Choose your topic. Businesses get the most traction out of e-books that help their customers solve a problem. A list of best practices, a collection of statistics or even examples of how to overcome common issues all make for great e-book content.
- Outline your content. This is an important step because it helps you get your thoughts organized and plan for what the layout of your book is going to look like.
- Write the text. Using your outline as a guide, open your and begin writing. Concentrate on the content instead of worrying about images or graphics. You can always make a note using the comment tool in your application to designate the location of these elements if they occur to you as you’re writing.
- Edit. PDF software includes a full set of tools that allow for peer editing and collaboration. Since this document represents your business, make sure that others have a chance to look over everything to ensure there are no mistakes and that what you’re saying is consistent with your company’s message.
- Choose fonts and colors. Now that your content is set, it’s time to start working with the aesthetics. Select fonts that are easy for people to read both in print and on smaller smartphone screens. When in doubt, serif faces are always a good idea. Also, make sure that any colors you choose for your fonts provide enough contrast to make reading easy.
- Add graphics. Now it’s time to start supplementing your written content with images, graphs, tables and any other visual elements you may want to include. Since you’re using PDF software, you can even embed video and audio into your e-book for a richer multimedia experience. Using the tools included with your software, you have the ability to resize, crop and edit images to work within your document.
- Adjust the layout. PDF software resembles desktop publishing software in the way it allows you to resize text areas, move elements on the page and manipulate the layout of your document. After adding graphics and changing the font, you’ll need to arrange everything in your document so that the content flows nicely for the reader.
- Create a title page. Your title page can be as simple as the name of the document or you can use visual elements to really make it stand out. Just make sure that you include any necessary information related to your business on the title page.
- Make it accessible. In some industries, it’s a requirement that all documents are 508 compliant. If you’re using , you can use the Accessibility Checker tool to make sure that your e-book conforms to these requirements so that anyone can read what you have written. Simply choose FILE > Accessibility Checker > Accessibility Full Check to get a report.
- Review it. Send a draft to colleagues to review before making it final. Using Shared Review is a great mechanism to have a collaborative review.
Once you’ve completed your e-book, however, the work’s not quite done. While your PDF editor software like PhantomPDF will certainly help you put together a great looking document, getting it in front of its intended audience is entirely up to you.