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Choosing an eBook Compiler

By Bryan Quinn

This is written for those of you that want an alternative to creating an ebook in PDF format.

It is not the purpose of this article to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of ebook compilers with products like Adobe Acrobat. However, before continuing, it is necessary to explain one important difference between them.

To do this considers these two definitions.

An ebook compiler is a software application that converts a document to an executable (.exe) file. The file (or ebook) that is created is a stand-alone file. This simply means that no other software application is required to execute (or read) it.

Adobe Acrobat is a software application that converts a document to a readable (PDF) file. The file (or ebook) that is created is not stand-alone. It requires an application like Adobe Reader to open (or read) it. Now that this is established, we can concentrate on the choice of ebook compiler.

Your choice will depend on what format you have written the content for your ebook. Examples are plain text, HTML, MS Word or MS PowerPoint. If you have used HTML to write your content and want to compile an ebook from HTML code, you may need a working knowledge of the HTML language for some of the available compilers.

There are many ebook Compilers available today. The choice can be very confusing and it can often be difficult to choose one that is right for you. Here are a few pointers.

Ease of Use

If an easy to use compiler is your main priority, check that an instruction manual or adequate documentation is included with the compiler. If this is not included, you may find it time consuming to learn how to use the compiler correctly.

Security

If you wish to sell your ebook, good security features are important. As well as basic features like protecting your eBook content from modification or limiting a reader's viewing or disabling printing, you may want to implement other security features. Passwords, encryption and ebook disabling are only a few of the many security features available.

Features

It is a good idea to find out what features are supported with the ebook compiler. You may want to add graphics and hyperlinks, customize menus, create forms, add audio and video or perform other functions that are important to you. Some compilers offer very sophisticated features and complete plug-in capabilities for flash, java and shockwave.

Price

Your choice of product may depend on what you are prepared to pay. Although not always the case, you can expect to pay more for compilers that have more features. If you are not concerned about the cost, bear in mind that more features do not necessarily mean a better compiler. You may have no use for many of them or you may feel that some extra features complicate your requirements. For this reason it is better to know what your requirements are before making a final choice.

Requirements

Give some thought to your requirements. If you are considering an HTML based compiler, find out if it requires a browser to function. If it does, check to see what browser versions are supported. You may need to check your browser settings and configure your browser according to the compiler specifications.

Whether you intend to sell your ebook or distribute it freely, security is of major concern. This is after all the main reason for using a compiler. Your choice of compiler should offer at least the level of security that matches your requirements. All compilers have basic security features but some have features that go beyond most peoples needs. How secure you make your ebook is your choice.

Ensure that the compiler you choose is compatible with your operating system. For example some older compilers do not function with Microsoft XP service pack 2 (SP2) without a software patch.

Support

Good support for your chosen ebook compiler could be critical to your success. Check the conditions of any support that is offered. Find out if there is a service level agreement for the compiler software or if there is grace period for free technical support.

Check how long the compiler has been on the market. Although not always the case, generally the older compilers are more likely to be bug free. It is also worth looking for testimonials if the compiler has been around for a while.

Finally, download a demo of the compiler if possible before you buy it.

About The Author
Bryan Quinn is an IT consultant and webmaster of ebook-site.com.


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