As I just mentioned in my previous post, I converted the English version of the book Start-Up to the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad/iPhone formats. I will describe here what I faced as challenges and output.
The Amazon Kindle first.
It was relatively easy to do the job. I just add to save my Word version of the book into an HTML file. Well, almost. First, the table of content did not have direct hyperlinks, which I had to build. And at the end, it was not really a meta-table of contents so that you can click on the links (on the iPad version of the Kindle) but there is no real table of content. Second, the tables of data were just awful, so I had to convert them to JPG pictures. Then I just had to become a member of the Amazon DTP platform, fill in my details and upload the file. Their validation was fast and the Kindle version is available since late July. As I wrote in my previous post, the main weakness I saw is that on the iPad version of the Kindle, I could not enlarge the pictures (whereas I can do it with an iBook). Other weaknesses: the table of content is not good; and the chapter titles are small. Finally, I still do not know why they sell it for $11.99 when I asked for $9.99.
Now the Apple ibookstore. This was much more challenging!
Preparing an ebook is not as simple as I thought. In my simplistic views of electronic books, I thought that PDF would be an ideal format. I was naïve! If you want to read ebooks on a laptop, Adobe Digital Editions (http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions) as well as Calibre (see below) provide a good reader for your laptop.
Now Apple was tougher. First I had no clue if I should become a developer or a content provider (http://www.apple.com/itunes/content-providers). Fortunately enough, being a content provider is good enough and free! Once you are registered as content provider you just have to let Apple validate your file. Well one minute! To become a content provider, I had to download iTunes Producer which works on Apple computers only!
Then you have to do much more work than with Amazon! First they want a EPUB format. You need to create such a file from the same HTML file required from Amazon (you can use Calibre, www.calibre-ebook.com) and you need to validate it with epubcheck (code.google.com/p/epubcheck). I had many bugs and had to use an epub editor. Sigil was good (code.google.com/p/sigil). But I still had to do some hand work and I would quantify it as a few days of work of editing whereas Amazon only asked me about a day.
Finally, Apple annouces it takes them up to 10 business days to do the quality control and it is about what it took. I do not have a Kindle so I cannot judge the result. There were a few buyers but I did not get any feedback yet. I have an iPad with the Kindle reader so I could check the results as I said previously. The experience was better with iBooks but better than I feared on the Kindle platform provided for the iPad.
Finally, the iBook seems to be available through the USA, Canada, UK, Germany and France only and apparently the countries which have agreements with those. Switzerland is not part of the group so I would not be able to buy it from home… too bad for Swiss residents!