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How to convert your word file to an e-book?

Updated on July 19, 2012

What is an Ebook?

An Ebook is an electronic book that you can read on your computer, tablets, smart phones or special ebook readers.

Ebooks can be interactive. When reading an ebook online, the reader can click on hyperlinks and be taken to a website.

Time to publishing is very short. You could write an ebook, convert it to an ebook format (discussed below), and post it to your website - all within a day or two (depending on the size of the ebook of course.)

Ebook Formats

When I created my "How to Become a Coach" ebook, I researched the advantages and disadvantages of various ebook formats.

Ebooks are usually created in one of four formats:

1. PDF

2. exe

3. mobi

4. epub


PDF Format:

Most people are familiar with PDF files. PDF is short for 'Portable Document Format' and is usually associated with Adobe.

The advantage of this format is that PDF is readable on both the PC and Mac. The disadvantage is a PDF document can be shared easily. If you're selling your ebook online it may get passed around by those who purchase it. I have yet to find a software lock to prevent this. (If anyone knows of one, please let me know!) On the other hand, if you want your ebook to go 'viral' and get into the hands of as many people as possible - PDF is a better choice than .exe.

EXE Format:

An .exe file is an executable file. In other words, when you open the .exe file on your computer, a program starts and the ebook is displayed. The advantage of this type of file is the security featues offered in many of the compilers. A compiler is software that creates the ebook into the .exe format. The disadvantage is .exe files do not work on most Macs. This may be possible now though with the Windows option now available on Macs.

MOBI and EPUB Formats:

EBooks in the Kindle store are in a mobi based format while eBooks need to be in epub format to be read on the Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobe eReader, and Apple products such as the iPad and iPod.

The main disadvantage (or advantage depending on your viewpoint) is that eBooks in the mobi format can't be read on the Nook or Apple products and vice versa. So Amazon created apps that allow Kindle ebooks to be read on Apple products (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), computers (PC, Mac) & smart phones (Blackberry, Android & Windows).

Converting to PDF

You can convert a Word document to a PDF by using software that you install on your desktop. Adobe Acrobat (approx. $200-450+) is one example.

Free online PDF converters also exist. allows you to convert 5 documents for free online. My favorite is the converter at Neevia Technology.

I love the one at Neevia as it allows you to use security features that disallow people from copying and pasting your text and you can choose to password protect the document. It also allows you to enable the content for the visually impaired. Plus if someone clicks on a link in your PDF document, the links will open a browser. The online Adobe version doesn't have security features and the links don't work in the finished document.

Depending on the features and size of your document (1MB max.), the free online services may be all you need. If you need more extensive features, purchasing software with all the features you need may be best. Adobe offers free trials for some of it's software if you want to do a test run first.

Converting to .EXE

The security features are what set this apart from the PDF converters. If you don't want the ebook you're selling passed around to friends or downlines (in the case of MLMs), the .exe format may be worth considering.

If you type 'ebook compiler' in a search engine you will find several options. I haven't offered any of my ebooks in the .exe format. I have purchased a couple in this format.

Converting to MOBI

If you're selling your eBook in the Kindle store, this is the format you'll need. While the Kindle Direct Publishing platform allows you to upload several file formats, a simply formatted Word .doc is preferred.

During the submission process, you will be asked to upload your eBook. It will be converted to a mobi-based format before you can proceed to the next step.

If you want to convert an html webpage into .mobi, try the Mobipocket Creator (Windows) or the KindleGen (Mac)

Converting to EPUB

epub is an xml based format. There are a number of sites that will convert your word document or html webpage to epub. I haven't tried any of them yet, so I can't recommend any.

Adobe Acrobat at Amazon

3 Ways to Create Ebooks

For all three methods you need to start with an outline. Ask people in your topic area what they most want to know about that topic or what their biggest challenge is. Compile a list of the top 10-12 questions. These become the sections of your ebook. Then break each question down into 4-6 chunks, which become the sub-chapters.

1. Write It Yourself

This one is self-explanatory. Pick a chapter and start writing.

2. Have Other People Write It

There are two ways to do this. Go to one of the free article directories online and find great articles on your topic. Contact the authors and ask if you can include their article in an ebook you're creating. Let them know that their contact information will appear in the resource box at the bottom of their article.

Go to the website of an expert in your field and see if they have any articles on their site. Contact them and ask if you can use one in your ebook.

3. Record and Transcribe

If you don't like writing, record yourself talking and get it transcribed. Alternatively, interview an expert or two and transcribe the interview.

What's Your Favorite Way to Create an ebook?

If you have a favorite way that you use to create an ebook, please share it in the comments section.


Submit a Comment

  • LPogue profile image

    LPogue 7 years ago from Missouri

    I use two different PDF programs, Adobe Acrobat 8 (will be upgrading soon) for the ability to format and make changes to PDF documents (such as dividing landscape legal documents with 4 columns into 2 column pages, and CutePDF for things I need to make into PDFs on the fly. The CutePDF is much less expensive than Adobe Acrobat and works as a printer device, but is less robust with fewer features.

    Thanks for the information on how you use PDFs in developing e-books. I will definitely use the information.

  • grammarchecker profile image

    grammarchecker 7 years ago from NJ, USA

    I use pdf995 for years; it is technically a printer driver - you will be prompted for a file name to save to. If you don't want to pay the license of US$ 9,95, you will get a nag screen in your browser. So far, I didn't do things I could not convert nicely this way. If your program can print, you can use the "printer" pdf995 - that's all. It may be Windows only, though.

  • LANWANMAN profile image

    LANWANMAN 8 years ago from Ocala, Florida USA

    I am surprised there is not a thousand or more comments on this article. Thanks for sharing. Sue has given me answers to all of my questions in a concise and easy to read format.

  • terrymill profile image

    terrymill 10 years ago from Florida

    Wow. Thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate your answering my request.