Last time I promised to talk about Calibre, a great free tool that I found online for document conversion. I don’t claim to be an expert on the program, but I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.

What does a conversion tool do?

It does exactly what it sounds like it would do. 🙂 You upload a document (.doc, .docx, .mobi, .epub…) and the program converts it into a different file format. In e-book publishing there are really only two kinds we use .mobi for kindle and .epub for everything else. A note of caution though, the conversion process can really mess up formatting sometimes. Always double check the converted file.

Why do I use Calibre?

I found that with epubs especially Calibre offers me more editing options that I just don’t have with online conversion sites. Although it took a little while to figure out what I was doing, once I did it was easy. Calibre allows me to upload a word doc, and pick which file I want to change it to. I can edit the metadata, the cover, the images, and just about anything I want. Once converted, I can go into the file structure and fix any mistakes.

The only downside I’ve found is that unless you convert to an .acwx file (supposedly a file amazon uses) you can’t edit .mobi files in their editor. I may be wrong about that… like I said I’m still working on it.

What other tools are out there?

On the internet you’ll find several conversion sites. I’ve used one called ebook.online-convert.com which allows you to immediately delete your uploaded file.

There are also several online companies who will do it for you for a fee, which may be a good option for those who aren’t as confident with a computer. I prefer to do it myself.
I also know programs like Scrivener and Vellum convert as well, but I’ve never used them.
My personal preference is to use Calibre because it’s on my computer (as opposed to uploading a doc online) and I find it simple to use. The fact that it’s free doesn’t hurt 😉

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