How do I efficiently turn a Word doc into an eBook and a print book?
September 16, 2018 4:55 PM   Subscribe

If I'm starting from a Word doc, how can I maintain one document and minimize the amount of work to turn that document into both an eBook and a Print book?

I'm looking into publishing books with Kindle Publishing. It appears that if you want to have an eBook and a print version, you would need to format your document differently. I'm imagining two documents with different formats and needing to track changes in both documents - that seems inefficient and prone to mistakes, so I'm also imagining there might be a better way.
posted by kokaku to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of people use Pandoc, which converts Word (and many other) formats to epub. Some people write their book in Markdown format, then use pandoc to convert to PDF (via LaTeX) and epub.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:06 PM on September 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

You know what website has a powerful engine for converting ebook formats? Smashwords. Even if you're not going to sell your book there, you can use their excellent Style Guide to format your starting doc in Word, upload the Word doc to Smashwords, and then download it to yourself again in epub, mobi, and pdf formats. I did this with a book I published last year and it worked great.
posted by Orlop at 5:07 PM on September 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

With my novels, I use Fiverr, pay someone and call it a day.
I used to love delving into the minutiae, but now life is too short.
posted by Major Matt Mason Dixon at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2018

Pandoc is so awesome. It’s not for everybody, but it’s a text wonk’s dream come true. I mostly use LaTeX when I can, but pandoc flavored markdown is a serious contender for the best thing out there for people who seriously care about maintaining consistent, powerful, portable and independent control of content and presentation.

This is a great example of why separation of content and presentation (or text and formatting) is so important, and also how painful it is that word has them so needlessly intermingled.
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:25 PM on September 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I haven't used it with an author's eye, but the free e-book software Calibre does tons of format conversions, including .doc and various flavors of e-books:
posted by wenestvedt at 6:12 AM on September 17, 2018

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