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eBook Authoring

Module 3: Writing EPUBs with MS Word

As the world's most pervasive word processor, MS Word is the tool most authors use for general purpose writing. Although MS Word does not currently contain built-in support for authoring an ePub, most of the leading ePub tools contain options for importing content from Word. Depending on your publication strategy, here are some workflows you could use:

  1. Apple (iPhone, iPad, Mac). If you are planning to write a flowing EPUB for publication in the Apple Book Store and your content is already authored in Word, you can use Pages to import the Word document and apply the Pages EPUB styles from your chosen EPUB template.
  2. Kindle. If you are planning to publish an EPUB for distribution on Amazon's Kindle, follow the MS Word formatting guidelines in the eBook Manuscript Formatting Guide. After you write your book with MS Word, there are three ways you can submit it for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The route you take depends on the nature of your book and the toolset you feel comfortable about using. First, you can submit your book as an MS Word file, which Amazon will convert into an EPUB that you can download and proofread to see how it looks. Second, you can use a KDP tool called Kindle Create, which is a desktop app into which you import your MS Word file, format it as you wish, then export your book as a KPF (Kindle Publishing Format) file that you can submit for Kindle Direct Publishing. Third, you can install into MS Word an EPUB add-in called WordToEPUB. After using this add-in to export your EPUB, you can use an open source EPUB editing tool called Sigil to fine-tune your EPUB before submitting the EPUB file for Kindle Direct Publishing. During class, your professor will demonstrate all three of these ways to create an EPUB from Microsoft Word.
  3. Nook. If the Nook is your targeted platform, follow the MS Word formatting guidelines in the Barnes & Noble Press Formatting Guidelines.
  4. IDPF EPUB. If you want to make an IDPF compliant EPIB, import your MS Word document into Sigil or Calibre, which are freely available open source EPUB editing tools. It is also possible to author your entire book using these tools. Tutorials are in the Sigil User Guide and the Calibre User Manual.