Word Processing to eBook Publishing

Reading (process) by beggs (CC-BY-2.0)

Tomorrow morning my S1 students are going to build their eBook files for publishing. I’ve spent a bit of time today giving them feedback using Microsoft Word comments and will share the files with them tomorrow. Once they have made their changes they will save their stories as “Web Page, Filtered” HTM files which – according to Guido Henkel – are the best way to prepare documents for conversion to EPUB.

I had planned to use Adobe InDesign, but encountered formatting issues galore. Plus it would mean introducing a new package to my classes just so they could save as an ePub. I wasn’t keen.

The solution suggested by Guido (and others, sorry you aren’t name-checked here) is to utilise Calibre to turn each HTM file into an EPUB. The only problem is we don’t have Calibre installed on the school network so I may utilise the offline PC at the front of my class (the trusty Infernal Machine, circa 2004) which has long been the best option for adhoc solutions in my classroom. I’ve downloaded the portable version (needs XP SP3 at least) and will hopefully get a production line running tomorrow.

I also want my students to be able to access their finished eBooks online. I found a great resource called MagicScroll.net which allows you to upload EPUB files to an account associated with an email address (no other details required – perfect for my class!). It also allows users to view their eBooks from within an internet browser.

In the long term, being able to have students use more social sites like Smashwords would be fantastic but I am aware of the need to prepare students for the range of suitable and unsuitable content that these sites contain. Perhaps if any readers know of school-friendly alternatives they could share in the comments below?


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