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FAQ


Thank You

Thank you for your interest in BB eBooks. We very much value the needs of our clients, whether they are publishers, small presses, or indie authors. We have compiled a list of FAQs that we hope will be useful for you. If you don’t find the answer you are looking for, please feel free to contact us anytime.


Services

Why Can’t I Just Use a Software Program to Create My eBook?

If you have ever tried to upload a file in a .docx format directly to Kindle, you will understand why this is not a good idea. The automated conversion process mangles the formatting and design, creating erroneous page breaks, misaligned images, improper paragraph styles, etc. Software like Calibre is great for readers because it converts eBooks into different formats for different reading devices. However, programs like this are automatic and do not take into account the necessary design and styling adjustments required for a professional look. Furthermore, production-level software of eBooks (like InDesign and Vellum) can be expensive and time-consuming. At BB eBooks, we build everything from HTML source code to ensure that your eBook is designed and laid out exactly how you want it. Additionally, for frequent customers we can use our special programs and expertise to make mass updates to all your books, like when you have a new release and would like to update your back matter. Find out more about our production and quality control process in this post.

How Do I Submit BB eBooks My Manuscript and What Files Should I Send?

For first-time clients, BB eBooks has set up a Quote page where you can easily select the options for your eBook/print project and upload the files. Please be sure to also upload your cover. The best format for us to work with is .doc, .docx, .odt, RTF, or something similar from a word processor. The worst format for us to work with (hence the higher cost involved) is PDF. The PDF format often corrupts the content during the extraction process to convert your eBook. For example, anomalies in the content that can be added during conversion to plain text include random spaces between certain letters. This is not the level of professionalism you or your readers deserve, so we strive to locate and correct all these anomalies. Please see our Publishing page for more details on manuscript preparation. For repeat business, we recommend using your BB Client account since it is more streamlined.

Will My eBooks Be Ready to Upload for Distribution?

Yes. The most basic design package from BB eBooks includes both the EPUB and MOBI/KF8, which covers the formats used by just about every eBook retailer. The validated EPUB that is made for you is ready for immediate upload and distribution at all major online retailers.

Do You Upload the eBooks to the Online Retailers on My Behalf?

No. We unfortunately can’t do this because it would allow us access to your bank account and personal details. This would be too much liability for our small company. If you need assistance with publishing, you are welcome to visit our Publishing page or contact us for referrals for folks in the industry who assist in the publishing process.

Do You Accept Physical Print Books for Conversion?

Sorry. At this time, we are not able to scan actual print books and turn them into eBooks. Optical Character Recognition (a.k.a. OCR) is still a fragile process, and it is almost guaranteed to have some typos. There is also the matter of having to physically ship a copy of your print book to Thailand, which can take a while. We recommend trying to track down the computer file that has your manuscript, or at least a PDF that was shipped to the print shop by the publisher. If you have a copyedited manuscript that came from an OCR process, we can certainly convert that into an eBook, assuming it is edited. Here’s a blog post that discusses tips for editing an OCR’d book.

Can You Add Retailer Buy Links to My eBooks?

Absolutely. We do this quite often and we’re more than happy to add retailer-specific links into your front and back matter of your eBooks. There is no extra charge for this. Please note that it is important not to have a retailer-specific eBook link to another retailer (e.g., having an Amazon link in an iTunes edition). This may result in your eBook not being publishable. We have special quality control programs that check for this.

Can You Create a PDF for Print-on-Demand Publishing?

Yes we can, if it is a simple work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. Please let us know which POD distributor you would like through our Quote page (i.e. CreateSpace, Lightning Source, other, etc.) and we can tailor a package that is right for you. Also, please let us know what trim size you would like your book to be (e.g., 6x9” paperback, 5x8”, etc.)

Can You Do Just Print for Me without eBooks?

Yes. Please contact us for a quote and select Package IV.

Do You Provide Proofreading or Cover Images?

Sorry, but we can provide referrals. Right now, BB eBooks does not provide any editing or cover art design services. However, please note that we do have a quality control program developed by our team that helps find pesky grammatical errors like periods missing at the end of paragraphs, quotes pointing the wrong way, etc. This is no substitute for a good editor though.

Do You Provide Consulting?

Sorry. We do not provide professional consultations at this time. However, if you are a client, we’d be happy to do our best to answer any questions that you may have.

Can You Fix My Existing eBook/Print Edition That Was Formatted Elsewhere?

No. This is a major liability for us and a lot can go seriously wrong. Due to our strict quality control standards, we can only start new formatting projects from scratch. However, if you’d like to hire us and you have existing eBooks, we can begin a new project if you only have an EPUB/MOBI edition.

If I Find a Typo, Can I Correct? Will You Charge?

Please notify us if you locate typos. We will correct all editions. We strongly discourage our clients trying to modify books that have already been formatted. We are experts at this and happy to help. There are more details on our secure portal, BB Client, about requesting changes. As a general rule-of-thumb, fewer than 25 typos can be corrected for free. Between 25 and 100, we would probably need to charge a nominal fee to correct ($5–$15). More than 100 typos or major structural changes to the book (e.g., new sections of back matter), we recommend you let us redo the entire project at the same rate as the previous formatting work.

What Are Your Turnaround Times?

For fiction and narrative non-fiction, we can typically produce the eBook and print editions in 1–2 working days. Complex non-fiction takes considerably longer, usually 5–10 working days.

Do You Do Rush Orders?

We typically only do rush orders for repeat clients. However, please feel free to contact us if you are a first-time client and need a rush order.

Do You Do Box Sets?

Yes. We create both single- and multi-author box sets. Our rates are typically $35/book, so an eight-book box set would be $280, for example. These rates are negotiable depending on the project. For authors who have done their entire series with BB eBooks, we can typically make a box set of that series for the cost of a regular eBook formatting (so $60). Please feel free to contact us for more details.

Can BB eBooks Help Me Market My eBook?

No. We are not experts at this; however, we can provide referrals to individuals who do publicity work for authors.

Do You Have a Referral Program?

No. We are very grateful for referrals and word-of-mouth, but we do not have a formal referral program where individuals can be financially compensated.

What Is Your Preferred Method of Communication?

Our entire business revolves around Email. We are located in Asia, but typically keep Western business hours to better serve our clients in North America. All correspondence will be answered within 24 hours. If you would like to set aside some time for Skype or a phone call, please let us know.

Do You Make eBook/Print-on-Demand Templates?

No. All eBook and print books are custom-built for the client. If you would like templates, we suggest using Joel Friedlander’s Book Design Templates. They’re not bad and inexpensive!

How Do You Handle Preorders?

For preorders, iBooks, Smashwords, and Draft2Digital (Draft2Digital requires you to contact them) allow for “assetless” preorders, so you can select a date for your release to get the product page without having to upload a book. However, other online retailers (e.g., Amazon, Kobo, Google Play) require that you upload an eBook to get the product page for your preorder. Many authors upload dummy files or old eBooks to get the product page. Then, when the eBook is formatted they replace the dummy file with the new finalized eBook. BB eBooks does not recommend this practice because there have been many cases where the online retailer has accidentally shipped the dummy file. If you have an unedited manuscript, BB eBooks can help get it formatted at a discount so you can use that eBook to upload to get the preorder… just in case it gets shipped by the retailer accidentally. Then we’ll be ready to get your final book formatted and finalized after being edited if you are in a time crunch. More on preorders on our blog.


Copyright, Confidentiality, Security, and Legalities

Do You Provide Confidentiality for Your Clients?

Yes. We take confidentiality very seriously and all files sent to us and delivered to you are only kept in-house. The only exception is that under Thai Law we need to provide all receipts for every sale to the Thai Revenue Department. There are more details about confidentiality on our Terms and Conditions page.

May I Conduct Business with BB eBooks under a Pen Name?

Yes. This is acceptable and we promise to respect and value your privacy.

Do I Need to Register My Copyright?

No. The current copyright law in the United States (which is similar in other countries) is that once you write your content, you automatically own the copyright. There is nothing else you need to do. However, a copyright statement in an eBook, such as Copyright © 2012 Jane Doe, is a best practice to put others on notice of your copyright. Consult the US Government’s FAQ on copyright for more details if you are interested in registering your copyright. Registration is required for you to file legal action for infringement, adds statutory damages and attorney’s fees as potential remedies if your work was registered before the infringement (generally), and helps prove that your copyright is valid. Please see this post on making a copyright page for more details. Please note that BB eBooks always assumes that for what you are uploading you either 1) own the copyright, or 2) are acting on behalf of the copyright owner. Please consult our Terms and Conditions page for further details.

Does BB eBooks Own the Copyright to My eBook?

No. We are contractors only and own no copyright in the content, design, or source code of the eBook we complete for you. However, to serve our clients more efficiently, we reserve the right to reproduce and adapt minor portions of the source code that are common to almost all our clients and don’t even appear in your eBook. Please consult our Terms and Conditions page for more details.

Do I Need an ISBN?

Probably not. You do not need an ISBN for your eBook if you are publishing at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and other major online retailers. Smashwords will actually assign an ISBN for you. However, you will need an ISBN if you want to go the Print-on-Demand route (CreateSpace offers them for free). There are more details about ISBNs on our blog.

Does BB eBooks Put DRM on My eBooks?

No. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is an anti-piracy feature found in eBooks, music, movies, and other multimedia that limits access to certain devices owned by the consumer who purchases them. If you would like to install DRM on your eBook, most of the eBook distributors allow you this option when you upload your eBook file. For authors looking to sell DRM-enabled eBooks independent of the online retailers, there are very limited options do so at this time.

Can You Make ARC Editions?

Yes. BB eBooks is happy to make Advance Reading Copy (ARC) editions for clients at no additional charge. Different book reviewers/bloggers have different requirements, but we recommend providing a PDF eBook ARC. This is the most difficult format to convert into a sellable EPUB/MOBI and the least likely formatted to be pirated. For more on ARC security and your options, please consult our blog.


Payment and Delivery

What Are Your Rates?

Our most updated rates are available on the home page here. Please note that we’re proud to have not raised our prices in over three years.

How Does Your Quote Page Work?

When you fill out the fields in the Quote page on our website, it automatically send us the files securely and notifies us. After you submit your files, the team at BB eBooks will look over your manuscript and send you a formal quote, with proposed pricing and turnaround time, as a PDF. There is no obligation on your part to accept the quote. Once you agree to the price on the quote and scope of work, we will commence production of your book right away. There are more details on our pricing structure on the BB eBooks’ Home page if you are interested.

When Do I Have to Pay for the Services of BB eBooks?

When you work with BB eBooks, we’re not happy until you are. Therefore, you do not have to pay until after you are satisfied with the eBook design services we have performed for you. The period for payment is 30 days after you receive your final files from BB eBooks. We will issue a formal invoice and instructions on how to pay via PayPal. Please contact us if you have any questions about how payments work. For Thailand-based customers, we do allow bank transfer to our Siam Commercial Bank account. However, all other customers are required to pay through PayPal. You do not need a PayPal account to use PayPal—only a credit card. BB eBooks does not have a merchant account and cannot accept credit card payments directly. We will never ask for your credit card information.

Do You Offer Bulk Services?

Yes. Please contact us and let us know a little about your needs, and we’re certain that BB eBooks can put in a highly competitive bid for your project.

How Does BB eBooks Send Me My Files?

BB eBooks uses a secure cloud portal called BB Client. It delivers the files securely anytime you need them, allows you to reference all current and past orders, provides a streamlined way to request follow-on work from BB eBooks, and even allows payment through PayPal. There are more details on BB Client here. First-time clients will receive more details and a BB Client account once work is completed on their first project. There is no additional charge for this service.


Technical and Design

Do You Add a Hyperlinked Table of Contents to My eBook?

Yes. As a matter of fact, we add two (three for EPUB3!). One Table of Contents is called the “HTML TOC” that is inserted into the body of the eBook. When you click on the links, it goes to the appropriate section of your eBook. The other Table of Contents is called the “Meta TOC” (or the NCX, if you want to get technical) that is the Table of Contents that usually gets pulled up by a button or user action on the eReading device. We are happy to tailor these Tables of Contents to suit your needs. Please see our blog for more details on Tables of Contents.

Why Does My Print Book Not Look Like My eBook?

Since eBooks have reflowable content to accommodate a wide range of devices and apps, page and line breaks can occur at varying places. Pagination depends on user-defined settings (e.g., font size, line spacing, etc.) and the size of the eReading device, so the number of pages will vary for every reader. Including page numbers in an eBook is not allowed per most online retailer guidelines.

Can You Add Images to My eBook?

Absolutely. You are welcome to send them in any size. Typically, we optimize the file size and dimensions for the eBook and print edition. This is important to ensure that your eBook file size remains small. Having a large file size means the eBook distributors, notably Amazon, charge more for each eBook sold—costing you money. Please ensure that you have the commercial rights to distribute all your images. For more details on images in your eBook and minimizing the size of your eBook, please consult this blog post.

How Do You Make Your eBooks?

We use a combination of proprietary and open source software to design professional eBooks and print editions. This includes Word for the initial pre-processing, Notepad++ for HTML/CSS coding, and some PHP and JavaScript/jQuery code that we wrote to help package the eBooks correctly with all the metadata. We do not use software that will add unwanted metadata or make unauthorized changes to your eBook. Everything is built from the ground up.

What Are the Specs on Cover Images?

Please see our Publishing page for more details on cover image specifications. If you send us the highest-resolution image you have, we can resize and embed this in the eBooks for you. 1600x2500px will work okay to upload to most online retailers for eBooks. BB eBooks unfortunately cannot help with laying out covers for print editions.

Does BB eBooks Produce Fixed-Layout eBooks?

Yes. However, we can only provide Fixed-Layout eBooks for children’s and comic books. Additionally, they are only reliably supported at Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes. Please feel free to contact us to discuss Fixed-Layout eBooks.

Does BB eBooks Create EPUB3 eBooks?

Yes, and we can do so at no additional cost. However, we recommend going with EPUB2, since EPUB3 is still poorly supported on a number of reading devices and apps. The benefits of using EPUB3 over EPUB2 are negligible, except for Fixed-Layout, which requires EPUB3.

For the eBooks, Do You Add Scene Breaks, Chapter Ornaments, etc.?

Yes. We’re happy to come up with a design suitable for your book and genre. You can see some examples on our Samples page.

Can BB eBooks Embed Fonts in eBooks?

Yes. We typically pick out open-license, genre-specific fonts for each of our clients to embed. If you would like to embed a commercial font, please ensure you purchase the appropriate license. Please note that for eBooks, many reading systems allow the reader to override the embedded fonts to show their preferred font (Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and others). Please feel free to read more about the technicalities of embedding fonts on our blog.

Do You Need to Know If My Print Interior Is White or Cream?

No. The PDF interior will always appear white in the PDF format, but the print edition will be white or cream depending on which type of paper you select at CreateSpace or Lightning Source. Please note your cover designer will need to know the paper type for the spine width dimensions since white and cream paper has different thicknesses.

What Is the Page Count for My Print Edition?

We’ll let you know. Cover designers need to know the page count and paper type (e.g., white, cream) to make the spine on the print edition’s cover. Unfortunately, BB eBooks cannot provide the page count until the print edition interior is finalized. This is because there are a large number of factors that will cause the page count to change (including many of your own personal preferences). A rough guide to page counts is available on our blog. Once the print interior is finalized, we’ll be certain to let you know and it will be indicated on your BB Client account if you need for future reference.

What Trim Size Should I Use for My Print Edition?

It depends. BB eBooks is more than happy to provide you a print edition at any trim size you like. The four most common trim sizes are 5x8”, 5.25x8”, 5.5x8.5”, and 6x9”. For those metric system folks not familiar with inches, 1 inch = 25.4 mm. Lightning Source and CreateSpace both use inches as the standard measurement. Please give the trim size careful consideration. It is a very important part of your brand, and you do not want to change trim sizes for the same books within a series—your books would stack very awkwardly on a reader’s book shelf! BB eBooks has the following recommendations for trim size depending on the genre and word count. Please note these are only recommendations:

  • 5x8”: genre novels/novellas < 60k words, all YA books (any word count)
  • 5.25x8”: genre novels 60k–80k words
  • 5.5x8.5”: genre novels 80k–120k words, literary novels/novellas < 80k words, narrative non-fiction < 80k words
  • 6x9”: genre novels > 120k words, technical books, scholarly/academic non-fiction, fantasy/high fantasy/space opera > 80k words, literary novels/novellas > 80k words, narrative non-fiction > 80k words

How Do I Review My EPUB/MOBI?

We’ll be happy to provide more information about reviewing your eBooks when they are ready, but we recommend the following programs. There are more details about reviewing eBooks in the Publishing tutorial. All of them are free for both PC and Mac: