Sunday, December 16, 2007

How to Choose Ebook Compiler Software

With well over one hundred ebook compiler software packages out there today, how do you choose the one that is best for you? The best place to start is to come up with a list of features that are important to you. This will narrow down the choices pretty quickly.

If you don’t know what features to look for in an ebook compiler software package, let me help you out. Here’s what I looked for when I was choosing an ebook compiler software package:

1) Ease of use. In other words, how easy is it to create an ebook with the software? This is critical – especially if you are not technically savvy, or have never “compiled” an ebook before. I tested a number of ebook compiler software packages before making final selection.

Ease of use” was high on my list of criteria, because if I couldn’t figure out how to use the software I could not create my ebook. On that note, if the publisher offers a demo version of the ebook compiler software make sure you download and “test drive” it before you commit to purchasing it.

2) Creates a professional looking ebook. What will your customers think of your ebook’s appearance when it’s done? I’m not talking about the cover, but the look of the ebook’s pages (borders, color scheme, etc. – sometimes referred to as “skins”), the navigation, and what customers will see when they click on your ebook’s icon and it opens up on their screen.

Will your ebook project a professional look, or will it look like it was put together with low budget ebook compiler software? Each ebook compiler software package will have its own look and feel for the ebooks it produces.

Many ebook compiler software sellers even offer free downloads of a “sample” ebook created with their software – make sure to download any samples offered by the ebook compiler software company. Go through the ebook as if you were a customer and ask yourself these questions: Does it look professional? Is it easy to navigate? Chances are you will find the look and feel you like relatively quickly.

3) Has security features. Does the ebook compiler software provide security features that help prevent the theft of your ebook?

Here are a few examples of common ebook security features:

Customers need a pin number, which is usually provided at the time of sale, to open the ebook.

The ebook is “locked” on one system so customers can’t pass it on to their friends, or distribute it on the internet (or begin selling it themselves!)
The customers’ access to the ebook can be deactivated if they request a refund.

The “print” feature can be turned off so customers cannot print out your ebook and then request a refund.

Some ebook compiler software packages allow you to disable the “cut & paste” feature so customers cannot cut and paste the contents of your ebook.

The ebook compiler software packages that do offer the above features usually provide an option that allows you to turn each one “on” or “off”. These security features are examples – some ebook compiler software packages may offer fewer features, and some may offer more.

4) Customer support. This is an important consideration. If you have a question, does the ebook compiler software provide customer support? If so, do they provide it by telephone and email, or just email? Do they have a stated response time (i.e., we try to respond within 24 hours)?

If the ebook compiler software provider you are considering doesn’t mention their customer support policy, email or call them and find out.

5) Fits your budget. As of this writing, most ebook compiler software packages range from about $29 to $97. There are some that cost more and some that are less, but in my experience this seems to be the average price range.

By the way, the highest priced software doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best, nor does the lowest priced software mean it’s of poor quality.

So if you can afford $97 that gives you more software packages to choose from ($97 or less). If you can only afford $50, then you may be a little more limited ($50 or less). Once you’ve figured out what your budget is, apply the other criteria we discussed.

Those are the five features I looked for (and applied) when I was selecting ebook compiler software. Hopefully, you will find these criteria helpful as you shop for an ebook compiler software package.

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