Thurs. 20th October 2010
I was chatting with my daughter Theresa about her daughter Amber’s progress at her new school . Theresa told me that Amber has the opportunity to participate in a Duke of Edinburgh or Outward Bound Course. I said “That is absolutely wonderful” because for me in 1969 Outward Bound Mountain School course U42 was a life changing event. It instilled in me a tenacious can-do attitude. On hearing this, Theresa remarked ” I never knew that you went to Outward Bound”. After this remark had sunk in, I decided that I should write my biography, perchance that my children and their descendants might some day be interested, and want to know more.
This gave rise to an interest in creating my own eBooks.
I am writing this because it may help others and save them a huge amount of time trying to create an e Book from the collection of .pdf files they own. I have accumulated a collection of my Christmas letters that I have regularly written to family and friends at Christmas since 1993. Many of these were in hard copy only format therefore could not be easily be joined to form an e Book . However after much trial and lots of failures I found a way to do this quite easily. 🙂
First let me explain a few things you might find useful to know. There are two forms of eBook ones created and published as .pdf file. These have the advantage of being readable on any of the popular computers and mobile devices with either Adobe Reader or similar .pdf reader. The second type are those formats which are compatible only with specific platforms PC Windows, Mac, Kindle, iBook etc. and may require a specific reader to view them
The collection of letters that I wanted to include were a mixture of hard copies and text files with graphics. My first task was to get all of these into a common format. I chose .pdf seemed for my first attempt. You need a .pdf creation tool which when installed on your computer becomes a virtual printer which you may select from you printer options ( “If you can Print it you can .pdf it!” ). An alternate method is that many word processors such as Word and Open Office now include in their save as options “Save as .pdf” so you can create a .pdf directly from the word processor. Now this works fine IF you are able to compile the whole book in the work processor as on completion of editing and inserting graphics and hyperlinks you simply save as — .pdf and your ready to distribute your book.
However, if like me you have several separate .pdf files then you need to find a way to combine them into a single file. This is where the trail and error bit came in. There are several .pdf merge offerings on the web some software some on-line. Since my collection exceeded the capacity of the on-line services that I found. I began trying various trial versions of software. All had limitations on the number of files allowed or would not accept certain of my files. I eventually stumbled on PDFill and its associated PDF Free Tools.
Here’s how to find the “Free Tools” that you will need to merge your .pdf collection.
Having downloaded and installed PDFill and opened the program you will see in the header next to the Help tab “TOOLS” click on this and the menu will open and select the 3 rd item “PDF Tools” which will open a dialogue box to Merge your files select #1 ” Merge PDF Files” this will open another box now add the files you want to merge and follow the instructions 🙂
OK so you want to publish your book to the other formats .exe included. To do this there are several options for you to choose. You will be working now with text files and HTML files etc. and you will need available software to compile your book. I have not yet worked in this format but have looked at various programs which would enable me to publish my biography.
Here is a short list of good prospects:
- Jutoh -Jutoh looks to be a very complete package it even includes a cover creator function
- Active E Book – Active E Book the GUI is messy and I see no cover tool
- KeeBook Creator
KeeBook creator is a whizzy. Web Book creator is all WYSYG. Meaning that you simply drag your individual text files pictures etc. onto a page in the book. Here is how it works. Open a new book drag the documents onto the first page to create a list of contents (you can change the order if needed ) as you drag and drop the files the book pages are created for you. It is claimed to compact book files so as to be sent as email attachments. Down side is that unlike the other two Jutoh is not free @ $40 but I am sure you will have more fun with this one 🙂
If you would like to take a look at my first .pdf e Book ” Christmas’s Past ” here is a link to my Dropbox – Public files http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3838208/Christmas%27s%20Past%20book%201993%20-2011.pdf