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Creating PDF ebooks

Most designers create PDFs for printing. These PDFs contain high-res images and printer’s marks (for cropping, bleed, registration, colour, and page info).

PDF is also used for delivering content to readers as ebooks. The settings for creating PDF ebooks are different to those for creating press-ready PDFs. For instance, the file must be smaller, and exclude printer’s marks.

This is a brief guide to creating basic PDF ebooks. This should take a designer or typesetter about ten minutes. So PDF ebooks can be easily produced at the same time as final, press-ready print PDFs.

Most typesetters will use InDesign and Acrobat Pro for this. So our guidelines speak most to those applications. However, the steps apply to almost any applications for editing source files, exporting to PDF, and editing the resulting PDFs.

Working on the source files

If you’re creating a PDF ebook from a print PDF, skip straight to the next section about working on the PDF. If you’re working on the source files, though, there are a few things you can do in your document before creating the PDF that will make things easier later. … Read more

Working on the PDF

Note: You need a good PDF editor to do this. Most designers and typesetters have Acrobat Pro. If you don’t, but you have a Windows machine, you can do all of these things in Foxit Phantom 2.0, which is very similar to Acrobat Pro, but is cheaper and lighter. It does not have all of Acrobat Pro’s functionality, but it has enough to get this job done. We haven’t tested other PDF editors for Mac, but you could try PDF Studio or Proview. (PDFpen looks interesting, but the sparse features list suggests it’ll fall short.)
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Arthur Attwell last updated 22 April 2010
This information is more than two years old, and may no longer be accurate.