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Can I create eBooks in Word & what is the benefit?

Posted By : of Data Doctors on July 31, 2003

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I have written a book that I would like to convert to an eBook. I use (Windows) 98 Second Edition and (Microsoft) Word. How do I do this? I want to be able to distribute CDs of this book.


This question was answered on July 31, 2003. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

An eBook is simply an electronic version of a traditional print book that can be read by using a personal computer, a handheld or tablet style eBook 'reader'

The advantages of eBooks include options similar to those of a paper book; readers can bookmark pages, make notes, highlight passages, and save selected text electronically They can also include built-in dictionaries that allow readers to look up definitions for any word as they are reading or change font sizes and styles to increase the readability

While traditional book worms scoff at the thought of ‘curling up to a good eBook’, other non-leisure uses such as interacting with technical and medical writings are becoming more common.

The Association of American Publishers, Inc estimates that by 2005, eBooks will account for almost 10% of the total consumer publishing market

The devices used to read eBooks include Palm and PocketPC based handhelds, a slew of proprietary eBook handhelds, Tablet PCs and traditional computers

The eBook format got its first big thrust in March of 2000 when Simon & Schuster released Stephen King’s “Ride the Bullet” as an eBook The 66-page writing cost $2.50 and was downloaded by 400,000 readers in 24 hours.

The promise of the eBook was to reduce printing costs and add functionality to the traditional book experience, but the fear of piracy has helped to keep it from reaching any kind of critical mass.

Your target audience and the device(s) that they will be using to read your work will help you determine the best way to ‘publish’ your eBook.

If you simply want them be able to read your CD-based book on a traditional computer, you don't actually need to create an eBook, since the Microsoft Word document format has become a de facto standard on virtually every computing platform.

If you want to protect your writings as well as provide the eBook enhancements I mentioned earlier, your most likely choice would be to create an eBook in the Microsoft Reader format.

The utilities to create and read eBooks in this format are both free from Microsoft The reader is available at and the add-in tool for Microsoft Word to covert documents into their eBook format is available at

There are several other eBook formats including those from Adobe and PalmOS, so if you are serious about becoming an eBook publisher, you need to learn more about these other formats.

A couple of helpful sources include, and where you can see a full comparison chart for all of the various formats available as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Although lots of free eBooks are available from lesser known authors, publishers such as Simon & Schuster are among the most aggressive in the eBook market and have an entire eBook section at

Typically the eBooks are less expensive than their printed counterparts, have no shipping charges and can be downloaded in minutes for those that want something to read in a matter of minutes

About the author

of Data Doctors on July 31, 2003

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