Every course creator should offer ebooks as part of their online courses to supplement learning. Since creators are well-established experts in the field, sharing an ebook with your learners adds credibility to your expertise, and adds oodles of value in the online courses as it allows learners to engage with your brand and learn beyond your online academy. Additionally, well written ebooks can also be used as a hook to bring more traffic to your online academy besides publishing on various ebook marketplaces to add to your income.
Technology today allows anyone to create their own ebooks. There are several free, freemium and paid tools available that allow you to create your own ebooks, create content or improve content for the ebooks. Here's a look at some of the tools and formats that can be used to create an ebook.
The most well-known of the lot that is being used by most ebook creators. PDF or Portable Document Format is best for ebooks that will be consumed on a computer-based device. Since your customer is using their devices to reach out to your academy for the online course PDF is highly suitable for this ebook activity.
This format was primarily designed for Amazon Kindle devices and course creators, it might be suitable for a few as such a file type can be opened on Smartphones, Tablets and Computers.
EPUB or Electronic Publication is the more flexible file format for an ebook by using EPUB the content can adapt to various smartphones and tablets, allowing the content to move from different pages depending on the size of the device the learner is using. These are preferred when the reader is using a device with a smaller form factor. Therefore being great for smartphones.
Some of the great ebook libraries like Apple Books, Amazon Kindle and Google Books prefer this format as mostly all formatting software support this.
ODF stands for Open Document Format is the format which is quite similar to the Microsoft Office as a software. This format is not highly recommended as Microsoft Office is the most preferred software in the industry, thereby creating a larger reach.
This is the newest of all the formats being listed out. This is another format after AZW that has been created for Kindle readers. As you can imagine, if your course takers are well-read, it won’t be wrong to say that quite a lot of them use Kindle read ebooks. So formatting your ebook into Mobi can be beneficial to reach a wider audience. This way you will not only target the course takers, but can even take a chunk from the traditional Kindle readers community.
Although all these formats are great, depending on which platform you are creating an ebook for, the tools to be used will differ. However, the most robust and the easiest to create and use is a PDF. Since customers can use any device to access your academy and learn from it, a PDF format is highly recommended due to its universal applicability.
Best tools in the business
With the format decided, it's the time to get to work. To begin our ebook, we must use some of the great tools that are available including paid or free.
Microsoft Word has been the most well-known tool in the list. It might not be free but is quite a great tool in the premium-entry level range. Since most of us have the entire Microsoft Office Suite pre-installed or purchased, Word should be on top of the list to create your ebook to supplement your online course.
The greatest strength of Word is its familiarity and ease of use along with the trust that most people have on this software. Since Microsoft Word doesn’t support PDF as a format, this becomes its biggest weakness.
However, it isn’t all bad news, as some of the biggest ebook platforms automatically format Word Documents accordingly.
Microsoft Word has been the most well-known tool in the list. It might not be free but is quite a great tool in the premium-entry level range. Since most of us have the entire Microsoft Office Suite pre-installed or purchased, Word should be on top of the list to create your ebook to supplement your online course. The greatest strength of Word is its familiarity and ease of use along with the trust that most people have on this software. Since Microsoft Word doesn’t support PDF as a format, this becomes its biggest weakness. However, it isn’t all bad news, as some of the biggest ebook platforms automatically format Word Documents accordingly.
Creating ebooks is super easy with PowerPoint. With pre-designed templates, you can get your ebook up and ready to be downloaded in no time.
This is the Microsoft Word equivalent for someone who uses Apple products. Since it is pre-installed on most of the IOS and Mac devices it becomes a great option to create your ebook to supplement your online course. So the limitations of Word and PowerPoint are well-taken care of in Pages. Pages support 2 of the best formats that we discussed in the format list above: ePub and PDF.
Pages has been one of the most successful tools in the Apple iWork productivity suite making it a great choice for ebook creators in Apple interface.
Another tool for Mac users, Vellum is the exclusive premium offering for the users in Apple interface. Some great ebook authors swear by Vellum for its robust set of features and productivity that it offers. Vellum supports EPUB to export manuscript and will format the PDF on its own. While you can use Vellum for free, but to use the export feature you will have to part away with your money.
So the first software that is not dedicated to the creation of an ebook. Calibre is an ebook management software whose superpower lies in converting formats for PDF, ePub and Mobi.
While we do agree Calibre looks and feels a bit dated but is surely a great tool to use if converting the format is your deed. So if you are someone who created their ebook with Microsoft’s product, Calibre can help to convert your manuscript to ePub or Mobi. And the best thing it is free! Plus, if you are running behind in your ebook creation, Calibre can be a great friend to lend a hand in organizing and managing the content you created for your ebook.
This is the holy grail of creating an ebook is the task in your hand. The granddaddy of all the creating tools in this list. With its advance features, Adobe allows you to create your ebook to supplement your online course. It does require a bit of an effort and concentration to get a hang of the features on this product.
Though the software isn’t beginner-friendly but with some nudging, you will get a hang for this and mind you, there won’t be anything else you’ll love more than this.
The product is quite premium in its feature set and price but will be worth the investment.
Google Docs is a free tool that we not only recommend to create ebooks but to curate your entire online course scripts and content. It is just the tool to use if you want to create content the way you could while using Microsoft Word, so in that case, Docs is your best bet since it is a great tool for someone who is a beginner but wants to create content and save it on the cloud for easy access from anywhere and any device. It allows for collaboration, track changes, save in multiple formats and much more. Even has a few templates that can be used for a quick design fix.
Canva Ebook Maker
→ The best one in the list and absolutely super simple to use!
This is the tool for someone who wants something exclusive and built for the purpose to curate content for an ebook. Canvas has some of the best templates available into the software itself making it a great choice for someone who wants to work on ‘design’ as an aspect for their ebook. Canvas is purpose-built to create ebooks and with its free price tag, it is a great tool for the creators who want customizations and an easy user interface to work on.
The newest kid on the block Kindle create might look rookie but it isn’t. With its availability on Mac and Windows, Kindle Create is a great tool for someone who wants to reach out to the large audience available at Kindle. It’s quite similar to Vellum as you’ll have to create the manuscript first and then get to formatting.
Small SEO Tools
This is one of the great online tool which we at Knorish use too. Small SEO tools is a great application that can be used to check plagiarism is the content that you have created for your ebook. The ease of use to copy and paste the content into the space provided makes it an ideal tool for someone who creates content taking inspiration for information on the internet.
The limit to check 1000 words at a time is a bit of a hassle but the reliability and the easy to use interface makes it a perfect tool for content creators.
Need help with Grammar or quality check?
Grammarly to the rescue! One of the best tools that can be used to check content quality and grammar. As the name suggests, Grammarly enables you to improve your writing skills while the software corrects your grammar and spelling mistakes. The software even helps in correcting the sentence structure, typos and misused words. Even the Free version can suffice the needs of a creator to improve the content piece.
Need mass distribution ability to share your ebook with your learners?
While you could add it in the course content itself, however, if you need an emailing solution, Mailchimp comes to aid! Since the freemium tool can be easily integrated in to your Knorish site, the tool can then be used to mass email all your learners or site visitors as a method to aid learning or bring prospective customers back to your site!
By using the perfect blend out of these tools to create your ebook to supplement your online course, you can have the perfect ebook which will not only help you to generate leads but will be a great value addition for your learners as well.