Frequently Asked Questions

Scanning - Self Publishing FAQ

What is scanning and why would I need it?

Scanning is a method of taking a printed document and turning it into a fully editable, electronic text file.  It is useful when the original material is only available in print whether a trade paperback, hard back or printed manuscript.  The process involves creating an image of the text then “reading” the image to identify each of the characters on the page, then creating a text output.  The result is an electronic version of the document much like you would have if you’d started with a wordprocessor.


Why is the scanning “destructive”?

It’s only destructive when scanning a book.  In order to keep the cost as low as possible we remove the spine of the book creating a stack of pages.  If you are starting with a stack of pages, they can be returned unharmed if you wish.  But the book will never be the same.


I need a book scanned but I don’t want it destroyed.  Are there options?

We can help you with this.  There is a non-destructive scanning process available that is used for antique and collectible works.  Contact us for more information on this.


Do you offer scanning as a service apart from creating ebooks?

Yes we do.  We can scan just about anything.  If you have something unusual don’t be afraid to ask.


How accurate is your scanning?

This is a fair question but it’s not simple to answer.  It really depends upon the quality of the print.  Crisp, consistent print will produce a near perfect electronic file.  If the print is dark on one page and thin on another or it has blank spots or ink dots on the page, there will be some problems.  In general, people are amazed at how accurate the scanning is; sometimes we are too.


If I just have you scan my book, what will I need to do to it afterward?

You need to plan on reading through the file.  We NEVER suggest publishing a scanned file without proofreading.  Some people do it but it’s NOT a good idea.


The book I have is in bad shape: pages are falling out, there are dog-ears and pencil marks.  Can this be scanned?

This book might need some special handling that will slightly increase the cost.  It’s best to send the book to us and we’ll tell you if there’s going to be any special concerns.


I have an old manuscript that was printed on a daisy-wheel printer.  Can you scan this?

It depends whether it was printed with proportional type or not.  Some of the old printers allowed the same space for a letter no matter the size.  For instance, an “i” received the same space as a “w”.  In this case the document may require some additional cleanup.  However, the result will still be beneficial.


My document has red ink markups.  Can this be scanned?

If you want to eliminate the red-ink marks we can do so.  We can also eliminate blue pen.  Black ink pen marks cause problems.


How long does it take you to scan a book?

As with everything we do it depends on the backlog at the time when your book arrives.  But you can safely expect to receive your electronic file within 20 business days of our receipt of your book, document or whatever you are sending.  We try to do it faster if possible.


Can I pay you to clean up the document?

Yes you can.  We have a service called super-scan where we clean the document after scanning it just like we do when we are making the ebook.  You can request this service at the time of order.  You’ll still want to read through the document but the clean-up will be minimal.


What are common problems with scanning?

The biggest problems relate to printing issues: Bleeding letters that touch each other, ink dots on the page and faded or missing print.


Can you scan documents written in languages other than English?

Absolutely.  Just don’t ask us to proofread them.


My document has hand-written notations.  Will this interfere with scanning?

If the writing intersects with the text it may cause a problem.  If it’s blue or red we can eliminate it.  If the writing is in black ink it will result in a misread where it covers a letter.  If it’s in the margins, we can probably eliminate it.


eBook Creation

Why would I use eBook Prep to make my ebooks when I can do it myself?

There are lots of things you can do for yourself.  The question is: What’s the best use of your time and talent?

While making an ebook may appear simple in theory, the details that make a book look spectacular and technically functional can be quite frustrating.  Just like you wouldn’t serve a gourmet meal on a paper plate, your book deserves a quality presentation and so do your readers.  Quality work and a quality presentation sell the next book.


Do you create ebooks for non-fiction titles?

Yes.  We prepare books for all sorts of non-fiction applications including educational, medical and a variety of other genres.  Non-fiction titles are quoted on a project basis.  Contact us for instructions to submit your non-fiction project.


Can I edit my book after scanning and before you create the ebook file?

We always give you the opportunity to review, edit and approve the file before we create the final ebook.



How do I get a cover for my book?

You need to engage a cover designer for this purpose.  You’ll need to provide information about the characters and setting and possible images.  The cover designer will make the cover and deliver it to you electronically.  You’ll need to provide this file to eBook Prep before your book can be completed.


Publishing Your Book

How do I publish my book?

Many resellers allow authors to self-publish through their websites.  Once you have an epub file created you can upload the file to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and services like Smashwords.

You may choose to contact a next generation publisher such as ePublishing Works regarding a publishing agreement.  There is a submission and approval process.
You might consider a vanity press such as Book Baby who will publish your book for a fee.


Non-Fiction & Special Features

Can I add a video clip to my book?

Yes, you certainly can.  You might consider a short message to the reader about writing the book.  It’s a nice way to engage personally with your readers.

Non-fiction books can use video clips for instructional or illustrative purposes.  Video clips can be embedded in the book file or they can reside on a server such as You Tube.  In the case of the latter, the reader must have an active internet connection.  Also, it’s very easy to update the content when the videos are on a server.


Can I include links to sites I don’t control?

Yes.  However, it’s not a good idea to link to things you can’t control.