How to Make an eBook Using Calibre

On the subject of selling eBooks from your website, in addition to offering them in PDF format, it’s nice to be able to offer your readers books in the formats of their choice, including Mobi and ePub. Apart from the sales point of view, you might simply want to put a book together for your own pleasure – to send to your friends and family just for fun. The way to do this quickly is with the free Calibre software, so I want to show you how easy it is.

I’ve often mentioned what a great little tool Calibre is for us Indie writers. Together with Amazon’s free Kindle for PC downloadable app, Calibre can be a major help in spotting those typos and grammar gremlins in the editing process. Apart from that though, it’s a library in itself, where you can store any digital books that you like. Like those books you’re sent when you win online Rafflecopter giveaways, or books emailed to you by author friends. It’s useful to have them all in one place so that you don’t lose them in the pile of “stuff” that we scribblers tend to build up on our computers, and commit the sin of forgetting to read something you should.

I won’t go into all the fun stuff you can do with Calibre before we make our little book except to mention one fairly important thing, because the manual is very easy to follow, and the programme is easy to use. The one thing is the ease with which calibre converts book formats if they are DRM free. My preferred reading platform is Mobi, so I generally use Calibre to convert ePub books so I can read them the way I like on my Kindle. Even though I do have an ePub reader, I just don’t like it. But I do know that there are others who go the opposite route. That’s readers for you, so it’s nice to have this option. Simply add and select the book you want to change, and convert it from the input format by selecting your chosen output format.

Once you’ve downloaded and installed your Calibre software, you’re ready to start making your eBook. When you open it, it will look like this – obviously without any books in the library other than the quick start manual, which you should have a quick look at – it’s not long. If you really want to explore all Calibre’s capabilities at a later stage there are loads of tutorials online.



We’re going to make a Mobi book now, but you’ll see that there are quite a few output book formats for you to choose from. Before you begin, you’ll need your book cover file, the same size and quality that you would use to load on to Amazon, as well as your Manuscript file, also formatted the way we did for Amazon, and saved as a HTML file to use here as well.

Calibre Save As

Ready? Click on Add Books in the top left hand corner, browse for your manuscript HTML file and load it up. You’ll see the new title in your library now. On the right of the page you’ll see that the current formats are ZIP – this is fine.


Next click on the third button from the left at the top – Convert Books. Here is where you’ll select your output file in the top right hand corner, and browse for and load your cover, as well as fill in Title and Author on the top right hand side.


Next, click on Look and Feel to the left of the page, and decide whether or not you’d like to remove the space between paragraphs, and check or uncheck as you choose. You can play as much as you like with this, generate and delete as many copies as necessary so you end up with an eBook that you’re happy with. You can check out all the other choices with Page Setup and Table of Contents later – this is generally as far as I go because all of my formatting is already in place in my manuscript.


Click the OK button, and you will see a turning circle in the bottom right hand corner of the page. Shortly thereafter, you will see the Mobi format added to ZIP under your book cover image to the right. Click to open, and there you have it! You can open it on your Kindle for PC, or send it to your Kindle, and you have the Mobi file to email to anyone you like.


Play with the various output formats, and with books with images in them. You can publish loads of perfect eBooks straight from your computer, all by yourself.

Should you Sell eBooks from your Website? @JoRobinson176

Many web owners sell books directly, and sometimes exclusively from their sites, collecting one hundred percent of the price via PayPal. If you publish with Amazon KDP Select, this is obviously not allowed – in fact, if your book is with Select, you are only allowed to distribute the digital books through them, and only the selling of your paper books after ordering them from your POD supplier is considered kosher.

If you’re not with KDP Select you can sell them anywhere you like, so the website option then becomes viable, and a very good idea too. As an independent publisher you get to try a variety of avenues for selling and marketing your books. We all know about Smashwords and all the other sites where you can make your books available to buy. It’s quick work to load them up there – although – not such quick work to get them taken down by the way. I unpublished two of mine from Smashwords months ago, and I’m still trying to get Barnes & Noble to remove them from their site so I can enrol them in Select again.

So there are all these options open to you for spreading your books far and wide, but do consider having one or two for sale directly from you. I’m in the process of getting a couple ready for this very thing. Many of us use Me, because the thought of hosting my own website terrifies me, but moving to in the future will be necessary because of Google visibility.

You can’t install a PayPal button and sell your books from, although that needn’t be a hindrance. Why not set up your own website with a link to it in your sidebar? Setting one up is only a little work to begin with, and then occasional updates after that. A nicely designed static website is a great thing to have to use for all your future promotions, sales, new releases, and a great way to showcase yourself and all of your books.

A couple of free website hosts are Weebly, and my favourite, Wix. It shouldn’t take you more than a day to get it looking nice and professional. One little tip though – take your time picking your theme and theme fonts, because once you publish and go live you can’t change those. It’s up to you how much you use your website. You have the option of a blog to go with it, which you can use weekly, bi-weekly (or not at all), and share links to pages from there to all your social networking sites regularly, so it needn’t be something that stagnates. Wix has a lot of really lovely, and easy to use features, and setting up your PayPal button is the work of minutes.

Once you’ve got your book written, proofed, and beautifully formatted, convert it to an eBook format (or a selection of formats, such as PDF, Mobi, and ePub) using free downloadable software such as Calibre. Calibre is a great tool for Indie authors to have, with many useful functions other than book conversion – which is a whole lot more words, and best kept for another day. The important thing is how easy it is to use, with step by step instructions, your books will be ready to sell very quickly. Obviously these books will not be protected from customers emailing copies to their friends, but the same applies to every eBook you ever send as a prize or review copy, so that is a thought – the ever present and growing piracy. The customers who do buy it from your website are unlikely to be buddies with each other though, so you probably won’t lose any sales if they do send it on to their grannies and so on, and pirates prefer not to spend a dime at all mostly.

Whether you write something specifically to sell yourself, or experiment with a book you’ve already written that may not be doing so well, it is always an option for the Indie writer. Some authors are making a lot of money this way, especially those in the health and recipe book sector, so if there is a book lurking in you that would help or add value to readers enough for them to buy straight away, rather than taking the time to look for it online, go for it! I personally can vouch for the quick finger of the impulse buyer, and I can’t think of one bought this way so far that I regret buying, and the more you are spread around, the more visible you will be – always a good thing.


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