Welcome to Josep Gregori, TeleRead’s  latest contributor! His bio is at the end. Know e-books? Then you, too, may want to write for TeleRead to increase your professional visibility or just for the fun of it. -  D.R.

Edi.cat How to help readers enjoy e-books on many devices—from PDAs to desktops? This quandary can be tough enough at huge publishers like Random House.

But what if instead you’re Bromera, a small publishing company in Spain that publishes in the Catalan language, which is not even understood in all the territories of the country? I’m in charge of e-books at Bromera, and a year ago we thought that a solution might be the proprietary Mobipocket format, customized for so many machines. Bromera joined forces with two other small publishing houses in the Catalan language, Angle and Cossetània, to start an online distributor for e-books in Catalan. In fact, edi.cat was the first online store to offer e-books in that language.

Slowly, edi.cat became aware that ePub, not Mobipocket, was going to be the de facto standard format for e-books even though Kindle could read nonDRMed Mobi. But at first, almost no dedicated e-reader devices supported ePub. It was not until this past summer that—through original firmware or updates—most of the e-readers could handle the format.

Now, edi.cat has to deal with the transformation of MobiPocket files into ePub, and our goal to offer both formats to the public whenever it’s possible.

Unfortunately, we do not have a big demand for e-books in Catalan right now, and no one is reimbursing us for the digitization and conversion costs. Consider, meanwhile, the complexities.

“Automatic” systems like Calibre, mobigen, bookdesigner, etc. aren’t really automatic—they need a heavy revision for styling, etc. after the work has been processed. And Sigil is just great for that. I can still remember when we had to edit the ePub files “by hand”; it was a truly torture. Those tools are terrific for the home user, but a company needs better results.

In my opinion, the future has still to bring us more advanced and professional tools. I believe that the situation has still to evolve a lot until a publisher can just push a button from its design suite (such as InDesign or Quark) and instantly get a reliable, robust and bug-free ePub file. That doesn’t seem the case nowadays; styling results are still poor.

image Realizing how fast the e-book universe has evolved in the last year, however, I know that a lot of surprises await us. Let’s hope the future will bring benefits for everyone—readers and publishers alike.

Bio: Josep holds a bachelor’s degree in Catalan Language and Literature from the Valencia University in Spain. He’s in charge of e-books for the Bromera publishing house. Joseph is a tech freak and loves all kind of gadgets, but still hasn’t made up his mind on what e-reader to buy.


  1. It’s good to read someone from the publishing industry in Spain! Bromera may not be Edicions 62, but it is not small in Catalonia at all.
    I checked their joint e-store a couple of weeks ago, and think it needs a much bigger catalogue. Good start, though!

  2. Good luck on the conversions, but…

    –there’s always a but :]

    It amazes me that publishers work from an InDesign database to make eBooks, instead of the final edited copy in whatever they use for that (Word, XML, HTML, whatever). 80% of the work in InDesign is for things an eBook often doesn’t need, and in truth, often actively doesn’t want.

    Has anyone ever done a hard, bottoms-up look at publishing workflow for eBooks? One of the things that upsets purchasers (like me) is the publisher’s complaint that eBooks are a lot of work and extra expense. They complain they have to hire consultants to make them, when our experience is that most publishers produce lousy eBooks. A lot of users have made good eBooks from personal documents without much brouhaha.

    I know Steve Jordan has said his master is a final edit in .rtf format, which then produces all the other versions of his books. I just looked, his ebooks look the same (or better) as those from large publishers. I’ll bet he doesn’t expend nearly as much effort as a full-up InDesign studio job. I believe he publshes in many formats simultaneously as well.

    There’s a disconnect here.

    Jack Tingle

  3. Thanks for the feedback. It is trully appreciated.

    @Jordi: we’re trying to increase the catalogue day by day.

    @Jack: Thanks for the tip. But we usually work with InDesign from earlier steps of the process. That means that some grammar and spelling corrections are made already on the InDesign document.

    @Raymond: No. I’ll give it a look, but I think that it will make things worse. The hard work from InDesign is re-styling the css file. I don’t know if HTML will do it better, but I doubt it. I’ll give it a try.

  4. Josep, before your ebooks become EPUB, what are they? DOC, RTF, HTML, PDF, or TXT? Do you try converting from those basic formats to EPUB instead? Please let us know what you find works best to change Mobipocket to EPUB, since most of my books are Mobipocket (and I hope they never have to change).

  5. Raymond, before they become EPUB, they are indd, an Adobe InDesign document. As I’ve written, we usually work with InDesign from earlier steps of the process. That means that some grammar and spelling corrections are made already on the InDesign document and so, the doc files are outdated (with typos, etc).

    I’ve come to the firm conclusion that it’s easier to convert EPUB to MOBI than the other way round.

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