How It Works


Do I need to set up a separate ISBN for every different ebook format?

The purist approach is yes however there is no common agreement amongst the larger publishers. The Factory position is to use the same ISBN. The reason being that mobi files are only produced for the Amazon Kindle which is a closed system. Amazon themselves do not use ISBNs. However, separate ISBNs must be used for multiple versions of enhanced or fixed layout ebooks that are being sent to different vendors or for ‘sample’ ebooks.

Business models

What business model does Faber Factory operate?

Factory operates what is commonly referred to as the hybrid pricing model, which means that the publisher sets the customer price for titles in Apple’s iBookstore and supplies all other retailers on traditional reseller (‘wholesale’) terms. This hybrid model is commonly adopted by publishers in the US and also by some in the UK.

Unlike the reseller model – where the publisher sells to the wholesaler/retailer at agreed discount terms off the publishers suggested digital list price and the wholesaler/retailer sets the price to the consumer – the agency model has the publisher setting the consumer price.

File: Formats

What file formats do you work with?

Factory accepts and distributes ebook files in the following industry standard formats:

ePub – reflowable format used for Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Google and most other vendors.

mobi/prc – very similar to ePub; this is Kindle’s proprietary format. The most recent version of Amazon’s file software is KF8. We can accept standard mobi/prc files or mobi/prc files created using KF8 software.

Web-ready/web-optimised PDF – adapted from regular print-ready PDF files, can be used for all titles including highly formatted and illustrated titles. Accepted by OverDrive, and many library suppliers.

Fixed Layout files – these are files that are created for titles that are highly illustrated or very dependent on keeping the exact design and layout of the print version (for instance an atlas or a picture book). This type of ebook is possible in these file formats:

Fixed layout ePub – a fixed layout version of ePub, for supply to Apple’s iBookstore, Kobo and Google.

Fixed layout KF8 – Amazon’s equivalent of fixed layout using their new KF8 software, designed mainly for the Kindle Fire and Kindle apps.

What is the difference between XML, HTML and XHTML?

HTML is mainly concerned with display and how content will look when viewed via browser.

XML is about structure and how content is described. It was initially created to help transfer information between different computer systems.

XHTML is also about structure and it also is concerned about how content is displayed. As a stricter form of HTML it is favoured in the world of the web because it provides greater stability across different browsers. ePub is an XHTML-based format.

As the ebook market evolves the focus of publishers increasingly will be on the management of content. To do that a structured approached towards capturing content will be required. Some publishers have chosen to go down an XML route; others have selected an XHTML route.

The point to stress is that publishers will need to start thinking about structuring content prior to or as part of the “typesetting” process, rather than looking to retrospectively create structured content.

Files: Rethinking the order

In what order should material appear within the ebook?

The conventions of print need not apply to digital. At Faber, like other publishers, we have chosen to rethink how material is ordered within an ebook. Copyright information is placed at the back of the book so that it doesn’t clutter the user’s entry into the book. Our recommended order of an ebook is:

Cover Matter:
Cover Image

Front Matter:
Descriptive Blurb
Title Page
Table of Contents

Texts (Part, Chapters etc…)

Back Matter:
Chapter 1 of next book by same author
By the Same Author (with direct links)
About the Author

Files: Limitations and Issues

What important limitations should I be aware of with the (reflowable) ePub and mobi/prc formats?


Managing and maintaining layouts can be a significant issue because ePub (and mobi/prc) is a reflowable format; that’s to say that, unlike a PDF, the page structure is not pre-set and fixed by the publisher.

Consequently publishers and authors need to be aware that they no longer have control over layout.

For poetry publishers this can be problematic.

Editorially you also need to be aware of the impact this will have on the current use of internal referencing.

Tables can be a problem

In ePub/mobi complex tables do not work well. Again this is because ePub (and mobi/prc) is a reflowable format. It’s not a PDF.

The screen size varies between devices, and the type size selected is no longer in the hands of the author/publisher. Depending on the settings selected by the user it is possible that the same text can occupy either 3 or 11 words a line on an e-reader device or tablet. This can have a very undesirable effect upon the presentation of tables, impacting on column alignment and what can be seen on the screen.

You have little control over typeface used

The Kindle offers you the choice of only one typeface. With ePub it depends on the particular device whether there is a range of fonts or not. The iPad offers a wider selection (the default being Palatino) but the consumer decides which font they want to use, not the publisher or author.


Some devices such as the original Kindle e-ink device are monochrome only.  Illustrations and captions do not always stay together; as the text is reflowable there is no control over where the illustration will fall on the screen and whether there is sufficient space to accommodate the caption as well. At the moment these formats are not able to accommodate landscape captions.

The majority of ebook files in the market are reflowable, which means that the text can be resized by the reader and they have more control. However, this does not work for all types of books. When the title is particularly dependent on keeping the same layout as the print version (as it would be with an atlas or a picture book for instance) then a reflowable ebook will not offer a good reading experience.

For titles like these we can produce fixed layout files for you, though these can cost more to create. This is an option that allows the print layout to be recreated almost exactly as the file holds the form like a PDF, which is achieved by making each page an image and inserting tags around it.

This option is supported by certain retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Kobo and Nook. Apple, Kobo and Nook can all support fixed layout ePub files, though each one requires a slightly different version, which can again lead to additional charges for conversion. Amazon supports fixed layout in their KF8 files.

We can also produce web-optimised PDF files for you, which are the favoured format of some library suppliers. These files offer the functionality of a regular PDF file but have linked bookmarks and a lower file size in order to make them more manageable and user-friendly.

If you are interested in producing ebooks of highly-illustrated titles there are several options available and it is probably most useful for us to discuss these with you in relation to your list.


Converting a print index into ePub and mobi/prc format is far from ideal. Currently the approach is to convert print page numbers into sequential numbers, those sequential numbers are then hyperlinked to the top of the equivalent print page. As ePub/mobi is reflowable the index reference itself could end up being several screens away from the top of the equivalent print page which makes navigating to the reference awkward. Some publishers choose to drop the index because of this whilst others decide to live with the weaknesses associated with a converted index.

Special sorts

Non-Latin based languages cannot easily be accommodated at the moment. Mathematics is also problematic (and expensive) to convert.

What can be done about these issues?

At the moment options open to authors/publishers include:

  • rework the text so that it can be presented in reflowable ePub/mobi environment. This is Amazon’s position, which reflects their desire that if a book is to be made available as an ebook it must be presented in a way that enables them to sell it. If this can’t be done it shouldn’t be made available as an ebook.
  • accept this current format/device limitation.
  • look into the options offered by fixed layout formats. The benefit of these files is that you can have a lot more control over how the ebook appears to readers and are able to ensure that the design works as it should. The downside is that not all retailers/devices support these kinds of ebooks and the costs of producing them can sometimes be much higher.

Files: Ebook Conversion Through Faber Factory

I’d like Factory to create my ebook files, what do I need to supply?

We need three files from you.

  • Print-ready PDF – that is the file you would supply to the printer to manufacture the book.
  • A high resolution (RGB) jpg of the front cover – this will be used in the ebook, and will also appear on retailer web sites. This needs to be at least 1400 pixels wide.
  • Word or Open Office file containing text for the copyright page – assuming that the copyright information from the PDF relates to the print edition then you will need to supply the text for a new copyright page.

If you are supplying files for conversion then the text PDF, copyright page and cover should contain the title and ePub ISBN.

For example:

  • Loftus Road is the theatre of broken dreams 9781234567890.pdf
  • Loftus Road is the theatre of broken dreams 9781234567890.doc
  • Loftus Road is the theatre of broken dreams 9781234567890.jpg

How do I supply files to Factory?

Our preferred way to receive files for conversion is via FTP (file transfer protocol). Publishers who join Factory will receive log-in details to an FTP site. We recommend that you download the free ftp software Filezilla: We have found that using this software makes our ftp lives a lot easier.

How much will the conversion cost?

Each title is individually assessed so the costs of conversion will vary depending on the length and complexity of the book. Due to our established relationships with conversion houses we have negotiated competitive rates for file creation. If you are interested we can send you a rate card with prices.

After sending us print-ready files you will receive a work order with the cost of conversion for approval. If you decide not to proceed you will not be charged.

How long will the conversion take?

The time required for conversion depends on the complexity of the file. Most files are delivered within 2 to 3 weeks, but more complex files can take longer.

Will I get to check the ebook files after conversion?

You will be provided with all your ebook files for review before they are distributed to retailers. If any changes or corrections are needed we will liaise with the conversion house to have the files amended.

Please see Files: Checks and Validation

Can Factory help me with the conversion of fixed-format or enhanced files?

Yes, we work with conversion houses who can create fixed-format or enhanced files. You will be sent a work order for approval as normal. Please contact your Account Executive for more details.

Files: Supplying Finished Ebooks To Factory

I’d like Faber Factory to distribute finished ebook files, what do I need to supply?

In order to distribute your files we need:

  • complete metadata (sent in advance)
  • validated and correctly named ebook files
  • correctly named hi-res jpeg of cover (RGB and minimum 1400 pixels wide)

The ebook files should be named according to the epub ISBN. For example:

  •  9781234567890.epub
  • or 9781234567890.prc
  • 9781234567890.jpg

How should I send files to Factory?

As with files sent for conversion, our preferred method to receive files is via FTP.

How do I supply fixed-format or enhanced files?

If you are sending enhanced files, please inform your Account Executive when you send the metadata and ebook files so they can correctly set up delivery to specific retailers.

Can I create my own ebook files?

Yes you can but please be aware that if you want to provide files that you have made we are unable to check them for you nor are we able to clean them up if there are any errors.

In creating your own ePub files you need to validate and test those files which you can do here:

You also then need to create files for the Kindle. You can create mobi/prc files from the ePub files you have created using KindleGen – free software from Amazon that you can download here:

If you use this software to create your Kindle files do please check that it’s giving you the results you  require. We have found that it does have its limitations (contents, images and index do not always convert cleanly).

Can I create my ebook files in InDesign?

At the time of writing these FAQs our experience of producing ePub files from InDesign is that they require more work to be done before they will be accepted by retailers. Again, this clean-up service is not one that we offer and before sending us any files for distribution you need to ensure that they pass validation.

If you do create ePub files in InDesign you will also then need to create the files for Kindle. You can either do this via KindleGen conversion (see above) or by using Amazon’s free plug-in for InDesign. This can be downloaded here:

What is Apple’s iBooks Author?

Apple has launched iBooks Author which allows anyone with a certain level of skill to produce highly illustrated ebooks for the iBookstore. You can find out more information here:

Files: Checks and Validation

How do I check my ebook files?

While we recommend that you do check your files using whatever ereading devices are available to you (e.g. iPad, Kobo ereader or NOOK for the ePub file and a Kindle device for the mobi file) we would suggest that you also check your content using the programme Adobe Digital Editions (for ePub) and Kindle Previewer (for mobi).

The reason for this is that with the influx of new devices in the market it can be hard to make sure that your content will appear as you want it to across all of them. Checking ePub files on a device such as an iPad is usually sufficient but for the Kindle edition it can be problematic to only check it on one of their many devices, particularly if you have an older model. Using Kindle Previewer however you can change the setting so that you can see exactly how it will appear on each of their devices, from the original Kindle to the Fire device to the app for iPad.

These programmes can be downloaded here:

Adobe Digital Editions:

Kindle Previewer:

What should I check my ebook for?

Here is a list of checks that we recommend you make to converted ebooks. It is your publishing decision as to how much time and energy you wish to spend checking ebooks:

  • Hyperlinks – are they all present and do they all work?
  • Special sorts – are these all displaying correctly?
  • Typos – in text that has been re-keyed (e.g. top-level author and title name, main table of contents, picture captions, chapter numbers) be on the look-out for errors and/or inconsistent capitalization.
  • Layout and formatting – e-text is mutable, and we have much less control over the way it appears than we do with a static, printed page. However, please check those pages and features where layout is crucial – e.g. epigraphs and dedications, poetry, tables, charts and figures.
  • Integrated artwork/images – do images display well, and are they in the correct position?
  • Re-run text – where text reflows, has it caused problems (e.g. hard hyphens retained)?
  • Prelims/endmatter – are these all present, in the correct order (including cover/jacket image), and worded correctly in the main table of contents?
  • Cover/jacket – check the latest version was supplied and that there are no typos

What is ePub validation? And how do I validate ePub files which I have produced?

The International Digital Book Forum has established validation rules for epubs to ensure they adhere to industry-standard file requirements.  Files that fail to validate will be rejected by retailers.

A very useful site to use for validating ePub files is:

You can upload your files and it quickly validates the ePub file for you.

A note on validation: once you open an ePub file using iTunes, the metadata of that file is amended by iTunes which means that file no longer validates and cannot be supplied to other retailers. If you wish to check a file on an iPhone or iPad then check a copy of the file rather than the original.

Files: Revisions

Can I update ebook files that have already been distributed to retailers?

Yes we can distribute revised ebook files to retailers.

My ebook files were converted through Faber Factory. How do I get revisions made?

If any changes to existing files are needed please contact the Conversions Team, who will arrange for the conversion house to update the ebooks. Depending on the complexity and time required for the updates you may be charged for corrections, but this will usually be less expensive than converting the files over again.

How do I send updated files that I supplied to Factory for distribution?

If you’ve made your own corrections to your ebook files, please drop them on ftp and contact your Account Executive so they can re-distribute the revised files.


What is metadata?

Metadata is the life blood of the ebook market and without it your ebooks are just a digital format on a server. In the context of ebooks, metadata is information about the book itself. The sort of information it covers include the title, author, price (inc VAT), ISBNs, a short description about the book, author biography, BIC categories, territorial information.

What do I need to do about metadata?

Good quality metadata is very important. Once you join Factory we will provide advice and guidance on how to approach metadata for ebooks.

How do I supply metadata? And How do I go about making changes to the metadata such as prices?

We will provide you with an Excel spreadsheet template to fill in with your books’ details. We ask you to then upload the metadata spreadsheet through a web-based Validator which will check your sheet and flag up any errors to be corrected before it is delivered to the Factory team and uploaded to our distribution system.

When do I need to deliver metadata?

Good practice is to send in metadata at least 8 weeks in advance of publication date. Increasingly, this is becoming a retailer requirement, too. There are benefits to getting your metadata in early: retailers have advanced notice of forthcoming titles and it helps getting titles into promotion.

Our company uses a bibliographic database that can produce ONIX. Can Factory accept metadata that way?

Our preferred method of metadata supply is still the Excel template, but in some cases we are able to accept metadata via ONIX. Because each ONIX provider and system has slight variations it can take several weeks to customise feeds to meet our system’s specifications. Please speak to your Account Executive if you want to investigate this further.

Rights, Territory and Infringements

How can I ensure ebooks aren't sold in certain territories?

The answer to this is in the metadata – you state which territories your book can be sold in and this is passed on to aggregators and retailers –

What should I do if there are territorial infringements by another publisher or if the retailer is not adhering to my title’s territorial restrictions?

If another publisher is selling the same title in a territory which you have the rights for then you should contact the publisher directly and ask them to withdraw the title from sale in that territory. However if a retailer is selling one of your titles in a territory where you do not have the rights you should notify us via your Account Executive and we will follow up with the aggregator or retailer.

I can see one of my titles for sale on but I don’t have US rights. Does this mean I’m in breach of territorial rights?

No it doesn’t. You can buy titles from from outside of the US. Amazon identifies which region customers are accessing from and will only display titles they are entitled to purchase.

Do I need to clear rights for use of illustrations within the ebook?

Illustrations have copyright holders and in your dealings with them you should be looking to secure rights for the work rather than a particular format. In dealing with copyright holders it is worth considering that evidence to date suggests that ebook sales are substitutional rather than additional.


What should I do if I notice my ebooks being offered illegally?

We recommend either using the PA’s Copyright Infringement Portal or Digimarc Guardian.

1)     PA’s Copyright Infringement Portal  is free to PA members or if you are a member of the IPG you can get a 60% discount.  There are three main elements to the portal which offer users the ability to:

  • Detect infringements via CIPSearch, RSS Feeds or Find Infringements facilities or enter infringing URLs manually.
  • Verify the infringements, a manual process by the publisher or user.
  • Serve a notice to request the removal of the infringement.

More information can be found at

2)     Digimarc Guardian is a piracy prevention service which has a special member offer to IPG and Factory publishers.  The key benefits of the service include proactively finding and taking down pirated content, delivers coverage on a flexible basis and so can accommodate few to large numbers of titles, provides a portal to be able to view piracy and protection.  More details about the programme options are available to Factory publishers.