What it costs to create an ebook depends on what type of file you are starting with, and what type of result you are seeking. Ebooks can start out as a printed book or be created only as an ebook. Some strategies include converting the file for use only on tablets and other strategies aim for all devices—desktops, tablets and mobile phones. For complex books, such as textbooks, these different approaches require different strategies for how tables, sidebars and other features are preserved and presented. In most cases, the goal is to preserve the graphic features and style elements in the print edition, which may require recreating them in a way that looks similar in the ebook editions.
For many books, especially complex books, file preparation is the main costs—not the stage known as conversion. Conversion is relatively easy and mostly automated when a file is very simple or prepared correctly. However, even after a file is converted to ePub, it is normal that some file editing and preview tests and adjustments are necessary to eliminate export code errors.