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How Do I Convert a Pdf File To an EPub File?

I’ve been tasked with turning several works into ePub files. Most of the original files are documents that can be edited before publishing, but one of them is a pdf file (apparently the original document was lost). I tried copy and pasting from the pdf file into a Pages document, but the result was a formatting nightmare.

Is there a way to convert the pdf directly to an ePub and thus preserve the formatting? The export menu in Preview does not seem to have this option like Pages does.

I know there are online convertors (that may or may not work), but I’m not comfortable sending this person’s intellectual property through a 3rd party website.

Comments: 3 Responses to “How Do I Convert a Pdf File To an EPub File?”

    2 years ago

    It is a shame that the source document is lost. That’s what you really need. But the PDF is at least better than if all you had was a printed document.

    ePub documents are text with formatting, whereas PDFs are page layout documents. You can’t “convert the formatting” because ePub doesn’t support that type of formatting (layout, I presume).

    The only way to do it, really, is to copy and paste the text and then deal with the formatting by brute-force. Hopefully you can identify some areas where you can use search-and-replace to fix some things. But otherwise it will take work and time.

    Preview doesn’t have the same export options as a Pages because Pages is dealing with source documents and PDFs are not source documents. They are digital printouts.

    So you can work at it. You can maybe outsource the work. You can maybe declare it “not worth the effort” or something like that. After all, if the goal is to have something that looks like the original PDF, then you have that — the PDF. So maybe push back and say that this can’t be easily converted to ePub because we don’t have the source file so you’re best option is to use the PDF.

    2 years ago

    I’ve been dealing with the formatting by brute-force, as you say, for awhile. While it is effective, it is labor intensive, as the document lengthy and complex, with hard page numbers, text boxes, footnotes, etc. That’s why I was hoping for a better option.

    I know that the Books app will accept and open PDF files, but I couldn’t find anywhere that said the Apple Books store accepted PDF format from a seller, which is is my client’s ultimate goal. Is ePub the only accepted file format?

    2 years ago

    Cameron: I’m certain that ePub is not the only accepted format for Apple Books. Many of the books, particularly children’s books and textbooks are in a special format that goes way beyond ePub. ePub is mostly for novels. I believe Apple Books accepts ePub, PDFs and a special IBA (.ibooks) format for advanced documents.

    From To publish your book from iBooks Author, you must first export it as a PDF, text file, EPUB, or .ibooks file.

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