How to format a workbook for epub?

I have a PDF that includes several pages meant to be printed out. They are fill in the blank workbook style. There are enough of these workbook pages that they can’t be excluded from the book.

I’d like to convert the PDF to epub but I don’t see a way to do it since the epub (Kindle, iBooks, Nook) can’t be printed out. Meaning, the workbook sheets can’t be printed. Does any one have a suggestion for this scenario?

Upload them to the web and put links in the ebook for people to download?

I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to do.

Any program that will convert PDF to epub format should be able to handle the file: the converter doesn’t care that the pages are mostly blank. You may not like the result, but the conversion should work fine.

If the issue is that the book won’t make sense without the workbook component, one alternative would be to have a support web site where the content is available via browser, allowing the user to print whatever elements they like. There are also a number of cloud printing services available, whereby you can send a document from a tablet to the nearest FedEx Office location or something like that.


@Briar: As stated in the OP, if the workbook pages are removed, there is only a few pages of content (~13 pages). That isn’t enough to upload to Amazon, iBooks, etc and distribute for a fee.

What you are recommending was my initial thinking on this. But who will buy a 13 page book that links to a PDF? There is value in the workbook pages but I see people leaving one star reviews because what they purchased was only 13 pages with a link. They’ll disregard the value of the workbook because it isn’t in the book they purchased.


Why would anyone want to do that unless one star reviews are the goal? I can put the content into Pages or Calibre and produce an epub. Producing an epub isn’t the problem. Formatting of the workbook pages is. BTW, Amazons convert from PDF to epub is terrible in most cases.

You’ve made the same suggestion as Briar about linking to the PDF. I’m considering doing that and beefing up the epub a little. This way, there is more in their immediate purchase.

For the website link to the PDF, do you guys think it should be password protected? My concern there is putting up barriers and making it a little more difficult to access for paying customers. Only people with the link (book buyers) will know how to access the PDF. Of course, they can share the link without my knowing it.

Because ePubs are flexible to each user’s viewing preferences, you clearly have a problem with the worksheets. Would it be possible to add the worksheets as a series of graphics (screen grabs) in the ePub so that purchasers get more with the initial download (even if the images can’t be printed) and then offer them links to download the original PDF files?

As you say, if you password protect the PDFs, you can’t stop people sharing the password/the PDFs themselves. A password is a minor deterrent which might inconvenience purchasers.

I think the graphics are a great idea plus the link. And I agree the password is probably no good. Like you said, if people share the link, they’ll certainly share the password.

I have a followup question: is there a recommended height for the graphics so they don’t break apart and wrap to the next page? Or will they remain on one page and just downsize to fit?

That’s something I don’t know, I’m afraid. Hopefully someone else will be able to help.

I think, beyond the technical issues, that the key here is going to be managing customer expectations. Even if the workbook pages are included in the epub, they won’t be very useful unless users can print (or otherwise “write” on) them easily. Unless people know what to expect, you’ll get just as many 1-star reviews for an e-book full of mostly blank image pages as you will for one with only 13 pages.

It’s hard to offer useful suggestions without knowing more about your audience, but maybe a straight e-book conversion is not the best approach for this. What about an interactive app, for instance?