Unless you are using Adobe's commercial PDF system ($19.95 vs. $5,000) your PDF can be shared by your customers. Even if you use Acrobat Pro security is marginal at best.
HTML is not rocket science and Word will create the files for you. However, know that using Word to create HTML is not always the cleanest HTML. Still it is likely to be a far smaller file than a PDF.
Since you mentioned color images and that you have a large output file, I'm guessing that you haven't optimized those images. Also, have the images been resized? For example, an image that is 600k can be reduced to 30k without much deterioration. That translates into a file that is 1/20th the size of the original.
Ok, so one advantage is the security aspect of the HTML-based compiled ebooks vs. PDF, right? And you're right, I didn't optimize those images (photos), since the printer needed them at a certain resolution. I'll have to address that.
Somewhere, maybe on this forum, I read about a tool for Word that exports to HTML minus the extra formatting. I downloaded it, but haven't tried it yet. The theory was that "saving as HTML" kept Word formatting in case you imported back into Word. The tool treats it as a "one way trip."
Of course I have no way of knowing if you optimized your images. It's a guess based on your unfamiliarity with HTML since HTML is for web design and those who haven't built web sites are unlikely to be familiar with the process.
You can optimize and still have fairly decent images for printing.
Somewhere I read one ebook author optimized the images contained within the ebook and for those who wanted a higher quality image for printing he linked to a higher quality image stored on his web site.
The problem with large downloads is twofold. First, dialup user (which is still the majority) are less likely to download. Second, the additional bandwidth required is going to cost you that much more.
The second issue brings up two additional issues. First, would it be better to issue your book on a CD instead of a download. Second, the large file size reduces the chances of viral marketing.
The idea of viral marketing is that users can pass the ebook on to friends. Activ e-Book is ideally suited for such an approach because you can control which pages are unlocked or locked. Because of Activ's 1,000 passwords there is a .1% chance that two friends will share the same password (the password is determined by the serial number of the user's hard drive).
I don't have Dreamweaver and can't afford it. Any suggestions for an inexpensive alternative? I only have Word & Publisher at the moment. I like visual/wysiwig approaches, since arranging those visual details is my strength.
There are quite a few HTML editors that might interest you. Google "HTML wysiwyg" or "HTML freeware" and you'll find a variety of editors. It might help to go one layer deeper by googling the name of the editor along with "problem OR complaint." That way you'll find out how happy others have been with the editor.
A while ago I helped a couple of people convert from Word into HTML files
One thing that I noticed is when they resized the image in Word, it didn't actually resize the graphic file, just resized the size it was displayed. For example, they started with a 1000 X 1000 pixel image (or whatever, can't remember the actual numbers), and in Word, they sized it to 100 X 100 pixel image. Word left the 1000 X 1000 image as is, but resized it in the HTML code. This meant their ebook was carrying a massively over large file unnecessarily. This increased their ebook size, and also made their ebook slow to display.
I looked at the HTML code for the IMG tags, saw the final size of the images, and Resample-d them (in some programs it's called Rescale or Scale) so the images in the ebook where the exact size needed. I did this using Corel PhotoPaint, but other programs can do the job too. This produced dramatic savings in file size, and increased the speed of display.
Total time to do this for the images - a few minutes
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