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Glosario y Términos en Edición de Ebooks

Una ayuda para encontrarle sentido al jargón y teminología de ebook publishing

Afiliado – Es la persona que se afilia a un programa de comercialización de publicaciones, como Leon Trading Publishing Program. Los afiliados ganan del 5% al 10% de los ingresos netos de Leon Trading por ventas de publicaciones electrónicas o eBooks. Los Afiliados no son librerías detallistas (retailers). Los afiliados promueven en sus sitios los libros que comercializa Leon Trading, y redirigen a sus visitantes a los sitios web donde pueden completar la compra.

Página del Author – Todo Autor con Leon Trading Publishing tiene su propia Página del Autor, que es una minilibrería con una lista de sus libros, biografía, ligas a social media, imágenes y ligas a sus libros. Si eres un autor, puedes enviar a tus fans a tu Página del Autor. En esta página se muestra también tu actividad y estadísticas, información que no está a la vista para tus fans.

AutoVetter – AutoVetter es una tecnología que examina automáticamente la información que se carga de un ebook y reporta al autor/editor problemas potenciales de formato, que puedan afectar la legibilidad y ocasionar fallos en la diseminación de los libros. La Guía de Estilos contiene información para corrección de los errores indicados por el AutoVetter.

BISAC – BISAC (acrónimo de Book Industry Standards and Communications o Estándares de Comunicación de la Industria Editorial) es el estándar de los códigos. El autor selecciona de una lista las categorías las que considera que correspondan sus títulos y se realiza una búsqueda automática a corresponderlas con los códigos BISAC. Al comunicarle esos códigos a los detallistas y recibir por ejemplo un título con “FIC027120″ les informa que se trata de una obra de  “Ficción Paranormal”. Los BISACs hacen los títulos localizables en las búsquedas por categoría. Se pueden seleccionar categorías por libro. Más sobre el tema en PMF BISG BISAC FAQ.  Click aquí para ver los diferentes códigos BISAC here to view the different BISAC codes.

Bloque de Párrafo – Cuando los párrafos no tienen sangría y están separados por un espacio entre un párrafo y otro, es un Bloque de Párrafo. El método de seoaración de párrafos por bloque es una alternativa de manejo de párrafos. Para crear la separación entre elos, la mejor manera es definir el espaciamiento “posterior” dentro del estilo de párrafo.

Página del Libro – The moment an author or publisher publishes a book at Smashwords, Smashwords automatically generates a custom book page for the book.  The book page showcases the book cover image, the book description, social media links, a shopping cart, and a table of multiple download options.  Book pages also feature reader reviews.  Each book page is cross linked back to the author’s author page, or the publisher’s publisher page.  A book page also provides links to other books by the same author.

Cloud / Nube – This is a fancy term, often used in the context of “in the cloud”  or “cloud computing,” which means simply a service on the Internet where you can store your files and books.  For example, your Smashwords library of purchased books is stored “in the cloud,” meaning somewhere on the Internet, always accessible to you through from anywhere you have Internet access.  Some cloud services, such as Smashwords, give you to option to both store your files in the cloud and download them to your computer at any time.

Copyright – A copyright is the exclusive legal right, usually held by the author or creator of a work, to copy, adapt or distribute their creation.  In some instances a publisher will control it.  In order to publish at Smashwords, the book must contain a valid copyright statement where their author or publisher asserts their right to publish the book at Smashwords.  For a great overview of copyright, and your rights as an author, see this blog post by Victoria Strauss.  Wikipedia has an extensive discussion of copyright here: and a discussion specific to authors’ rights here:’_rights

Download/Upload – Descarga/Carga – To upload a file means that you’re sending a file “up” to a service on the Internet, such as, “you upload a file to Smashwords.”  Download means that you’re pulling a file from an Internet service “down” to up.  So “upload” means to send “up” to somewhere, and “download” means to pull down to you.  If you you’re publishing a book at Smashwords, you upload the book via the “Publish” page, or via your Dashboard’s “upload new version” link.  If you purchase a book from Smashwords, you download it to your computer.

DRM – Stands for Digital Rights Management.  DRM is copy protection technology that makes it difficult for a book customer to print or duplicate an ebook, ostensibly designed to prevent illegal piracy.  While most of us would agree that piracy is bad thing, DRM actually does little to prevent piracy because it’s easy to crack (break) and more worrisome, it harms the ability of law-abiding customers to enjoy a book on multiple devices.  DRM adds unnecessary complexity and expense to books.  Customers don’t want to have to enter passcodes to “unlock” their books, and they don’t want their books tied to a single e-reading device.  Smashwords is a staunch opponent of DRM.  We’re in the business of selling books and making book buyers happy, so we wouldn’t offer our author’s and publisher’s books DRM free if we didn’t believe it helps us sell more books and make customers happy.

Ebook – An ebook is simply a digital book.  Ebooks are books read on screens.  These screens can be a personal computer, a smart phone, or a dedicated e-reading device.

EPUB – EPUB is an open industry standard ebook format.  No single company controls EPUB.  The standard is managed by the IDPF (International Digital Publishing Forum), which collaborates with publishers, distributors, educators and libraries to evolve the standard to make ebooks more accessible to more readers.  All the major ebook retailers sell EPUB ebooks with the exception of Amazon, and most ebook reading devices and mobile phone apps (Stanza, Aldiko) with the exception of the Kindle support it.  To read EPUB files on a personal computer, you can download Adobe Digital Editions, a free ebook-reading app.  EPUB is one of the many formats Smashwords produces.  Smashwords even produces a custom EPUB-compliant file for Sony.

EPUBCHECK – EPUBCHECK is an EPUB validation tool designed to automatically determine if an EPUB file is compliant with the EPUB standard.  Smashwords retailer Apple requires EPUBCHECK compliance on all files.  Multiple factors can cause an EPUB file to fail the validation test.  The most common cause is errant styling instructions hidden in your Microsoft Word source document.  The Smashwords Meatgrinder conversion engine performs a lot of magic behind the scenes to automatically correct many EPUBCHECK errors, though we’re unable to correct them all.  See the Style Guide for tips on how to correct EPUBCHECK errors.  Also see our new EPUBCHECK HELP page.  Prepare to be frustrated.  Mere mortals (i.e. those of us who are not software engineers) are challenged to decipher EPUBCHECK errors.  One sure-fire solution for eliminating EPUBCHECK errors is to reformat your book using the Nuclear Method.  The brave of heart can learn more about EPUB at

FAQ – PMF Stands for “Frequently Asked Questions.”  An FAQ is a collection of common questions and their answers.  This page is the Smashwords FAQ.  By studying all the items on this page, you’ll understand virtually everything there is to know about Smashwords.

First Line Indent – Sangría  – A reader’s eye requires subtle visual cues to help identify where one paragraph ends and the next begins.  The most common cue is the first line paragraph indent, where each new paragraph’s first line is indented, usually between .2 and .5 inches.  To create a proper first line paragraph indent, see the Style Guide.  The most reliable method is to modify the paragraph style in question to define it.  If you open up your paragraph styles, click modify, then click paragraph, then select “special” “first line indent,” then enter .2 for example.  Each version of Word is different.  See the Style Guide for instructions.  NEVER use the TAB key or the space bar to create first line indents.

Formato – Format is both a noun and a verb.  As a noun, it refers to a specific ebook format.  Smashwords produces nine different ebook formats.  Each format is a different type of ebook file, often designed for particular ebook reading device, or a particular style of reading.  For example, PDF is a format, and it’s most commonly used for reading an ebook on your computer.  EPUB is the ebook format used by the iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, the Sony Reader and the Kobo reader.  Our MOBI format is for reading on a Kindle.  As a verb, format is often used in the context of “formatting,” which usually refers to how you prepare and lay out your Microsoft Word source file prior to uploading it to Smashwords for conversion.

Hyperlink – Hiperliga – A hyperlink is a clickable link that takes the reader someplace else.  In an ebook, there are two types of hyperlinks:  1.  An internal hyperlink – points to a destination within the book.  Commonly used in a linked Table of Contents, or with footnotes or end-notes.  2.  External hyperlink – points the reader outside the book, such as to a web site.  An external hyperlink will usually cause the reader’s browser to open a new screen.  To create a hyperlink inside your book, highlight the text you want to hyperlink, then right mouse click, then click hyperlink.  Next, decide if you want an internal link or an external link, and then select that option using the panel Word displays on your left.  If you’re linking externally, all addresses should begin with http://   If you’re linking internally, you’ll link to a bookmark or a heading.  See the Style Guide for more instructions.

Indie Author o Indiautor – Indie stands for “Independent.”  An indie author is someone who has decided to become their own publisher.  The term indie author is often used interchangeably with “self-published author.”  Although the terms essentially mean the same thing, authors who self-identify as foremost as indies are often making a statement that they are self-published by choice, not necessity.  Many indies have turned their back on traditional publishing and decided they no longer aspire for the blessing or validation from an agent or a publisher.  They’re publishing direct to their readers so their readers can decide the value of their work.  Only a few years ago, self-described self-published authors were ridiculed by most corners of the publishing industry.  They were viewed as failures – they were the authors who couldn’t get a traditional publishing deal, or at least so went prevalent conventional thought.  In the last few years, however, the professionalism of self-published authors has increased dramatically, and self-published authors have gained new respect.  Whether you identify yourself as indie or self-published makes no difference.  The distinctions, if they exist at all, are inconsequential.  At Smashwords, we use both terms interchangeably.

Initial Caps/ALL CAPS/lower caps – Capitular Inicial/SOLO ALTAS/bajas – Initial caps refers to sentences or phrases in which the first letter of each word is capitalized, but articles (words like the, this, and) and prepositions (anything a rabbit can do to a tree stump, like under, over, on) are not capitalized unless they’re the first word.  Book titles, author names and publisher names should be initial capped.  So, “The Smashwords Style Guide” is good, but “THE SMASHWORDS STYLE GUIDE” and “the smashwords style guide” are bad.

ISBN – Stands for International Standard Book Number.  It’s one of the least understood terms in publishing.  Some people think it connotes ownership of a book (not true), or protects copyright (not true) or think it lends credibility to your book (not really).  An ISBN is simply a digital identifier that helps supply chain participants (ebook publishers, distributors and retailers) accurately track and identify your book, and communicate about your book. An ISBN is a unique number, and in theory, no two ISBNs should ever be alike.  ISBNs are of primary benefit to retailers, because it allows them to track everything related to your book (metadata, sales, updates) by connecting everything to the book’s ISBN.  Learn more about ISBNs up above in our ISBN FAQ, or in your Dashboard’s ISBN Manager.

LRF – LRF is an older ebook format which was proprietary to Sony, one of the early manufactuers of ebook reading devices.  Sony has since switched over to the open industry standard EPUB format for its newer e-reading devices.  For the benefit of users of Sony’s older devices, Smashwords produces the LRF format.

Mark’s List – Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, maintains a private list of low-cost Smashwords ebook formatters and cover designers.  They’re all independent contractors, not employees of Smashwords.  You hire them to format your book to the specifications of the Smashwords Style Guide, or to design for you a good-looking ebook cover.  If you don’t have the time, patience or skills to do your own formatting or create your own cover, request Mark’s List by sending an email to, and you’ll receive it instantly via autoresponder.

Meatgrinder – Molino de Carne – Meatgrinder is Smashwords’ automated file conversion technology.  Once you upload your Microsoft Word .doc file, formatted to the Style Guide, Meatgrinder takes the file and automatically converts it into nine different ebook formats.  This means that you simply upload one Word .doc to create multiple ebook files, making your book readable on virtually any e-reading device.  Meatgrinder is composed of various virtual “blades,” and each Meatgrinder blade specializes in creating a different ebook format.  Meatgrinder even produces a special custom version of the EPUB file to match Sony’s unique requirements.  Over the last three years, we’ve continually enhanced Meatgrinder to produce better quality ebook files.  Today, if you format your book to the Style Guide, your Smashwords ebook can look as good or better than the ebook files produced by some traditional publishers, and it usually looks much better than files produced by other automated conversion options. The advantage of our Meatgrinder technology is that it’s fast, reliable, predictable and free.  The downside of Meatgrinder is that if you feed it a poorly formatted file, it’ll spit out hamburger.  Don’t upload a book to Smashwords until you’ve carefully studied and implemented the Style Guide!

Metadata – Metadata is data about your book, and things connected to your book.  When Smashwords ships (transmits) your book to retailers, we also transmit all the data associated with your book, including the book cover, book title, your author/publisher name, your ISBN, your book description, bio, price, category information, etc.  As you might imagine, there’s a tremendous amount of metadata associated with your book, and the Smashwords platform helps you centrally manage this data across all retailers.

MOBI/PRC – MOBI is the ebook format used by Amazon’s Kindle device.  PRC is another name for the same type of file.  To load a MOBI file on your Kindle, see the section above, how to download to a Kindle.

NCX – Step 20 of the Style Guide discusses the NCX (and shows a picture).  NCX stands for Navigation Control file forXML.  It’s a fancy acronym to describe the table of contents (TOC) summary attached to your EPUB ebook.  Think of it as a TOC that sits beside your book, pointing back into the book.  It might list your chapters or chapter headings. It’s an important feature of the EPUB format, and more and more e-reading devices are taking advantage of it.  If you construct your book and Table of Contents correctly (see Step 20 in the Style Guide), then our Meatgrinder conversion system will automatically create the NCX for you.

Método Nuclear (también Opción Nuclear) – Many Smashwords authors, publishers and professional ebook formatters use the Nuclear Method as their first step in formatting an ebook for Smashwords.  Microsoft Word is a multi-headed hydra, and it has a tendency to collect hidden, conflicting and corrupted formatting instructions.  This is especially true if a manuscript has touched multiple versions of Microsoft Word, or if it originated in another word processor or book design program.  The Nuclear Method allows the author/publisher to strip out all the formatting and return the book to its plain, original text.  After “nuking” a file, the author/publisher can then add-in all the essential formatting to create a clean file for Smashwords.  You’ll find detailed instructions about the Nuclear Method in the Smashwords Style Guide.

PDF – Stands for Portable Document Format.  The PDF format was created by Adobe Systems, and by the late ’90s it was one of the most popular ebook formats.  A PDF is usually a fixed layout format, so it will immaculately preserve the layout of a book and the positioning of words.  PDF’s strength is also it’s weakness, however — it is generally not a reflowable format.  If a book isn’t reflowable, you can’t press a button on your e-reading device to have the font increase the pages repaginate.  PDF remains a popular format for reading on personal computers, and it’s generally good for complex books that require a fixed page layout.  PDF is one of nine file formats offered at Smashwords.  It’s generally a poor format for reading fiction or other books that are primarily straight narrative.  To read a PDF file on your computer, download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader (if you don’t have it already. Most computers ship standard with it.).

Catálogo Premium – The Smashwords Premium Catalog represents a subset of Smashwords titles that comply with the formatting and metadata requirements of Smashwords retailers.  Most of the formatting and metadata requirements are purely mechanical, such as  a proper ebook cover, clean metadata, and quality formatting per theSmashwords Style Guide.  See the Style Guide or the Distribution Information page for more information on how authors/publishers can fast-track their acceptance into the Premium Catalog.  If you follow the instuctions, it’s easy.  If you’re finding it difficult to gain acceptance into the Premium Catalog, it means you’re not following the instructions.  Ask for help!

Texto Refluíble o Reflowable text – With print books, every word appears on the page exactly where you want it.  Ebooks are formatted differently than print books. Ebooks have reflowable text.  When text is reflowable, it can attractively shape shift across any screen, whether that screen is small like an iPhone, medium like a Kindle3 or Nook, larger like an iPad or Kindle DX,  or even larger like a computer screen.  Reflowable text enables readers to customize the presentation of the text to suit their reading preferences.  Most e-reading apps and devices allow the reader to click a button to increase the font size, or change the font style or the line spacing.  When the reader does this, the text repaginates (reflows).  The Smashwords Style Guide provides simple step-by-step instructions for how authors and publishers can design their books for optimal reflowability.  At Smashwords, all our ebook formats are reflowable except PDF, which is a fixed format like print.

Retailer/Librería detallista – An ebook retailer sells ebooks.  Although Smashwords is primarily an ebook publishing and distribution platform, we also operate our own small retail operation.  Most Smashwords authors and publisers earn the bulk of their income by taking advantage of the Smashwords distribution network, where we distribute to major ebook retailers such as the Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and others.  In exchange for helping to sell our books, the retailers earn a well-deserved sales commission.  To utilize ourdistribution services, your book must be accepted into our Premium Catalog.

RTF – Stands for Rich Text Format.  One the many formats produced by Smashwords.  RTF files can be opened and read in any word processor.  Like PDF, they’re a good format if you want to read on your computer or if you want to print, and unlike PDF it’s a good format if you want to modify the font size or style prior to printing.

Sideload / Descarga Lateral – Whereas “download” implies pulling a file down from an Internet service, and “upload” implies sending your file up to a service, sideload refers to copying a file from your computer over to an e-reading device.  So, for example, if you’re pulling a file straight from down to your your Kindle which is attached to your computer via the USB cable, that’s a download.  Alternatively, you can download the file to your computer and then sideload it to your Kindle (or Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader, etc.).  So download means pulling from the Internet, and sideload means pulling from your computer.

Smashwords – Smashwords is an ebook publishing and distribution platform, which is fancy speak for “ebook distributor.”  Our free service helps you centrally manage the publishing and distribution of your ebook to multiple major retailers.

Satélites de Smashwords – Smashwords Satellites are what we call a collection of about 30 narrowly defined ebook sites, all owned and operated by Smashwords, that help make Smashwords books more discoverable to readers.  The satellite sites feature some experimental ebook discovery options.  Each site has it’s own focus.  For example, if a reader is interested only in low cost books, they might visit our satellite, Cheap Lit.  If they’re interested in Spanish language ebooks, they might go to Ebooks Español.  For a complete listing of Smashwords Satellites, visit theSmashwords Labs.

Guía de Estilos – The Smashwords Style Guide is the formatting bible for Smashwords authors and publishers.  It captures ebook formatting best practices and presents formatting steps with simple, step by step instructions.  If an author or publisher carefully follows the Style Guide, they’ll produce a higher quality ebook and will gain faster access to the Smashwords Premium Catalog for distribution to major retailers. Click here to download it.

TOC/Tabla de Contenido – TOC = Table of Contents.  A TOC is typically located in the front matter of your book and provides the reader a summary of your chapters or sections.  The Style Guide’s Step 20 shows how to create a linked Table of Contents.  A linked Table of Contents allows the reader to navigate directly to the chapters or sections of interest.

Upload/Download – Carga/Descarga To upload a file means that you’re sending a file “up” to a service on the Internet, such as, “you upload a file to Smashwords.”  Download means that you’re pulling a file from an Internet service “down” to up.  So “upload” means to send “up” to somewhere, and “download” means to pull down to you.  If you you’re publishing a book at Smashwords, you upload the book via the “Publish” page, or via your Dashboard’s “upload new version” link.  If you purchase a book from Smashwords, you download it to your computer.

URL – This important acronym stands for Universal Resource Locator.  It’s a fancy word for “web address” or “Internet Address.”  When you type a web address into your web browser (Such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome), your browser uses that address to take you to your desired destination.  Most addresses start with “http://” and then are followed by “”   So the URL for Smashwords is  If you’re a Smashwords author or publisher, you want to send readers and fans directly to your author page (click My Smashwords and the URL in your browser is the address for your author page) or your book page (click to your book, and the address is in your browser).

Sugerencias al Glosario?:  Are we missing a vexing term that has you flummoxed and exasperated?  Click “Comments/questions..” at the top of this page to suggest a new addition to the glossary.  There’s no such thing as a dumb question!

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