The 5 Best Ebook Creation Tools for Gnu Linux

E-books are fast becoming the most popular publication medium for books. More people than ever are buying their books in digital form, and electronic books open an invaluable opportunity for self-published publishers and authors alike. Ebooks are even a popular tool for inbound marketing and lead generation.

If you want to create your own eBook on Linux, you have some excellent options, and they are all free and open source.

These programs are not in any particular order. All are great, and you must choose the one that best suits your use case and style.

1. Scribus

Scribus is a full-featured desktop publishing program. Includes options to create custom designs for print and digital media.

It provides a simple but powerful drag-and-drop interface that allows you to create professional designs using text and graphics.

You can adapt your designs to your publication medium and page size. Of course, you can also create multi-page layouts in Scribus.

2. Calibre

Calibre deals with electronic books, but in a very different way. It is an electronic book management platform. Calibre does not focus solely on the creation of electronic books. It also has the tools to read, download and manage a complete collection.

Calibre is your library. You can download books and magazines directly through Calibre and manage them through it. It provides tools to organize and even back up all your downloaded books and magazines.

Calibre is also an electronic book reader. It has all the capabilities you would expect from a traditional electronic reader, such as a Kindle.

This article is about authorship, and Calibre is also fully capable of it. Calibre allows you to do everything from minor editions to create your own book from scratch.

3. LibreOffice with Writer2ePub

If you use the Linux operating system for some time, you are probably familiar with LibreOffice Writer. It has been the standard for writing documents in Linux for years.

LibreOffice Writer is an excellent open source alternative for Microsoft Word, and is available for all major operating systems. Writer has all the features you would expect from a top-notch word processor, and can easily handle very large documents.

While LibreOffice Writer can not export to .epub or any e-book format other than PDF, it has an available extension that can do so.

Writer2ePub allows Writer to export in .epub format to create ebooks. It does not change the way this word processor works or makes designs easier, but it makes Writer a solid choice for creating ebooks that are mostly text.

4. Sigil

Sigil is exclusively oriented to the creation of electronic books. It allows you to use it as a word processor or as an HTML editor. It also has a powerful WYSIWYG editor that allows to omit the writing of any HTML and to handle the design in a graphic way.

Even with WYSIWYG, Sigil is a tool for users who are not afraid of getting their hands dirty and manually controlling the design of their book. If you have some knowledge of HTML and CSS and want detailed control over your designs, Sigil is a great option.

5. Pandoc

Pandoc is something completely different. It is not an editor, and it is not an author tool. Certainly you do not write in Pandoc either.

What is it? Pandoc is a command line utility that allows you to convert documents between virtually any format. You can write your eBook in HTML or even LaTeX and easily convert it into several formats, including .epub. Pandoc also allows you to include CSS styles.

Pandoc is the ultimate power tool to get total control of your project.


Any of these tools can handle your e-book projects. Each one is completely capable. The main difference between all these authoring tools is their style. Some, like Scribus, are more graphic in nature. At the opposite end of the spectrum you will find Pandoc, with no interface at all. Which do you prefer to work with?

You should also keep in mind the type of book you are writing. LaTeX is almost mandatory for some topics. That would point you in the direction of Pandoc. Maybe you're just writing a novel with just text. LibreOffice could be the simplest solution for you. If all else fails, experiment. I'm sure you'll love trying one of these incredible publishing tools.

Carlos Dagorret
CTO Facultad de Ciencias Económicas

My research interests include distributed robotics, mobile computing and programmable matter.

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