If you currently have your ePub listed with an aggregator and are unhappy with the service, or wish to switch to an aggregator with a larger distribution network, do you have to pay all over again for conversion to ePub? If your aggregator does not make your ePub file available to you, then yes. If your aggregator does make your file available to you, then no, but there is a little bit of work involved.
When you distribute your ePub through an aggregator, most of them input their company information into the metadata. If you use their ISBN, they will add the ISBN and they may list themselves as the publisher. If you have your own ISBN, they may add distributor information. Either way, in order to distribute the same file through a new aggregator, you need to remove any aggregator information from the file’s metadata.
First you need to download the ePub from your aggregator and download the free ePub editor Sigil. Open your ePub in Sigil and then click on the “Content.opf” file from the left-hand list under “Book Browser.” You will get a warning that only advanced users should edit the Content.opf file; click okay. The opf file will open and Sigil will automatically switch to code view (“<>” on the toolbar) if you are not already in it. The image below is The Global Indie Author opened in Sigil (I’ve removed most of the text files to fit everything in the window).
If you used an aggregator’s ISBN, scroll down through the metadata until you find the opening tag for “dc:identifier.” Depending on which program was used to create the ePub, the identifier may read like this
or it may read like this
<dc:identifier id=“uuid_id” opf:scheme=“uuid”>
Either way, it will be followed by the ISBN and the closing tag:
Delete the ISBN value from the metadata and either leave it blank or replace it with your own ISBN. Note that you do not use any hyphens in your ISBN. If you leave the value blank the closing tag will automatically be deleted, leaving you with
<dc:identifier id=“uuid_id” opf:scheme=“uuid” />
Next, look for any instances where the aggregator has inputted their company information. Smashwords, for example, adds the entry “contributor opf: role=bkp”, which stands for “book producer,” and inputs the value “Smashwords, Inc.”:
<dc:contributor opf:role=“bkp”>Smashwords, Inc.</dc:contributor>
Simply delete this whole entry from the metadata, and/or anything similar you find.
If you used Smashwords, you will also need to edit the copyright page and/or title page to remove all references to them. To do so, open the appropriate xhtml file under the list “Text” on the left-hand side. The easiest way to edit the file is to switch to book view because this is what you are used to seeing in a program like Word: on the Sigil toolbar click on the icon of the open book; it’s beside the code view icon. In the open xhtml file, highlight the relevant Smashwords text and delete.
Save your file.
Validate your ePub by clicking Tools > Validate ePub on the Sigil toolbar, and then double-check by putting the file through ePubCheck on the Threepress Consulting website. If both validations pass, you can upload your ePub to a new aggregator. They will add their ISBN info, if applicable, and any other company metadata before distributing it. You can also upload directly to a site like Barnes & Noble’s PubIt! if you qualify.