What is formatting?
The terms conversion, book design, and formatting are sometimes used interchangeably, which can lead to confusion... Here's how Ebook Launch sees it (also see diagram below):
Conversion implies using a converter app to change your file from one format to another. For example, converting a PDF file to a .doc file. This is strictly technical and takes a matter of seconds. Many conversions are not perfect and can be frustrating to deal with. The Smashwords Meatgrinder is a good example of a converter, which is why they have very specific formatting requirements.
Book design refers to the layout and aesthetic appearance of a book. This includes artistic elements like flourishes, insets, etc. A book designer generally would also format the file appropriately (e.g. get it print-ready) - so in that sense, they are the full package (and usually the most expensive).
Formatting is a combination of both book design and conversion, leaning towards the technical side of things. At Ebook Launch, all formatting of your book is done by hand. We consider both the aesthetic and technical requirements during formatting (including best practices). We take a manuscript and typeset it to ensure it meets the requirements of a retailer or distributor while ensuring it looks great on all devices. As you can see, although we do convert your book to the required formats, it is a very small part of the process.
For a formatting quote from Ebook Launch, please submit your book for review through our form here.