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Candlewick Press

Setting the Quality Standard for Children’s eBooks

Digital Content Development


Candlewick Press, the American subsidiary of British publisher Walker Books, is a renowned publisher of children’s books. Named “the fastest growing children’s publisher in the U.S.” by Publishers Weekly, the press has won more than 1,500 awards for such modern-day children’s classics as The Tale of Despereaux and best-sellers like The Magician’s Elephant.


As the market for eBooks grew, Candlewick sought expedient and cost-effective methods for converting ink-and-paper titles to digital formats.

Children’s eBooks pose unique production challenges because they are heavily illustrated. So while many publishers rushed to the digital market, Candlewick took its time, determined to convert to eBooks without sacrificing quality.

Finding a partner who could ensure their signature style was as important as finding a partner who could do the job affordably.


Pictures and images are integral to the narrative in children’s books. The Tale of Despereaux, for example, contains 272 print pages with over 85 graphic images and elaborately styled fonts and headings that mark the beginning of each chapter. Digital versions require the appropriate on-screen context and page flow to advance the story as effectively as the print version, no matter the display size, which varies from eReader to eReader.

With its extensive experience in eBook production and complicated graphical content, Aptara was able to meet, and in some cases exceed, Candlewick’s stringent quality requirements. 

Candlewick provided source files in QuarkXPresss and InDesign, along with the supporting font files, in addition to print PDFs. Aptara’s production team developed an automated program to compare and QC the converted file against the originals.


Aptara delivered the first batch of Candlewick eBooks in both the ePUB and .prc (Mobipocket) formats. Pleased with the initial delivery of its best-selling titles, Candlewick and Walker Press continue to produce eBooks with Aptara. The books are sold through Candlewick Press’ eCommerce site and via Amazon for the Kindle and iTunes for the iPad.

Candlewick has since engaged Aptara to develop its first set of eBook guidelines and digital quality thresholds, which will establish the baseline for all of its future eBooks.