The Olympic Century


It was our distinct pleasure to work with Warwick Press on the conversion of The Olympic Century, a book series originally commissioned by the IOC and USOC to serve as the Official History of the Modern Olympics.

Taking over 10 years to prepare, the original print version of the 24-volume series contained over 5,000 pages of text and hundreds of photographs, as well as complete statistics from each Olympiad.

olympics_02NEWCalled “The most comprehensive history of the Olympic Games ever published” by former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, all 24 published volumes of The Olympic Century are now available as eBooks with the same content, photographs, and detailed appendix included. Written by former Time-Life editors, these volumes chronicle all the joys, heartbreaks, scandals, and personalities that have captured the attention of the entire world during each Olympiad.

Typically we convert from Word, PDF or InDesign files; however, for older print titles where only a print copy of the book is available, we offer a book scanning service. Scanning a print title and converting to eBook formats is an ideal way to give new life to back-list titles and discover a new readership.

We started work on The Olympic Century project by scanning each volume and producing an editable Word version of the content that could be proofread before conversion to reflowable eBook formats. We also cropped and optimized the images from the scans to ensure they appeared correctly on e-reading devices. This is particular important given that many e-reading devices offer readers the option of enlarging images included in eBooks.

As mentioned in a previous featured projects blog, we can create more complex reflowable eBook files that include images and captions and also retain many of the formatting features of the original manuscript, including different heading styles, tables and call-out boxes, though in some cases we may need to simplify the original layout to suit reflowable formats.

That was the case for The Olympic Century volumes, which required changing the multi-column layout into a single column and relocating images and feature boxes to ensure they were always placed at the end of a paragraph and didn’t disrupt the flow of the text for a reader.

olympics_3One challenge with using images in reflowable eBooks is that because the text will flow differently depending on a reader’s screen-size and chosen font settings, nothing is fixed to a page/screen. That can mean that images and captions are separated from each other if there isn’t quite enough space left on the page for the image or caption to appear.

olympic_3_featimgsFor The Olympic Century books, we placed the captions before the images to assist with the flow of the text. Though there may still be instances where a page break falls between a caption and images, the choice to place the caption first seemed to offer the best reading experience.

For the special feature boxes, we were able to distinguish those by using a bordered box with a different background colour. Again, these special sections may appear on more than one page depending on length of that feature section and/or a reader’s font settings, but the different background helps set that content apart from the rest of the text.

Not only do the books contain an engaging written history of each Olympiad, they also offer readers a detailed appendix with results and a calendar of events. Though the design had to be altered slightly to suit reflowable formats, we were able to include the results and calendar as live text, meaning that the results are searchable and readers can highlight and add notes.

Each volume also includes an index. Rather than including a linked index, we added a note to the beginning of each index explaining that readers could use the ‘search’ facility of their e-reading system to find the specific terms listed in the index.

When working on a more complex reflowable conversion like The Olympic Century, we work closely with our clients to ensure the content translates correctly to reflowable eBook formats and will be easy to read and pleasing to look at on a range of eReading devices and applications.


If you’re interested in catching up on your Olympic history before the upcoming summer games in Rio, then all 24 volumes of The Olympic Century are now available individually through major eBook retailers or as an entire eBook series. More information about each volume or purchasing the entire set can be found here.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.