Who there knows their stuff on ePubs?


Technology

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

I am trying to create an ePub and could use advice. It seems this is a very glichy process that convertors can't do justice to. Every conversion is misaligned with abnormal spacing and font sizes.

Is there a program that allows editing that is both quick and accurate. I don't mind working within ePub formats to get this. I am on a PC too.

I would like to take my garbagey conversion and fix it. Using Sigil now but it just isn't taking the best approach. I get the feeling ePubs are more akin to html.

The WYSIWYG creates way too much garbagey code. Harder not smarter.


The best way that I know how to do it is by having the original InDesign document and using style sheets to convert everything over (including a TOC) using the export system. Amazon has also released a beta-version add-on program for InDesign CS4/CS5 that allows you to export directly to the mobi/Kindle formatting.

There are also free previewer programs available out there. The one for the Kindle can be found on amazon and "Calibre" is a free program that organizes your e-pubs and has a function to convert them from EPUB to mobi/Kindle formatting.

Other than that I think that you're in for a lot of code clean-up.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

The best way to clean up an ePub is to unzip it and edit the source files in a text editor (as if they were HTML.) Rezipping it afterwards is a little tricky (the order of files matters), but is doable.


Just to add a little bit to what Ross said:

To unzip an EPUB change the suffix to .zip, when you're done, change the suffix back. They're basically just specialized zip files.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

Hey Pale,

I may have InDesign and a complete PDF of the book. Can I just load that PDF and get a true ePub conversion?

Is there any good ePub programs other than Sigil?

Cleaning that code is tedious work!


When this got moved I lost track of it, sorry.

But to answer your question - No.

You're basically, at that point, trying to change what the end-product is from one electronic format to another that have different coding and embedding processes.

The best bet is to extract the art (if you want to keep it), extract the text and create a new InDesign document to export if you want to avoid the coding.

Of course, at that point I think that you're just picking your tedium. ;)


Zuxius wrote:

I would like to take my garbagey conversion and fix it. Using Sigil now but it just isn't taking the best approach. I get the feeling ePubs are more akin to html.

I know something about ePubs, having created one (a fairly nice one, if I do say so myself) from a 100K+ word complex word processor document.

Cleaning up a conversion isn't actually as hard as it might seem at first, but you need to be knowledgeable about CSS, XHTML, and regular expressions.

Use Sigil to open / package the ePub. ZIP programs sometimes use compressions or enhancements that ePub readers are not expecting.

This Sigil editor is surprisingly good, considering that it's WYSIWYG and gives you access to raw source. It's still not anywhere near good enough, but that's fine, it doesn't need to be. Use it to extract the stylesheet and the chapter you want to work on, and edit them in a purpose-built text editor (I suggest notepad++). Use regular expressions to replace all of the ghastly XHTML style garbage into clean CSS-dependent code <p class="class1"> very quickly, allowing you to move all of the formatting details into the stylesheet. At that point, you can adjust the formatting at your leisure.

Fonts are a potentially tricky detail. Although you can embed fonts in an ePub, it is a violation of most foundry's software licenses to do so. If you do embed your own fonts, make sure they are covered under a SIL or OFL license (some of those are listed on the SIL web site). I choose Linux Libertine, as I wanted a fully designed glyph set for regular, italic, bold, and bold italic (and not just composed glyphs for, say, bold italic).

I have absolutely no idea if this is useful information for you. I hope it is, but if not, please clarify what you're looking for and looking to achieve!

Cheers,
MI

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Malachite Ice wrote:
Although you can embed fonts in an ePub...

While you *can* embed fonts in an ePub, not all ePub readers support them, and even in the readers that do, customers are able to override them anyway. If the presentation of particular fonts—or, frankly, even font styles—is important to your document, ePub is really not a very good format to choose.


Vic Wertz wrote:
While you *can* embed fonts in an ePub, not all ePub readers support them, and even in the readers that do, customers are able to override them anyway. If the presentation of particular fonts—or, frankly, even font styles—is important to your document, ePub is really not a very good format to choose.

This is so. But the loss of formatting control is, IMHO, more than made up for in accessibility and portability. Persons with visual impairments who have different or unusual display requirements can easily cause an ePub to be presented to them in a manner suiting their needs.

ePubs are about content, not presentation.

Cheers,
MI

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