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Showing posts from 2010

Delivering the goods … 1, 2, 3 (PDF, Kindle and ePUB)

I've been busy working on style sheets and formatting guides for eBooks as you can tell from my previous posts. I now have the first free eBooklet from Gylphi online. It can be downloaded from for those of you who are interested. Simply scroll down the right column until you reach the free download section. Add the Kindle and/or ePUB versions to your cart and click checkout. You will be asked to enter your name and then the free download will proceed. If you wish to download straight to your device you can try: and I know using the first link in Safari on the iPad (with software fully updated) you will be prompted to open in iBooks, but in Safari on a Mac you will be faced will a jumble of code, and it will be treated like a text file even with a right(ctrl)-click. Here is probably the place to note the final tweaks needed to get the books online. First

Kindle, EPUB, text-indent, and p + p

Kindle and EPUB can often seem like siblings: one likes peas and the other likes carrots. When it comes to text-indenting paragraphs, the Kindle automatically indents each paragraph, and must be told when not to. Whereas EPUB's default is to have paragraphs full-out and to leave space between each. This makes it tricky to find a solution that suits both. The most minimal way I have found is to add <p class="first"> to the beginning of each paragraph you would like full out - e.g. at the beginning of an article or chapter, after a heading or after a blockquote. Then link this to the following Kindle-only CSS: p.first { margin-top: 1 em; text-indent: 0em; } It won't hurt the EPUB to leave the class attribute in the EPUB XHTML, but it is superfluous because I would recommend that all paragraphs are simply tagged using <p></p> and then the following CSS used: p { margin-bottom: 0.00em; margin-top: 1.55em; text-indent: 0.00em; } p + p {ma

EPUB and Kindle, have you got them covered?

The purpose of these blog posts is not to provide you with all the technical detail of how to complete the task of creating EPUB and Kindle format books, but to point out the finer points of detail that you might miss and which could end up leaving your book looking less than its best. Today's post is about getting covers to look and behave correctly. An EPUB requires that you have a file labelled cover.xhtml and this will simply place the image (cover.jpg) on a page. I'm not going to copy out what the entire file looks look, there is an example by Keith Fahlgren on the Three Press Consulting blog. What is important though is if you want your cover to work in all viewers and in the Adobe Digital Editions thumbnail, then once again you'll need to turn to Liz Castro's book EPub Straight to the Point: Creating Ebooks for the Apple IPad and Other Ereaders . In Chapter 3 of her book (p. 114) @lizcastro advises adding style="max-width: 100%" to the xhtml for yo

Mirroring images in EPUB and Kindle

The most effective ways of placing images in an EPUB are outlined in Liz Castro's book EPub Straight to the Point: Creating Ebooks for the Apple IPad and Other Ereaders at the beginning of Chapter 4 (pp. 173-6 for readers of the print edition). Castro informs us here that 600px x 860px is the perfect size to force a picture to consume an entire page, and she also provides her excellent <div> solution that enables pictures to float. Unfortunately, if you simply pass this same CSS and xhtml through KindleGen then the image firstly won't float, because the Kindle doesn't do image or sidebar floats, and also it will appear too small because of the way the Kindle interprets Liz Castro's CSS for getting floating images to play nice on all EPUB readers. In the Kindle your options are limited, but simple to achieve. Images will automatically be aligned left. If you would like them to be centred use the tag <p class="center"> with the CSS {tex

EPUB and Kindle friendly endnotes

This is a series of rough and ready irregular posts on how to get Kindle and EPUB formats to work. These are written as I work on real projects that are being edited to be imported into InDesign as XML and formatted using "Map Tags to Styles", and will also be imported into Sigil where a CSS stylesheet will be added (there will be two ePUBs one with CSS suitable for iBooks, Adobe Digital Editions, Sony Reader, and another with a Kindle friendly CSS to be transformed into .mobi format using KindleGen). The posts should suit people working with academic books, since that is my profession. However, the posts while helping you to make attractive books won't be pretty, since I'm leaving all that for a later date or another person. These notes are scratched out as I work with little styling, and hand-holding left to a minimum. First up endnotes. ENDNOTES Kindle and EPUB respond to hyperlinks leading to anchor points in your book in two different ways. The Kindle jumps

RT if you own a Kindle

I've never had a tweet RTed as much as the one above, with the exception of "RT if you own an ePUB compatible eReader". Yesterday the whole idea of declaring affinity to one format/device or the other caught on with the Twitter community, and if you were one of those who RTed these tweets, then I suspect you will be interested in the result. So here we are: ePUB is the clear winner now that the RTs have dried up, or so it would appear with a score of 45 vs 9. This isn't the whole story, however, since many tweeters instead of simply clicking RT performed a manual RT, which doesn't register. So we need to take into account those people too. Here are the full "RT if you own a Kindle" results: and here are the results for "RT if you own an ePUB compatible eReader": You need to look carefully at these because you will notice that there are additional RTs, but the final totals with these RTs included are 30 to Kindle and 55 to ePUB. Agai

The Final Countdown (Adobe Creative Suite 5)

If you haven't already heard, Adobe is to launch its next Creative Suite (No. 5) on 12 April 2010 and below is a countdown to the exact second. This is an important release for the publishing industry, because many will be looking to Adobe for a way of making the transition to digital publishing as easy as possible. While the ability to create eBooks to the ePub standard has been possible since InDesign CS3, the technology was not perfect. It was improved in CS4, but given the cost of upgrades many have held off upgrading until CS5. Many are also waiting for new Flash tools and the ability to create apps for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Reports elsewhere state that while the launch is on 12 April, the programs will not be available to buy until later (possibly October) - the information provided by Adobe is ambiguous and they are not willing to enlighten us any further until Monday.

Extreme iPad Testing

While the UK eagerly awaits the arrival of the iPad, others already in possession of them seem to be set on destroying them. Is there greater pleasure to be found in destroying gadgets than using them for the purpose they were intended? For these people the answer would appear to be yes. Mr Jobs will not be happy.

Unzipping ePub Files in OS X 10.6

I recently downloaded a free eBook in ePub format that Waterstones were kindly giving away. It happened to be zipped and needed decompression. Not something that typically poses a problem since you simply double-click and zip files open hey presto in Finder. Some thing you might not know, however, is that ePub files are in essence zip files with their extension renamed from .zip to .epub. Therefore, when you are unzipping an ePub it is a bit like unzipping a zip. StuffIt Expander handles the task without a fault, but Finder's 'Archive Utility' has greater difficulty and so, if you simply double-click the file, Finder displays all the files contained within the ePub and you'll see the following: a META-INF folder, a mimetype file, and an OEBPS folder. None of these files will open in Adobe's Digital Editions or in fact any eReader. This is an incompatibility between the 'Archive Utility' and the ePub format, which also has an impact on developers ( see he

iTunes: Shopper's Paradise?

I was browsing through the iTunes store yesterday and thinking about it being the digital equivalent of visiting Tower Records or HMV with Blockbuster added on. Already in the store: games and other iPod/iPhone software, films, TV series, audiobooks, music, podcasts, university lectures. The rumoured addition of books, and perhaps more advanced software for the Tablet/Slate, if true will make it a real one stop shop for entertainment of all kinds. The only thing being that you need the Apple kit to start off with if you want to go beyond watching films and listening to music on your desktop/laptop. Although there are separate book/ebook programs for organizing files, such as Adobe's Digital Editions and Bookpedia (and for researchers, Mendeley ), the mainstream will find it hard to resist having one place for the majority of their needs. This won't stop the more determined from searching out books that don't make it to the store from different providers and in differen

CS3 post-Snow Leopard Upgrade Fix: "Licensing for this product has stopped working"

I've had an intermittent error with Adobe Creative Suite 3 programs ever since upgrading from OS X 10.4 (Tiger) to OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). It has occurred more often under different user accounts than my main one, and I naively thought I'd solved it by deauthorizing and then reauthorizing my computer, but the problem came back with a vengeance today and so I took the four somewhat daunting steps suggested by Adobe. The web page includes advice for CS4 (and Windows as well as Mac). Step four seemed to do the magic for me, and it was the simplest one. However, I wouldn't recommend rearranging the order in which the steps are approached. You are better off doing what you are told with issues like this.

Keep track of your book collection

There comes a time when there simply isn't enough shelf space to accommodate all of the books you own. At this point most of us, unable to bear selling them, opt to pack them away. Well, no longer do they need to be as good as lost until the next time you clear out the loft, because help is at hand in the guise of Bookpedia . Using your webcam, Bookpedia enables you to quickly scan barcodes and draw down cover images and details from sites such as Amazon and the Library of Congress. There is a free demo version that will allow you to enter 25 books, but the US$18 price tag is a bargin for book hoarders. Especially when you consider the ability to flick through cover art as you do in iTunes and even download your collection to an iPod for reference when you are out and about in bookshops. (You'll never find yourself buying the same book twice again.) This is Mac only software: OS X 10.4.9+

Click Counting in Windows and OS X

There is an endless debate on the Internet over which is better: Mac or PC. Typically Mac users declare how great their system is compared to PCs, and PC users return fire with arguments about Macs being overpriced and having a miniscule market share. It therefore interested me to read an article on ZDNet UK, entitled How to Change Computer Name in Windows Vista and Windows 7 Operating System , which outlines the 4 or 5 clicks taken to arrive at the option to change the name of your computer for networking purposes on a PC. It interested me because on a Mac running OS X 10.6 the same task takes 3 clicks. Admittedly some might argue that it doesn't matter if something they hardly ever need is hidden a click or two deeper in the menus. But consider the other example given in the ZDNet article about changing a user profile name, which takes 5 clicks. Again in OS X this takes 3 clicks. Similarly, not a frequently changed option, but the clicks all add up and the more clicks the great