View Full Version : a couple general epub questions

04-19-2011, 06:04 PM
I'm working on a converting about a dozen books to Epub format.

I've got a few semi-related questions:

1) a couple of the books have 'introductory' images -- for example, one book has a symbolically important kanji placed just before Chapter 1. Another of the books does something similar -- the book has 3 sections, each with an introductory image.

My question: what do I do with these? They aren't technically chapters, nor part of chapters, yet I'm almost thinking I should create a 'blank' chapter head so these images will essentially end up on their own page? Does this make sense, creating 'fake' chapters?

2) After much research, I'm still at a loss as to how to deal with certain frontmatter/backmatter related pages. For example, About the Author, Dedication, and even Glossary. Do I simply give these chapter heads as well? That at least will put them in the TOC. I moved the copyright page to the end of the book as well. Is there a standard?

3) Related to this, I see in Sigil an option to 'add Semantics' to a file, which lets me 'mark' it as Glossary, or Dedication, etc. Is there a way to use this instead of creating chapters for said items, or do I need to do both? Since semantics apply to an entire 'file', I think I need to do both?

4) What is the best way to get a 'cover' into Sigil? Should I start out with the cover image on page 1, then declare that a chapter, then 'add semantics' and mark it as 'cover'? I know from fiddling with Calibre that it more or less lets you add a cover as part of the metadata... should i just open the file in Calibre and do it that way instead?

Sorry for the rambling questions. I've solved so many other ones in the past few days, and these are 'general' ones that I can't seem to find a simple, direct, answer to online. (maybe i'm just burnt out)

04-19-2011, 09:21 PM
You can build page breaks without turning things into Chapters. You can build secondary headings to make entries in the TOC without forcing things into chapters. For appendix items you might want to create an Appendix chapter and then put each item in a secondary heading under the "Appendix Chapter" and they will all end up in the TOC. You can do the same in the front matter. It is up to you how the book is to be organized but don't think your only option to forcing a new page is to force a chapter. The cover page is just a page, not a chapter.


04-19-2011, 09:43 PM
...Does this make sense, creating 'fake' chapters?

To answer this we have to make some definitions clear. I use the following when thinking about the internal structure of an ePub:

Chapter - each separate HTML/XHTML/XML file, regardless of their logical use. This is particularily applicable when using Sigil as it associates its "chapter break" function with the splitting of a file into two files.

Page - I reject this term with any ebook. There are no pages in an ebook, period. What most people term a "page" should more properly be termed a "screen" and how much information fits a "screen" varies from reader to reader. Each "chapter" is really a long string of data, text and pix, that the reader breaks into individual screens at its whim (read: based on font settings and its method of sizing images).

Using these definitions, my answer is "yes" you should create chapters (e.g. separate files) for each segment of the ebook. Its easy to have any of what you term "fake" chapters not appear in the TOC. Having them as separate files is the easy way to ensure that the reader, at least almost all readers, will start a new screen to display the data, an image in your case.

As to the placement of sections, I generally prefer the arrangement that has been common in printed books for centuries. Title pages, frontpiece illustrations, copyright, dedication, and preface all before the body of the work and glossaries and other reference items such as endnotes at the end. An "About the Author" section can, IMHO, go either in the front or the end. If at the end, I think it should be the first thing after the body of the book.

04-20-2011, 02:45 AM
thank you.

i actually came to basically the same conclusions in the hours of reading i did after posting this.

i ended up creating chapters for every 'segment' of the book. I ended up having 4 types of 'segments'.

1) the cover
2) normal chapters with titles
3) stuff like the dedication using a title tag so 'Dedication' shows up in the TOC but not on the page
4) stuff like solitary images that need to be on their own page but don't need to be in the toc

(I actually came up with a relatively easy semi-automated way to do this, coming from Indesign)