View Full Version : Inconsistancy in how my cover displays - depends on app.


1611mac
09-30-2011, 07:37 PM
I have created an epub using Pages (Apple OSX app). The cover works in some apps and not others.

Here's the results:
• Bluefire - shows the first page in the book as the cover, not the cover itself.
• iBooks - Cover shows properly
• Kobo - Shows an image on page one as the cover.
• Ouiivo - Cover shows properly
• Stanza - Cover shows proplery
• uBooks - No cover displays at all.

You can see that three apps display the cover properly and thee do not.

Additionally, I have tried adding the cover in Calibre (then "save to disk") but the results have been similar.

Is this inconsistency a fault of the epub code or is it a problem with the apps?

wallcraft
09-30-2011, 08:33 PM
The first page of a portable ePub is its "cover", because (as you have seen) some ePub readers follow this convention. So the only safe approach is to follow this convention and invoke Pages' "Use first page as book cover image" option.

Note that in Calibre you have to do an ePub to ePub conversion and then save to disk. This should get the cover as the 1st page, but you may not like what else Calibre does to your ebook. Calibre also has a "tweak ePub" option, which allows you to edit the ePub directly if you are comfortable doing this.

1611mac
09-30-2011, 08:56 PM
The first page of a portable ePub is its "cover", because (as you have seen) some ePub readers follow this convention. So the only safe approach is to follow this convention and invoke Pages' "Use first page as book cover image" option.

That's exactly what I did, but as I said, 3 apps did not display the cover.


Note that in Calibre you have to do an ePub to ePub conversion and then save to disk. This should get the cover as the 1st page, but you may not like what else Calibre does to your ebook. Calibre also has a "tweak ePub" option, which allows you to edit the ePub directly if you are comfortable doing this.

Yes, I have converted ePub to ePub and result is awful so this is not an option. I also used the "tweak ePub" to examine the ePub. Everything looks similar (or same) as "commercial" books I've compared too (that work) so I don't know what to "fix" or change.

As a "fix" right now I have a Pages "save first page as cover" page plus my first book page is also a jpg of the cover (but smaller).

I guess I'll continue to "tweak epub" and compare working covers to my epub.

Could the size of the cover jpg be an issue with some apps but not others? Mine is 394x600 at 72 dpi. It's scaled up a bit in Pages to fill the page else the "icon" has white space around it.

Thanks for the response. I appreciate it very much.

wallcraft
09-30-2011, 09:26 PM
As a "fix" right now I have a Pages "save first page as cover" page plus my first book page is also a jpg of the cover (but smaller).

I guess I'll continue to "tweak epub" and compare working covers to my epub.

Could the size of the cover jpg be an issue with some apps but not others? Mine is 394x600 at 72 dpi. It's scaled up a bit in Pages to fill the page else the "icon" has white space around it. Amazon recommended 600x800 as the cover size for a long time, so that may be a safe choice.

If you look at what Calibre does for cover images that should be a good guide. What I see is a) jpg image (inside an xhtml wrapper, titlepage.xhtml), b) image is 1st item in manifest, c) titlepage is 1st item in spine, c) the guide references titlepage.xhtml as the cover, d) it is the 1st navpoint in toc.ncx.

1611mac
09-30-2011, 09:47 PM
Amazon recommended 600x800 as the cover size for a long time, so that may be a safe choice.

If you look at what Calibre does for cover images that should be a good guide. What I see is a) jpg image (inside an xhtml wrapper, titlepage.xhtml), b) image is 1st item in manifest, c) titlepage is 1st item in spine, c) the guide references titlepage.xhtml as the cover, d) it is the 1st navpoint in toc.ncx.

Excellent information. I'll check it out. Thanks very much. I appreciate your insight.

Toxaris
10-01-2011, 03:37 AM
I don't know how Pages constructs the ePUB, but the fact that the applications that follow the specifications better are the ones that do not display the cover, lead me to think it doesn't follow the specifications. Since it involves Apple, I am not surprised.
Could you post your opf file from your ePUB? I am sure we will find the problem.

Jellby
10-01-2011, 04:18 AM
There is no "cover" in ePUB, after all.

Toxaris
10-01-2011, 08:46 AM
No, but usually the first page will be set as cover. If this is not the case now, than it probably can be found in the opf.

1611mac
10-02-2011, 12:30 PM
I don't know how Pages constructs the ePUB, but the fact that the applications that follow the specifications better are the ones that do not display the cover, lead me to think it doesn't follow the specifications. Since it involves Apple, I am not surprised.
Could you post your opf file from your ePUB? I am sure we will find the problem.

Yes, I'll supply opf file perhaps later today. However, I repeat, I get similar results when no cover is defined in Pages and the cover is added in Calibre (and epub to epub conversion done). The converted ePub still shows no cover in some apps.

pholy
10-02-2011, 05:13 PM
It seems like a common problem...
These are the most relevant links out of my bookmarks file:

http://blog.threepress.org/2009/11/20/best-practices-in-epub-cover-images/

http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/article.asp?BaseFolder=prcgen&File=cover.htm#IDPF2

Perhaps they can be of some help.

1611mac
10-02-2011, 05:20 PM
It seems like a common problem...
These are the most relevant links out of my bookmarks file:

http://blog.threepress.org/2009/11/20/best-practices-in-epub-cover-images/

http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/article.asp?BaseFolder=prcgen&File=cover.htm#IDPF2

Perhaps they can be of some help.

Good info. Thanks very much!

Toxaris
10-03-2011, 03:21 AM
I have no idea what Calibre does with the cover, I never do ePUB to ePUB conversion with Calibre. I don't see the point in doing it, I'd rather do it myself.

1611mac
11-27-2011, 09:06 PM
I never did close this issue so let me do so in case someone searches....

Evidently, some apps don't like the file/folder structure that is created by "Pages" epub output. A workaround is to place two covers as page one and two in Pages, defining page one as a cover on export, will give a cover in most all apps. Some apps see the actual cover, the others will use the second cover - (cover is named "cover.jpg" so it can be found.)

But... To actually fix the problem so Bluefire and other apps actually use a single "true" cover page I have to explode the epub and put all files (except the META-INF) at the root level. (Pages epub output has css folder, images, folder, the opt, and chapters in an OPS folder.)

So again, I put everything at root level and made appropriate path change in container file and covers worked fine.

JSWolf
11-27-2011, 10:12 PM
Can you attach a sample so we can see what might be going on?

Is pages generating ePub or is Pages generating iBooks code?

1611mac
11-27-2011, 10:46 PM
Can you attach a sample so we can see what might be going on?

Is pages generating ePub or is Pages generating iBooks code?

Sample of what? The code or the structure?

I'd have to mock up something as all my stuff is customer supplied Pages docs and the book text is copyrighted. I could take a snap of the epub doc structure if that would help. (Or like I said, make up a simple mockup with a cover.)

The code is ePub and works fine in most all iOS reader apps. Just the cover is the issue. If I set the cover in Pages export then Bluefire and Stanza does not pick it up (even if I use Calbre and put in a new cover) but they do if the cover is just a jpg at he beginning of the file. Five or six other apps are just the opposite.

I could use Apple's best practices document with page one as the cover. (there is an option upon epub export to "use first page as cover")

So what do you want to see? a whole attached epub?

Toxaris
11-28-2011, 05:16 AM
I never did close this issue so let me do so in case someone searches....

Evidently, some apps don't like the file/folder structure that is created by "Pages" epub output. A workaround is to place two covers as page one and two in Pages, defining page one as a cover on export, will give a cover in most all apps. Some apps see the actual cover, the others will use the second cover - (cover is named "cover.jpg" so it can be found.)

But... To actually fix the problem so Bluefire and other apps actually use a single "true" cover page I have to explode the epub and put all files (except the META-INF) at the root level. (Pages epub output has css folder, images, folder, the opt, and chapters in an OPS folder.)

So again, I put everything at root level and made appropriate path change in container file and covers worked fine.

So, what you are basically are saying that Apple managed to create ANOTHER program that do things to ePUB like they want. The more spec-following readers cannot handle the output of Pages. That makes is a faulty app in my book.

1611mac
11-28-2011, 12:33 PM
That's all well and good but I cannot change the material that I am being supplied.... Frankly, I'm tickled to death that the epub output from Pages works as well as it does. The cover issue in the only problem i'm come across. Admittedly, the files I get are pretty simple.

I love to be able to export some of my own reference files as an epub to carry on my iPad. I prefer viewing them in Stanza as opposed to Pages. So though it may not be perfect, it opens up the epub world to people who otherwise wouldn't even know it existed....

JSWolf
11-28-2011, 02:07 PM
It does not have to be a complete book. Just post ehough in an ePub so we can see what the problem might be.

1611mac
11-28-2011, 02:20 PM
It does not have to be a complete book. Just post ehough in an ePub so we can see what the problem might be.

I just received an email from BlueFire support (This was one of the apps I was having problems with) stating that they always use the first page as a cover. So it seems that there is at least one iOS app that wouldn't display a "defined cover" cover unless it was also simply an image on the first page.

Here's their reply:
Bluefire Reader reads the first page of ePubs as the cover. This may
change in the future, as we are always looking for ways to improve the
App, but for now, for your custom cover to appear, it will need to be set
as the first page of your ePub.

If I understand that correctly a cover "defined as a cover" (and not page one) would not show in BlueFire no matter what.....

I'm simply going to continue what I'm doing. Both a defined cover and also a "cover.jpg" at the beginning of the file. In the current state of things this seems to be the "most compatible" with readers and best method to get a cover to appear from most all apps.

Thank you very much for your offer to help. I appreciate it very much.

JSWolf
11-28-2011, 02:44 PM
Bluefire uses ADE. So most readers using ADE will behave the same as far as the cover goes. My 650 is very able to pick out the cover and use it as a thumbnail.

I don't see an issue with the cover being the first page. It makes sense. Why would it not?

What other apps are you trying? It seems maybe that these other apps are the problem and Bluefire is the one doing it correctly.

1611mac
11-28-2011, 03:10 PM
Bluefire uses ADE. So most readers using ADE will behave the same as far as the cover goes. My 650 is very able to pick out the cover and use it as a thumbnail.

I don't see an issue with the cover being the first page. It makes sense. Why would it not?

What other apps are you trying? It seems maybe that these other apps are the problem and Bluefire is the one doing it correctly.

With the cover simply as page one (no defined cover) the cover does not show in Stanza, iBooks, and readMe (at least) (but does show Bluefire, ADE (osx), Kobo, Ouiivo, Shubook.

To work across all these apps the cover needs to be 1.) set (defined) as a cover, and 2.) also placed as page one.

JSWolf
11-28-2011, 03:12 PM
With the cover simply as page one (no defined cover) the cover does not show in Stanza, iBooks, and readMe (at least) (but does show Bluefire, ADE (osx), Kobo, Ouiivo, Shubook.

To work across all these apps the cover needs to be 1.) set (defined) as a cover, and 2.) also placed as page one.

Stanza, iBooks, and readMe are all either broken or non-standard. Those apps are the issue.

1611mac
11-28-2011, 03:20 PM
Stanza, iBooks, and readMe are all either broken or non-standard. Those apps are the issue.

Well yes... but they are probably the most used... therefore I have to deal with it. I think my client would prefer covers to show in these even though they are broken or non-standard. That's the real world.

JSWolf
11-28-2011, 07:23 PM
Well yes... but they are probably the most used... therefore I have to deal with it. I think my client would prefer covers to show in these even though they are broken or non-standard. That's the real world.

Yes you can make ePub that will show the cover in BlureFire and iBooks quite easily. First make sure the cover works in Bluefire. Then read the following thread to make the cover work with iBooks. If the others don't work, then let them be as you won't be able to satisfy all of them.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=148702

Toxaris
11-29-2011, 05:54 AM
Well yes... but they are probably the most used... therefore I have to deal with it. I think my client would prefer covers to show in these even though they are broken or non-standard. That's the real world.

Most used? :rofl:

On Apple products, yes. But there is much more than just Apple.

DiapDealer
11-29-2011, 08:08 AM
Most used? :rofl:

On Apple products, yes. But there is much more than just Apple.
I'm not sure that iBooks can even be included in a "most used" list for Apple products.

I have no doubt it's installed on most Apple products, though. ;)

JSWolf
11-29-2011, 09:30 AM
It's easy enough to make the ePub work such that it has a proper cover for BluFire/ADE and iBooks.

EowynCarter
11-29-2011, 09:34 AM
Not quite. I made a cover OK for ADE desktop. I try on the T1, and i get a cut image, i try the orizon and get yet an other result. It's kind of a pain.

JSWolf
11-29-2011, 11:20 AM
OK how? Some publishers don't even know how to do an OK cover for ADE.

priya.k
11-29-2011, 11:31 AM
Did you validated your epub in GUI validator? some time it gives the best solutions for such issues.

1611mac
11-29-2011, 12:17 PM
Most used? :rofl:

On Apple products, yes. But there is much more than just Apple.

You are quite right of course. Sorry I mis-spoke. I hang out in the Apple forums a lot and my brain was still over there were the apps I spoke of are very popular. :smack:

Toxaris
11-29-2011, 01:02 PM
No problem. Apple does make nice products sometimes, but their software is not great. They made a big mess of their ePUB implementation and should have called it iPUB instead...

1611mac
11-29-2011, 01:06 PM
No problem. Apple does make nice products sometimes, but their software is not great. They made a big mess of their ePUB implementation and should have called it iPUB instead...

Can you point me to any info on the "mess" that might help educate me. I'm trying to learn all al can.

JSWolf
11-29-2011, 01:08 PM
Not quite. I made a cover OK for ADE desktop. I try on the T1, and i get a cut image, i try the orizon and get yet an other result. It's kind of a pain.

Please give The Island of Doctor Moreau a go on your T1. The cover works in ADE for Windows, iTunes, iBooks, an my 650.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=150880

JSWolf
11-29-2011, 01:09 PM
Did you validated your epub in GUI validator? some time it gives the best solutions for such issues.

That would be FlightCrew.

JSWolf
11-29-2011, 01:10 PM
Can you point me to any info on the "mess" that might help educate me. I'm trying to learn all al can.

Liz Castro's book & blog. I've already given the URL. Not going to bother to look it up yet again.

Toxaris
11-30-2011, 02:39 AM
Can you point me to any info on the "mess" that might help educate me. I'm trying to learn all al can.

Just look around this forum, you will find more than you would like...