View Full Version : Errors when submitting epubs to iBookstore

03-01-2012, 08:28 PM
I have a bit of a tricky situation. You see, I didn't write the book. That was my boss. And I didn't make the epub. It was made by a guy who works somewhere else (I know him by voice alone). But I got the job of submitting, because that's always my job. And when I told him that there were errors, he told me, "I'm a mortal graphic designer, I don't know what this gibberish means!". So I tried to figure it out myself, and discovered that I have no means of even trying. I thought I could open the file as XML and edit it... Guess what, it's not XML.

Anyway, I called him and asked what he used to do it. Turned out he used Calibre to convert a PDF to an ePub. Apple mentions Calibre by name as a Bad Idea.

So what is a Good Idea? What is the fastest, cheapest and easiest (choose any two, I know) to get past this nonsense?

The errors themselves (one for one book, the other for another):

"index_split_000.html(13): element "img" missing required attribute "alt". This error occurs 9017 times." at Book (MZItmspBookPackage)

ERROR: ERROR ITMS-9000: "content.opf(10): attribute "opf:file-as" not allowed here; expected attribute "id" or "xml:lang"" at Book (MZItmspBookPackage)

03-01-2012, 11:01 PM
It's not an xml file. It's a zip file with a bunch of xml and xhtml files inside of it. If you rename the file .zip instead of .epub, you can open it up. But still, to fix it, you will need to know how to tweak html and css and my guess is that the code will be a bit of a mess. Then you will need to zip it back up and rename it epub. If you are on a Mac, you need to use terminal or a script to do this.

The person who converted the pdf to epub via Calibre doesn't sound like a pro to me. Not only is Calibre not the right software for publishing (it's more for personal use) but PDF is probably the worst format for converting to an epub file. I assume, since it was written by your boss, that you have the original source (e.g., Word file, InDesign file, etc.) from which the PDF was created. That would be the ideal starting point. It seems like you may need some help with this. If you don’t want to tackle this yourself, there are many graphic designers on here who specialize in ebooks and can provide assistance. I am one of these and would be happy to offer my services.

My web site is Take a look. If you like what you see, send me a message and I can give you a quote on your book. If it is straight text, that's pretty easy to convert and not that expensive. If it has a lot of images and tables and such, that will be a bit more but I can't say until I have seen it.

03-02-2012, 12:20 AM
Oh and just a clue as to what the error messages mean - 1) the epub validator requires an alt attribute for each image, some text describing your image. It would look like this: alt="some text about your image". 2) This is an error in line 10 of your content.opf file. All epubs have this file. It tells the reading device important information about your book including meta data and a manifest of the contents of the book. This is clearly an erroneous attribute in one of the tags. Easy enough to fix if I knew what the tag was. If these are the only two errors with the book (even though there are 9017 of one of them), and it looks okay otherwise, I can probably fix your existing book without going back to the source and redoing the whole thing, which of course would be much cheaper than doing a full conversion.

03-02-2012, 02:20 AM
Turned out he used Calibre to convert a PDF to an ePub. Apple mentions Calibre by name as a Bad Idea.

This is funny (although not for you...). As stated earlier, PDF is the worst format to convert from most of the time. It actually depends on the PDF.
Try to get a non-PDF file to start from and fire the designer. He does not know what he is doing and if he delivers something, he needs to fix it. I assume he is paid to deliver a working e-book.
If the source cannot be better than a PDF, consider running it through OCR.

I think it is very funny that Apple mentions Calibre as Bad Idea. Who is Apple to say so? Calibre follows the ePUB standard much better than Apple themselves with their iTunes and iBooks crap.

About the error, the images are wrongly in the xhtml files. There is missing an attribute. If you say that there are 9017 messages about this, than it is quite a large book with an enormous amount of images. More likely, things are identified as image but are actually not.

You could try loading the book in Sigil and save it again. That should solve the messages regarding alt=.

03-02-2012, 09:10 AM
Well, don't hate the designer. His normal job is totally different, and ebooks are as much his first time as mine. He usually makes pictures, and he's damn good at it.

03-02-2012, 02:18 PM
If he agrees to make an ebook, he should also solve the errors and not put them on someone else. That is just bad form.

03-02-2012, 02:46 PM
Exactly. I think it was "I'm a mortal graphic designer, I don't know what this gibberish means!" that made me doubt his good intentions and sense of responsibility to the project. I would never say that to a client. If he didn't know, he could Google or come on here and ask around -- like you're doing.