View Full Version : iPhone optimized eBook formatting


jswinden
01-27-2008, 10:08 PM
I am currently experimenting with ways in which to make eBooks readable on an iPhone. Using PDF files works okay and they can be viewed in Mobile Safari, but navigation is somewhat clunky--to say the least. HTLM seems to be the best, but making an HTML file user-modifiable is not a challenge for the faint of heart. However, after reviewing many of the Apple documents about developing web pages and web applications for the iPhone, I believe I have designed a useful combination of HTML, Javascripts, and cascading style sheets.

I formatted an eBook using this method and it seems to work really well. To save space, I cropped out all of the images so that the entire book can be loaded into Mobile Safari without slowing it down. Images could be included, but the more images the larger the file and thus the slower Mobile Safari will browse. Also, cropping out images allows the book to be downloaded and viewed locally without having to download a folder full of images. Please review this eBook on your iPhone or iPod touch and provide comments. (And yes, it is also viewable in fullsize browsers and perhaps some PDA browsers.)

Benjamin Franklin Autobiography, eBook, HTML optimized for Mobile Safari (494 Kb).
Here's the link to my website and a link directly to the eBook:

http://iphone.w5jck.com/

http://w5jck.com/iphone/ebooks/franklin-autobiography/iPT-Benjamin-Franklin-Autobiography.html

Once I get the formatting as best as I can make it, I will post a how to article on my website. The file currently contains all the javascript and CSS internally so that it can be downloaded and viewed offline, therefore you can view the coding and get an idea of how I created it.

jswinden
02-01-2008, 08:24 PM
I posted a How To article on my website. I also added another eBook.

http://iphone.w5jck.com

atrophic
03-03-2008, 01:44 PM
They are nicely formatted and relatively easy to read. My complaints could easily be fixed by modifying the CSS myself (light text on dark background, larger text, different font, etc.). I like the functionality you get out of javascript with the chapters and the like.

That said, I do like the native Books app better (phone must be jailbroken to use), as it offers several of these features and I've grown accustom to them. It also remembers your place through exits, reboots of the phone, and even when switching back and forth between multiple books, none of which which safari will do for you (I guess it can remember your place through exits, but that isn't very reliable).

I think with the SDK coming out soon we'll see a lot better support for ebooks on the iPhone; I certainly hope so anyway. It's a lot of fun to read on it, but it takes a lot of time for me to format the ebooks I buy into something I can use and enjoy on the phone.

If you're interested in seeing how I've formatted books for reading with the Books application let me know.

jswinden
03-04-2008, 06:45 PM
Thanks. I actually made quite a few improvements in formatting on subsequent eBooks.

But alas, I got tired of Apple's bovine scatterings and decided to sell my iPod touch. I'm glad I sold it as it now looks as though Jobs is going to limit the new applications and how they are distributed so it won't be worth the wait. I never liked the idea of jailbreaking either, and I got tired of the fingerprints and oily smudges too. I used the money to buy a Treo 750. No more bad apples for me--it only takes one to spoil the bushel!!!!!

I've been using Mobipocket for WM6 on my Treo. The screen is small, but it is usable and I've already read two eBooks on it: Team of Rivals and A Briefer History of Time. If I can ever find a Sony Reader in the stores again, I plan to get one.