View Full Version : Do you create a hyperlinked TOC for your ePubs in iBooks?


katiesommer
01-17-2013, 04:15 PM
I'm wondering if anyone creates a page with a linked TOC (with an actual Table of Contents page, containing links to parts of the ePub like "Chapter 1," "Chapter 2," etc.) in their ePub when creating it for ITP and iBooks.

I successfully (?? I hope) created one in InDesign that is perfect in ADE, but I'm not sure if this somehow transfers over into iBooks, or if it's common practice to just include a real TOC in iBook ePubs. Maybe nobody cares about something like that with iBooks. But that's what I did for the others in Smashwords and Kobo, etc.

Hope this makes sense and isn't too elementary. It's my first go-around with ITP and iBooks and so far it's giving me migraines. :p

Thank you.

KS

JSWolf
01-17-2013, 06:50 PM
You don't need a ToC like that. All you need is an NCX ToC which can easily be created in Sigil.

In ePub, the list of links (called a ToC) is messy. It looks messy and it rather useless as there is no easy way to get back there unless you know the page number. With an NCX based ToC, you have an easy way to get to it. It looks better and is the correct way to do a ToC in an ePub eBook.

mrmikel
01-17-2013, 07:12 PM
If you use Sigil, it can generate an ncx TOC and HTML TOC by selecting from a drop down menu.

Both rely on using <h1-6> for chapter headings and the like.

One thing I used to do to make it easier to navigate was to make each chapter head a link back to the TOC.

JSWolf
01-17-2013, 07:15 PM
If you use Sigil, it can generate an ncx TOC and HTML TOC by selecting from a drop down menu.

Both rely on using <h1-6> for chapter headings and the like.

One thing I used to do to make it easier to navigate was to make each chapter head a link back to the TOC.

I find that linking back to the internal ToC is awful looking. Plus, I strip that out and curse the author for allowing it. Don't do it. Please don't ever do it.

katiesommer
01-17-2013, 07:36 PM
Thank you. I do not use Sigil.

Well, I tested out the ePub I created and exported with InDesign on my iPhone and it works beautifully with the table of contents available via that button on the top of iBooks. So that's good.

Turtle91
01-17-2013, 08:43 PM
I know you specifically mentioned iBooks, but I was reading the Amazon Kindle publishing guidelines - and while the ePub doesn't need it, Amazon really wants an inline HTML TOC in there...

3.3 Table of Contents Guidelines
Amazon strongly recommends the use of an HTML TOC for all books that would benefit from this navigation feature. This applies to most books, with the exception of fixed-layout children's books (see section 4) and fixed-layout graphic novels/manga/comics (see section 5).
...yada yada...with guidelines on how to do it.

I'm assuming that Amazon enforces their guidelines??
I would check the iBooks guidelines to see if Apple requires anything similar.

JSWolf
01-18-2013, 02:53 PM
What could be done is to make a copy of the ePub. Load the copy into Sigil, add in the internal ToC and send that to Amazon. Use the ePub without the internal ToC as the one for everyone else.

dgatwood
01-18-2013, 05:21 PM
I'm wondering if anyone creates a page with a linked TOC (with an actual Table of Contents page, containing links to parts of the ePub like "Chapter 1," "Chapter 2," etc.) in their ePub when creating it for ITP and iBooks.

I successfully (?? I hope) created one in InDesign that is perfect in ADE, but I'm not sure if this somehow transfers over into iBooks, or if it's common practice to just include a real TOC in iBook ePubs. Maybe nobody cares about something like that with iBooks. But that's what I did for the others in Smashwords and Kobo, etc.



Depends. If you plan to convert to Kindle, they pretty much require that you include one:

"Amazon strongly recommends the use of an HTML TOC for all books that would benefit from this navigation feature. This applies to most books, with the exception of fixed-layout children's books (see section 4) and fixed-layout graphic novels/manga/comics (see section 5)." (Kindle Publishing Guidelines, p.14.)


Barnes and Noble seems to suggest that it is a good idea:

"It is helpful to have a Contents Page in the eBook, even if there is not one present in the print version. The ebook Contents Page is linked to the individual chapters and helps with ebook navigation." (PubIt! ePub Formatting Guide, p.4.)


Apple's guidelines don't mention an HTML table of contents at all.

My advice would be to decide whether people are likely to access your content nonlinearly. If it's a fiction book, the answer is usually "no". If it is anything else, the answer is usually "yes".

Either way, include it, but if you don't think readers will actually use it, set linear="no" or put it at the end of the book. That way, kindlegen sees it and can use it to make navigation better on Kindle devices (which AFAIK don't support NCX navigation beyond next-chapter/previous-chapter jumping).

Also note that even on Kindle devices that provide an actual TOC-like representation, the NCX view is single-level. If you have a multi-level TOC, you might want to consider making your HTML TOC be linear.

JSWolf
01-18-2013, 05:27 PM
Depends. If you plan to convert to Kindle, they pretty much require that you include one:

"Amazon strongly recommends the use of an HTML TOC for all books that would benefit from this navigation feature. This applies to most books, with the exception of fixed-layout children's books (see section 4) and fixed-layout graphic novels/manga/comics (see section 5)." (Kindle Publishing Guidelines, p.14.)


Barnes and Noble seems to suggest that it is a good idea:

"It is helpful to have a Contents Page in the eBook, even if there is not one present in the print version. The ebook Contents Page is linked to the individual chapters and helps with ebook navigation." (PubIt! ePub Formatting Guide, p.4.)


Apple's guidelines don't mention an HTML table of contents at all.

My advice would be to decide whether people are likely to access your content nonlinearly. If it's a fiction book, the answer is usually "no". If it is anything else, the answer is usually "yes".

Either way, include it, but if you don't think readers will actually use it, set linear="no" or put it at the end of the book. That way, kindlegen sees it and can use it to make navigation better on Kindle devices (which AFAIK don't support NCX navigation beyond next-chapter/previous-chapter jumping).

Also note that even on Kindle devices that provide an actual TOC-like representation, the NCX view is single-level. If you have a multi-level TOC, you might want to consider making your HTML TOC be linear.

Then HTML ToC is needed in the ePub when the ePub is going to be converted to Kindle eBooks. But other then that, you don't need one. Have it for the ePub going to Amazon, but not in the ePub that's for sale.

As for Barnes & Noble, they suggest a ToC and in that case, the NCX ToC is what should be used. B&N does not say there should be an HTML ToC. B&N sell ePub. ePub's best ToC is the NCX ToC.

As for Apple, the NCX ToC is all you need there too.

dgatwood
01-18-2013, 07:50 PM
Then HTML ToC is needed in the ePub when the ePub is going to be converted to Kindle eBooks. But other then that, you don't need one. Have it for the ePub going to Amazon, but not in the ePub that's for sale.

As for Barnes & Noble, they suggest a ToC and in that case, the NCX ToC is what should be used. B&N does not say there should be an HTML ToC. B&N sell ePub. ePub's best ToC is the NCX ToC.

As for Apple, the NCX ToC is all you need there too.

It's all you need, yes. That doesn't mean there's any reason to create a separate version of your EPUB file solely to rip out the TOC, though. :)

Something else to consider: Going forward, the NCX TOC is optional for EPUB 3, and the HTML TOC will be required. Not that anybody should be seriously considering shipping EPUB 3 books yet, mind you, but at some point, you'll probably want to revisit the decision if you provide only an NCX TOC.

JSWolf
01-18-2013, 08:12 PM
But in ePub 2, there is NO link to get to an HTML ToC. There is a way to easily get to the NCX ToC. In ePub 3, there will be an easy way to get to the ePub 3 version of the ToC. It's that we should be using the official ePub ToC and not clutter with an extra ToC that we don't need.

dgatwood
01-18-2013, 08:38 PM
But in ePub 2, there is NO link to get to an HTML ToC.

Actually, that's not true. See section 2.6 of the 2.0.1 spec:


2.6: Guide

Within the package there may be one guide element, containing one or more reference elements. The guide element identifies fundamental structural components of the publication, to enable Reading Systems to provide convenient access to them.

For example:


<guide>
<reference type="toc" title="Table of Contents"
href="toc.html" />
<reference type="loi" title="List Of Illustrations"
href="toc.html#figures" />
<reference type="other.intro" title="Introduction"
href="intro.html" />
</guide>


That type="toc" is what Amazon's kindlegen looks for when it wants an HTML TOC. How a particular reader chooses to use the guide element is entirely implementation-dependent, of course.

JSWolf
01-18-2013, 08:44 PM
That's a hack. It's not actually built into the reading software. Also, it's worthless. I'm already at the ToC, why would I then want to go to the HTML ToC? I would not. There's no reason. It just takes up a line on the screen that's better used to a real ToC entry.

DiapDealer
01-18-2013, 08:51 PM
Jon's just in full "no inline tocs in epubs" phase right now. He's got about 4 or 5 standard crusades he likes to alternate between.

Most people who have no use for inline tocs are perfectly content to simply never utilize them. ;)

pholy
01-18-2013, 11:13 PM
On the other hand, some of us like to page through an ebook from cover to first page of text, and finding an inline toc does give me some idea of how long or involved a book will be. I may not ever look at it again, and I still finding it that first tiem through.

One should never confuse Jon's opinions with universal truths. -- Sorry, Jon, sometimes your cursades irritate me. Sometime I do agree with you, though.

davidfor
01-19-2013, 06:00 AM
On the other hand, some of us like to page through an ebook from cover to first page of text, and finding an inline toc does give me some idea of how long or involved a book will be. I may not ever look at it again, and I still finding it that first tiem through.

I'm with you on this. I have always read my pbooks from cover to cover. And I still do that for ebooks. I'm annoyed that my Kobo ereaders don't open the book at the cover. I can see why you would do it, but I'd prefer to start from the cover. So, I have no hassle with having an in-line TOC. Especially for short story collections.

GMcG
01-19-2013, 03:27 PM
@mrmikel
'One thing I used to do to make it easier to navigate was to make each chapter head a link back to the TOC.'
@davidfor
'So, I have no hassle with having an in-line TOC. Especially for short story collections.'

I prefer an HTML ToC as part of the book. With an inline ToC you can navigate within the book, you don't need a button of the device.
In my collection of short stories I have a backlink to the ToC at the *end* of each story. If you make the *head* of the chapter a link to the ToC you have to scroll back to the beginning of the chapter before you can click on the link. I think this is not so useful, especially if there are some pages to go back.

George

JSWolf
01-19-2013, 07:25 PM
On the other hand, some of us like to page through an ebook from cover to first page of text, and finding an inline toc does give me some idea of how long or involved a book will be. I may not ever look at it again, and I still finding it that first tiem through.

One should never confuse Jon's opinions with universal truths. -- Sorry, Jon, sometimes your cursades irritate me. Sometime I do agree with you, though.

Go wade through the internal ToC for an average James Patterson book. It tells you really nothing about how long it might be and it's a large list of around 100 or so chapters.

pholy
01-20-2013, 10:02 AM
Go wade through the internal ToC for an average James Patterson book. It tells you really nothing about how long it might be and it's a large list of around 100 or so chapters.

What it tells me is that JP can't write a well organized novel, so now I have another reason not to bother with his stuff... same problem I had with the Mistborn trilogy.

Bad examples don't make the case. In any event, it's all a matter of opinion.

davidfor
01-21-2013, 01:39 AM
Go wade through the internal ToC for an average James Patterson book. It tells you really nothing about how long it might be and it's a large list of around 100 or so chapters.

If that is just a list of 100 chapter numbers, then dropping it is OK to me. But, it also just means a few taps on the screen to me so including it doesn't worry me.

If he has titles for each chapter, I'd be less willing to loose it from the book. I consider looking at that, part of reading the book.

If it was a collection of 100 short stores, I would definitely want to see it there.