View Full Version : Creator TOC - Internal or external?


ivoron
06-24-2008, 05:48 PM
I created a Kindle book which (finally!!) looks good and is listed on Amazon. I now am working on doing a Mobipocket version of the same book.
The book consists of many books and has a complicated TOC. I had to hand code the TOC for the Kindle. The TOC for the Kindle is internal.

The first thing I did for the Mobipocket version is I removed the internal TOC so I could generate a TOC with Creator. I briefly glanced through Harry T's Tutorial (will look at it closely later) and noticed that he said that an INTERNAL TOC is the way to go for ebooks. Any thoughts about this? Should I simply use the same file that I used for the Kindle book for the Mobipocket book?

Ronnie

Gideon
06-24-2008, 05:51 PM
Maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying.... but I frequently put my own books together for the Kindle using the MobiGenerator. The ToC I create usually works just great in any Mobi setup (and the Kindle).

ivoron
06-24-2008, 06:06 PM
I should have been more specific.

Because I started with the Kindle book (Kindle does not generate a TOC for you) I had to hand-code the TOC and included it within the book file.

Then when I worked on the Mobipocket version of the book I removed the internal TOC coding and used Mobipocket to generate an separate, external TOC file.

I read in Harry T's tutorial that it is better to have an internal TOC. I may have misunderstood the comment, but read it as saying that it is better to have TOC and book in the same file.

I'll go back and reread the tutorial ...

wallcraft
06-25-2008, 12:50 AM
I suggest trying the Kindle book in Windows MobiPocket Reader (I assume you have a DRM-free version, just change its extension from .azw to .mobi). Most likely it will be fine "as is". If the Kindle showed the TOC in its menus then so should the MOBI version. If the TOC isn't listed under the "Contents" icon, then perhaps you should produce a MOBI-specific version but there are hundreds of MOBI files with only an in-lined TOC (no TOC under contents) and these are perfectly acceptable for most ebooks and may be better in some cases. If an internal TOC was best for the Kindle then it may be best for MOBI too in this case.

If you want DRM, then unfortunately a .mobi file can't be imported into MobiPocket Creator and so you will have to build a new ebook from the HTML (use the .opf if you have one). If the TOC is in-lined then this should be easy.

Hadrien
06-25-2008, 01:59 AM
Usually with Mobipocket files, the best things to do is to create an inline TOC in a separate HTML file and to reference it in your OPF file as such.

HarryT
06-25-2008, 02:22 AM
I honestly don't think it matters either way. Personally I always include the TOC in the main book file (because the tool I use to create books, Book Designer, makes that very easy to do) but using a separate TOC file works equally well. It's really a matter of nothing more than personal preference.

astra
06-25-2008, 04:04 AM
I never use internal TOC for my Sony Reader.
Only external.

HarryT
06-25-2008, 04:13 AM
No, that's a different thing altogether, Astra :).

astra
06-25-2008, 04:19 AM
No, that's a different thing altogether, Astra :).

I am probably missing a point :)

When I said what I said above, I meant that in Sony Reader you can have 2 TOCs.
Internal TOC - the one you create yourself with hyperlinks.
External TOC - the one LRF generates (when you go to book menu, then table of content).

Do the terms have different meanings with mobipocket books?

HarryT
06-25-2008, 04:38 AM
Yes. What we were talking about is whether, at the time that you create the Mobi book, you have the TOC as a part of the main book file (as I do), or whether you prefer to have it as a separate file. Whichever way you do it, it ends up "within" the MobiPocket book - with Mobi there's no concept of an "external" TOC as there is on the Sony.

Different terminology for different devices :).

astra
06-25-2008, 05:24 AM
Ok. I see :)
Thanks for clarification.

tompe
06-25-2008, 07:42 AM
Yes. What we were talking about is whether, at the time that you create the Mobi book, you have the TOC as a part of the main book file (as I do), or whether you prefer to have it as a separate file. Whichever way you do it, it ends up "within" the MobiPocket book - with Mobi there's no concept of an "external" TOC as there is on the Sony.


So what do you call it when you have a TOC that is only accessible through the guide entry? I would call that an external TOC. And I thought this thread was about if you should inline a TOC or have it as an external TOC available through the guide entry.

HarryT
06-25-2008, 07:49 AM
I guess that could indeed count as an "external TOC", but I've never personally come across a MobiPocket book that didn't have a hyperlink to the TOC within the book itself - have you? I agree that one could create such a book, but why would you? Does every device which supports Mobi support Guide items? If not, and you did your TOC that way, you'd have no way to get to it.

The original question was about whether it's a good idea to have a TOC that's in a separate file. I don't think that it really matters whether or not it is, but I can think of absolutely no good reason whatsoever not to have it available within the book, regardless of whether it's a separate file during the build process.

JSWolf
06-25-2008, 08:13 AM
I do generate an internal ToC as well as the external ToC for most LRF eBooks. That means that when I convert to PRC and then IMP, I have a ToC for those formats as well.

HarryT
06-25-2008, 08:16 AM
I do the same, Jon - it's by far the best approach, IMHO.

JSWolf
06-25-2008, 08:18 AM
I have been thinking of moving the internal ToC to the end of the book if it's a bit larger.

JSWolf
06-25-2008, 08:21 AM
One thing I have been doing for the LRF editions recently is make the title Table of Contents also a ToC entry just for the external ToC so if yuou use the external ToC, you can use it to just right to the full internal ToC.

tompe
06-25-2008, 09:06 AM
I guess that could indeed count as an "external TOC", but I've never personally come across a MobiPocket book that didn't have a hyperlink to the TOC within the book itself - have you? I agree that one could create such a book, but why would you? Does every device which supports Mobi support Guide items? If not, and you did your TOC that way, you'd have no way to get to it.


I have seen such books. But I would argue that a link inside the book does not change the situation since it points to a new html document that is packed in the Mobi format. So the TOC is not inside the book.

HarryT
06-25-2008, 10:01 AM
From the viewpoint of the reader of the book, however, it really is pretty irrevelent which way one does it. I would argue that one should always have a way of getting to the TOC from within the book, but that's purely a personal opinion.

JSWolf
06-25-2008, 10:15 AM
To get to the external LRF ToC from inside the book, all it takes is two button presses and you are at the external ToC.

If I was doing an omnibus, I'd have the external LRF ToC point to the other internal ToCs for the different books.

brewt
06-26-2008, 04:07 PM
I think a lot of it depends on what you are using to encode your html source(s).

I still can't keep house without using Word to create the base html pages (with Word TOC functions on those, if necessary) for my book of books, then Conrad Sitemap Creator ( http://www.konradp.com/products/sitemap_creator/ )to create an external TOC to the individual pages.

So I have something that looks like this:



Directory of everything - Name of Book
....html1 - Conrad's Sitemap of everything here and below
....html2 - 2nd book
....html3 - 3rd book - with Word toc for this document only.
......SubDirectory of more stuff - 4th book
...........html4 - 4th book chapter 1
...........html5 - 4th book chapter 2
...........html6 - 4th book chapter 3
......Another SubDirectory of even more stuff - 5th book
...........html7 - 5th book chapter 1
...........html8 - 5th book chapter 2
...........html9 - 5th book chapter 3
......Yet Another SubDirectory with (Can You Believe it) even more stuff imaginable - 6th book
...........html10 - 6th book with lots of chapters all in one doc - With Word toc for this document only


This is sorta what the external toc made by conrad's SiteMap Creator looks like - The links are hot to the sub-folder/files. If there is a toc in those, those are also hot within those documents. If I've named/directoried everything correctly: The name of the sitemap = root directory = name of book collection.

Add the html files in Mobi Creator in the order they show up in the sitemap.

I link in the Conrad html file through the guide as a TOC in MobiPocket Creator. I ditch the built-in toc creator in Mobi - haven't been clever enough to get that to work with Word-built html.

If I have lots of books with lots of chapters, the sub-toc's in the individual files are hidden from the sitemap. Makes for a better abstraction layer for me to re-find my place when I push the wrong button and get lost.......

-bjc

delphidb96
06-26-2008, 07:23 PM
I think a lot of it depends on what you are using to encode your html source(s).

I still can't keep house without using Word to create the base html pages (with Word TOC functions on those, if necessary) for my book of books, then Conrad Sitemap Creator ( http://www.konradp.com/products/sitemap_creator/ )to create an external TOC to the individual pages.

So I have something that looks like this:



Directory of everything - Name of Book
....html1 - Conrad's Sitemap of everything here and below
....html2 - 2nd book
....html3 - 3rd book - with Word toc for this document only.
......SubDirectory of more stuff - 4th book
...........html4 - 4th book chapter 1
...........html5 - 4th book chapter 2
...........html6 - 4th book chapter 3
......Another SubDirectory of even more stuff - 5th book
...........html7 - 5th book chapter 1
...........html8 - 5th book chapter 2
...........html9 - 5th book chapter 3
......Yet Another SubDirectory with (Can You Believe it) even more stuff imaginable - 6th book
...........html10 - 6th book with lots of chapters all in one doc - With Word toc for this document only


This is sorta what the external toc made by conrad's SiteMap Creator looks like - The links are hot to the sub-folder/files. If there is a toc in those, those are also hot within those documents. If I've named/directoried everything correctly: The name of the sitemap = root directory = name of book collection.

Add the html files in Mobi Creator in the order they show up in the sitemap.

I link in the Conrad html file through the guide as a TOC in MobiPocket Creator. I ditch the built-in toc creator in Mobi - haven't been clever enough to get that to work with Word-built html.

If I have lots of books with lots of chapters, the sub-toc's in the individual files are hidden from the sitemap. Makes for a better abstraction layer for me to re-find my place when I push the wrong button and get lost.......

-bjc

Brewt,

Could you post a zip of just one simple novel (html and the toc as created by Sitemap Creator) as an example of what you're talking about?

Derek

brewt
06-27-2008, 02:38 PM
In the attached Zip file is a (very) quick and dirty example.

I raided the .txt versions of the files from Project Gutenberg for James Joyce:
Chamber Music
Dubliners
Ulysses

I then ran them through GutenMark, which produced 2 versions of the files: a single-file, and a chapter-separated set of htmls. I did a minimal cleanup on the single html's - changed quotes to curly quotes, and added a Word-generated TOC.

Next, I built the SiteMap using SiteMap Creator. I cleaned up the sitemap a bit (for some reason, the links only really work after I've run them through Word - maybe I'm not doing something right), and assembled it all in Mobipocket Creator. (Raided and added a couple graphics from Wikipedia).

Packed it all into the attached zip - resultant gutenmarked/slightly touched htmls, sitemap, graphics, opf, prc, etc.

In truth, I'd want to spend more time cleaning up the files, but hey, I was in a hurry.

Here's hoping the toes I've tread on aren't vengeful........

-bjc

delphidb96
06-27-2008, 04:40 PM
In the attached Zip file is a (very) quick and dirty example.

I raided the .txt versions of the files from Project Gutenberg for James Joyce:
Chamber Music
Dubliners
Ulysses

I then ran them through GutenMark, which produced 2 versions of the files: a single-file, and a chapter-separated set of htmls. I did a minimal cleanup on the single html's - changed quotes to curly quotes, and added a Word-generated TOC.

Next, I built the SiteMap using SiteMap Creator. I cleaned up the sitemap a bit (for some reason, the links only really work after I've run them through Word - maybe I'm not doing something right), and assembled it all in Mobipocket Creator. (Raided and added a couple graphics from Wikipedia).

Packed it all into the attached zip - resultant gutenmarked/slightly touched htmls, sitemap, graphics, opf, prc, etc.

In truth, I'd want to spend more time cleaning up the files, but hey, I was in a hurry.

Here's hoping the toes I've tread on aren't vengeful........

-bjc

Thanks. I've just not gotten the hang of creating an external ToC file for Mobigen/Mobipocket Creator. This will help to study your "quick and dirty" example.

Derek

ivoron
06-29-2008, 11:44 AM
Thank you for all your comments and suggestions. I've been away from my computer so haven't been reading the forum.

I wish I'd asked my questions before I did all the work to remove the internal, hand-coded TOC from the files I used to create the Kindle version. The TOC is extensive as the publication consists of 5 books and I had to recode to make the naming of the different TOC levels consistent across the books. (Those who have not worked on the Kindle may not know that you cannot automatically generate the Kindle TOC, it has to be done manually. This meant that I had to hand-code about 1,000+ a-ref's and a-names)

My assumption that the TOC for the Mobipocket book HAD to be external was wrong. After reading just one statement in Harry's tutorial made me realize that I could have used the internal TOC. A real DUH! Thank you Harry!

I have now used the Kindle HTML with its internal hand-coded TOC to create the Mobipocket ebook. This allows me to provide links to each of the five books' table of contents at the beginning of the internal TOC so readers do not have to page through pages and pages of the table of Contents to find the TOC for a particular book. And I have used the Guides to take readers directly to the beginning of each book. A Guide also points to the beginning of the internal TOC.

I hope this description helps someone who may be working on a similar publication. If I'd read something like this when I began my project it would have saved me weeks of unneccesary work.

HarryT
06-29-2008, 12:27 PM
(Those who have not worked on the Kindle may not know that you cannot automatically generate the Kindle TOC, it has to be done manually. This meant that I had to hand-code about 1,000+ a-ref's and a-names)


There are tools that will do it for you. I create all my books using "Book Designer", and that has an excellent tool for automatically generating a TOC from all the titles. Works great!