View Full Version : Please help me put together an ebook.


Boomstick
01-01-2010, 03:37 PM
Hi,

First time poster (though I have been reading various things here for a while), so if this is in the wrong section, I apologise in advance.

I'm planning on creating a book for recipes I like (for use on my PRS-505) and am having a bit of trouble sorting the layout/formatting. I was originally planning on creating a bog standard PDF from scanned images from magazines & books but then realised that I might have multiple recipes on a page, some of which I won't want or single recipes spread over multiple pages.

So having thought about it, decided to go with the ePUB format being that it's the standard filetype. Having searched the intarwebs for creation guides I stumbled upon the Atlantis Word Processor linked in another thread on this forum (maybe this post should go in there?).

The layout I was hoping to achieve for my book is something a lil' bit like this: (I see no need for a title page really, so on with the first page)

------------------------------------------------------------------
Recipe Index (Page title, not book title)

Mains:


Meat Dishes
Pasta Dishes
Vegetarian Dishes
Pies
ETC




Desserts:

Cakes
Cheesecakes
ETC


Muffins & Cupcakes:

Sweet
Savoury


Soups:

Meat
Vegetarian
Fish


Snacks, Sides & Extras:

Stuff
Stuff
ETC

-------------------------------------------------------

The above would be all on the first page. Page two is meat dishes with all relevant hyperlinks. (Here's where I would like a hint; should I then have page three as pasta dishes with all relevant hyperlinks or should I have it as the start of the meat dish recipes - and have the pasta dishes follow that?)

Clicking on Meat Dishes leads to another page listing all the meat dishes (obviously), listed as hyperlinks linking to the individual recipes. (It would be the same for all the other sections).


That's how I would like it laid out. I've attempted this many times and for some reason always cock it up at various points.

A few questions:

1). What are the screen dimensions of the PRS-505? If it's at all possible, I would like to have each recipe contained on each 505 screen display and not spread over multiple pages (so one page in the ePUB is one page on the 505.

2). Is it possible to set the file so that when I add in recipes, that the recipes that follow it shift a complete page and don't then take over two pages.

3). Is it possible to have a hyperlink linking back to two different sections? There may be recipes that are suitable in more than one category.

Thanks in advance, I hope I've made sense. If you have any further questions, ask away. I just hope I can answer them.

erik5000
01-02-2010, 12:45 PM
Hm.. A page is a concept for paper books. In eBooks, jumping about and scrolling are the key concepts: with links, you can hop around a book, from recipe to recipe, and by scrolling, you can put the title at the top of the screen. A screen is not a page. It's a window on the book's content. I'd drop the idea of a page, if I were you.

Screen size: From the WIKI: portrait: 90.6 x 122.4 mm (3.57" x 4.82"), 600 x 800 pixels | effective 88.2 x 115.4 mm (3.47 x 4.54 in), 584 x 754 pixels | for the Pictures application effective resolution is 600 x 766 pixels

How do you imagine a link to two different locations to work ? how would anyone, including any computer, know where to go ?
Q: "I wanna go from Berlin to Paris"
A: "OK: go west AND south, young man !".

If you wanna go to two places, use two links.

But you want two links to ONE location: a veggie-rice dish goes into the list of both the rice dishes AND in the list of veg.dishes. And THAT is no problem: just make the two url-links.
Q: "I want to go from Berlin to Paris or from Athens to Paris"
A: "Ok here are the two answers: From Berlin to Paris, you first go...etc..And when you want to travel from Athens to Paris, you go....etc..."

Boomstick
01-02-2010, 02:43 PM
Thanks, that all makes perfect sense but I'm about to bin off the idea completely as I've spent hours working on the table of contents and no matter what I do it just wipes out all the formatting when I set it to update the TOC.

How do I keep all the formatting I've created?

erik5000
01-02-2010, 03:49 PM
Scanning pages will give you a HUGE book: megabytes. I dunno what is possible at your side, but I'll tell you what I did.
I had a PDF of a computer-related book of some 500 pages. With NITRO I made an HTML file of that. Then with a flat-text-editior, I stripped out all the unnecessary formatting (and that was A LOT!). Then I diveded the file into sections, corresponding to the Sections of the book. Thus I had some 18 html files. Then I made <H> tags for all the chapters and paragraphs, corresponding to the TOC structure.
With SNAG-IT, I took out the pictures and inserted them in the HTML files.
From the resulting html files I generated the NCX end .OPF file. I built an ANT script and a Perl script to do this automatically, but hand-work is possible.
The fact, that the book was all in HTML means, you can easily format it like any web page: chapres, headings, bullet lists etc.. all in HTML.
Then I zipped up the HTML and CSS files et voila: an epub.
Mind you: IT IS A LOT OF WORK , making the html's!
If you have access to dreamweaver, you could use that to do your lay-out, i guess. But HTML is the way to go...

Boomstick
01-02-2010, 05:15 PM
I'm not going for the scanning in pages route. I shall go through my books and magazines for the recipes I want to include, then search the internet for that same recipe, if I can find it I will copy the text and add it to my recipe document. If I can't find it, I'll scan it in using OCR, strip out and correct any text and add it in that way.

Anyways, I think I have it sorted now. One further question (and I'll reiterate that I'm using Atlantis):

I've pretty much sorted the TOC now (thank God) but is it at all possible to add text to the TOC that doesn't show up within it (on the ereader) but does show up when viewing the title page?

Let me explain a bit better:

On clicking the book title from the PRS-505 menu, then clicking the Table of Contents option, it lists:

Title Page
Mains
Meat Dishes
Fish Dishes
Vegetarian Dishes
Pasta Dishes
Pies
Desserts
Cakes
Cheesecakes
Muffins
Sweet
Savoury
Soups
Meat
Fish
Vegetarian
Snacks, Soups & Sides

Is it possible to omit those above in italics, from the TOC, but when I click the Begin option from the 505 menu, it lists them all on that page? I don't necessarily need those italicised words clickable from that first page, but I'd like them there to separate the food types.

erik5000
01-03-2010, 06:24 AM
You are talking about the .NCX file, I guess.
I don't think you can do that. I found that ereaders are rather strict on the NCX and OPF file.
You could experiment a bit with the navLabel entry, fi. a blank <text></text> part, or maybe even with the <content... part.
But I don't know for sure.
You know about nesting the navPoints ? You can make a two or three level TOC that way, having each next level "explode" on a click.

Of course, you could make your own toc.html, apart from the NCX. Then you are free (within XHTML/CSS) to build whatever you want...

Boomstick
01-03-2010, 10:48 AM
I assume you're taking about editing the actual ePUB file, I have no idea how to edit that to do what I want. I'm having enough trouble working with Atlantis.

Thanks for all your help so far though. It really is appreciated.

erik5000
01-04-2010, 07:27 AM
Atlantis, I read, can generate two different TOC's: The one that shows in Adobe Digital Editions, on the left side, and an HTML TOC, that will show as a page.
The first one, you have little control over. The second one is placed in the epub file along with your text files and can be edited (eg. with Notepad) to your liking, AFTER the epub is generated.

unzip your epub and see what it consists of. That clarifies a lot.

It's a common problem with these fantastic systems that promise to do everything for you: the downside is, that you lose control.

delphidb96
01-04-2010, 05:24 PM
Thanks, that all makes perfect sense but I'm about to bin off the idea completely as I've spent hours working on the table of contents and no matter what I do it just wipes out all the formatting when I set it to update the TOC.

How do I keep all the formatting I've created?

Are you *naming* your jump links? In other words, are you giving unique names within Atlantis to each recipe's start point? (#DessertsAlexsScrumptiousChocolateChiffon vs. #Chiffon?)

Also, are you specifically inserting a page break at the front of each recipe? (CTRL-Enter) so that when you insert a recipe, it will flow properly? I *loathe* ebooks that don't have page-breaks between chapters and each recipe is a 'chapter'. And have you thought to put a section page in for each main (what you've italicized) section - say a blurb such as:

Desserts

Here I've collected a group of desserts, ranging from 'a child can make it' simple to 'oh my God, how can anyone expect to master this?' complex. In here you will find my favorites of today as well as my and my family's favorites from years past.

While the above example is simple, it should give you some ideas. Personally, I would not be offended if the 'blurb' under the section header went on for a page or two if there are several different kinds and categories to follow.

Derek

Boomstick
01-05-2010, 03:57 PM
Are you *naming* your jump links? In other words, are you giving unique names within Atlantis to each recipe's start point? (#DessertsAlexsScrumptiousChocolateChiffon vs. #Chiffon?)
I was not editing the heading styles at the time but I have that all sorted now.


Also, are you specifically inserting a page break at the front of each recipe? (CTRL-Enter) so that when you insert a recipe, it will flow properly? I *loathe* ebooks that don't have page-breaks between chapters and each recipe is a 'chapter'.
That is exactly what I was after. Thank you so much.

And have you thought to put a section page in for each main (what you've italicized) section - say a blurb such as:

Desserts

Here I've collected a group of desserts, ranging from 'a child can make it' simple to 'oh my God, how can anyone expect to master this?' complex. In here you will find my favorites of today as well as my and my family's favorites from years past.

While the above example is simple, it should give you some ideas. Personally, I would not be offended if the 'blurb' under the section header went on for a page or two if there are several different kinds and categories to follow.

Derek

As the book is primarily for my use, to cut down on piles and piles of magazines, books and printed web pages, I don't really see the need for a blurb or section descriptions. Thanks for the idea though, it's something I'll bear in mind.

I have another question: I've got the template down and sorted and everything works fine but I have an idea to make it a bit better but am unsure if it's even possible.

Reading the help guide for Atlantis, it mentions that it's possible to have multiple TOCs. My idea is this:

Opening the main TOC menu opens up a list with:

Title Page
Mains: Meat
Mains: Fish
Mains: Vegetarian
ETC
ETC
And so on
And so forth

Is it possible to set each of those options as a TOC? So clicking on Mains: Meat would open another TOC menu listing all the recipes under that section, then I can utilise the buttons down the right hand side of my eReader as each button would link to a specific recipe.

delphidb96
01-05-2010, 05:17 PM
I was not editing the heading styles at the time but I have that all sorted now.


That is exactly what I was after. Thank you so much.



As the book is primarily for my use, to cut down on piles and piles of magazines, books and printed web pages, I don't really see the need for a blurb or section descriptions. Thanks for the idea though, it's something I'll bear in mind.

I have another question: I've got the template down and sorted and everything works fine but I have an idea to make it a bit better but am unsure if it's even possible.

Reading the help guide for Atlantis, it mentions that it's possible to have multiple TOCs. My idea is this:

Opening the main TOC menu opens up a list with:

Title Page
Mains: Meat
Mains: Fish
Mains: Vegetarian
ETC
ETC
And so on
And so forth

Is it possible to set each of those options as a TOC? So clicking on Mains: Meat would open another TOC menu listing all the recipes under that section, then I can utilise the buttons down the right hand side of my eReader as each button would link to a specific menu.

Actually, I *DID* do a mutiple-HTML-page TOC once. It worked. Basically, I made a main TOC for the major sections of a tech book and then broke out the chapters for each section into their own TOC html and linked the section titles in the main TOC html to the various related sub-TOCs. Then I linked the sub-TOC chapters to their respective sections within the main document. Worked decently. Of course, this was back when it required exporting the TOCs and the main book as HTML and running the whole thing through Mobipocket Creator - don't know how Atlantis will handle it going straight to epub. :D

Derek

Boomstick
01-05-2010, 07:02 PM
Haha. I think I'll have to leave it then. I can only just about edit the most basic of HTML pages. Having looked at the TOC HTML file within the ePUB, well, that just confuses the hell out of me.

delphidb96
01-06-2010, 03:36 PM
Haha. I think I'll have to leave it then. I can only just about edit the most basic of HTML pages. Having looked at the TOC HTML file within the ePUB, well, that just confuses the hell out of me.

What you do is create your main and sub TOCs in Atlantis and then 'Save Special' as individual web pages. That is easy.

Derek