View Full Version : How do I make my own Ebooks?


Drezin
04-15-2010, 09:21 PM
I've found some material that I would like to make my own files of, but have no idea where to get started. Any suggestions?

Also, I'd be working with a Sony Reader format.

Madam Broshkina
04-15-2010, 09:46 PM
Look here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10313

Hamlet53
04-15-2010, 11:12 PM
You might also want to look at this web site for all the info on what an EPUB file is and how to make one. IMO EPUB is going to be the standard e-book format. http://www.hxa.name/articles/content/epub-guide_hxa7241_2007.html

JSWolf
04-15-2010, 11:16 PM
ePub is your format of choice as it will work on a Sony and non-Sony alike.

BookCat
04-16-2010, 04:28 AM
Is it a Sony format that you're starting with, or that you want? If the latter, and you're working in text, simply use a Word processor. Design a template based on the size of the screen of your Sony; paste in the text; then change the font size to 18pt. Under "file" find "properties" and enter the book's name and author (to show up on the reader), then save as RTF.

Creating templates is easy. Just design it, delete all text, then save as template (it's in the save as drop down box).

Simples. If you get confused, ask Clippy, or whichever Manager you use!

RTF works just fine in a Sony Reader, I use it frequently. You only have problems if there are paragraph breaks where they shouldn't be in the original text. (Often happens with P Gutenberg).

HarryT
04-16-2010, 05:02 AM
Is it a Sony format that you're starting with, or that you want? If the latter, and you're working in text, simply use a Word processor. Design a template based on the size of the screen of your Sony; paste in the text; then change the font size to 18pt. Under "file" find "properties" and enter the book's name and author (to show up on the reader), then save as RTF.


God, no, don't use RTF. It doesn't support hyperlinks, or a table of contents, or pictures, and has very large files. RTF was never intended to be anything else than an "interchange" file format, and that's still what it's best for.

It's very little additional work to produce a "real" eBook.

Toxaris
04-16-2010, 05:11 AM
If you have the cash (or other means...) and you happen to have Indesign, the following links is some tutorial. The second part is more about editing ePub though.

Part 1 (http://www.creativepro.com/files/downloads/InDesignMag_32_ebooks_part1.pdf)
Part 2 (http://www.creativepro.com/files/downloads/InDesignMag_32_ebooks_part2.pdf)

Oh, and I totally agree Harry. RTF is fine, if used in the right context. I use it personally as an intermediate format, never as a end result. It is way to bulky for that.

Ea
04-16-2010, 05:26 AM
God, no, don't use RTF. It doesn't support hyperlinks, or a table of contents, or pictures, and has very large files. RTF was never intended to be anything else than an "interchange" file format, and that's still what it's best for.

It's very little additional work to produce a "real" eBook.
That would depend entirely on what the OP wants and needs to do with the material. If you want to create a 'book' with chapters and hyperlinks, etc., yes. But if you have some short articles, or short fan fiction stories for example - stuff you just want to be able to read on your e-reader without too much hassle - RTF (or PDF created in the right page size) is perfectly adequate. Don't make it more complicated than it needs to be.

BookCat
04-16-2010, 05:45 AM
Oh I disagree. I have a number of books which I've formatted into rtf, and they're probably the nicest looking books I have on my reader. They are divided into chapters, but no, there are no hyperlinks, just page turns, which is all I want when reading. The size is only slightly more than txt, but they go onto an SD card, so this isn't a problem.
The best thing about my rtf books is the layout: no margins, perfect paragraphing, and any font size I choose.

Each to their own, I suppose.

beppe
04-16-2010, 08:25 AM
Most of my private "books" belong to these categories:

Job documents: mostly PDF (1) rarely Word (2)
Web content (90% of the total): I usually save it as HTML (3)

(1) and (3) I put them through Calibre for metadata editing and conversion to epub. Sometimes it does not perform with(1) ,so I go back with the original format. Overall success rate in readibility 100%.

(2) save as RTF, Calibre, epub. And the same as above.

Calibre is very fast.

Table of contents are really a pain in the neck. I have not mastered the trick yet. By far.

The "book" I love most is a collection of meditations of Augustine. Daily. I can navigate it with the search function of the reader. While it would be nice to have a clickable Calendar and a cross index for subjects. If some good soul had any suggestions ...

GhostHawk
04-16-2010, 09:46 AM
For me space is not an issue, just for example I compared a straight .txt file. Then converted it to an .rtf.

461 KB (472,855 bytes) as a text file.
464 KB (475,447 bytes) as an .rtf file.

For my next test I went to manybooks.net and downloaded Jules Verne's 20,000 leagues.
Epub = 278 kb
RTF = 561 kb.
So roughly twice as big. And if your device has limited storage I can see why you would prefer epub. But I have a 4 gig SDHC card in my reader and its only 1/4 full. So why should I care about space?

What I care about is how smoothly it delivers the words.
I don't need pictures of covers, TOC, etc.
Just feed me a new page full of nicely arranged words every time I press the button.

RTF gives me the nicest looking easiest to read books time after time.
Plus I don't have to add on 3rd party software if I want to open one with my computer. Just click on it and its there.

calvin-c
04-16-2010, 02:51 PM
God, no, don't use RTF. It doesn't support hyperlinks, or a table of contents, or pictures, and has very large files. RTF was never intended to be anything else than an "interchange" file format, and that's still what it's best for.

It's very little additional work to produce a "real" eBook.
I agree with most of your issues with RTF, but think that file size is a non-issue these days. Last fall I was able to get terabyte external HD's for $80US. Even in RTF, I can't imagine filling all 3 of the drives I now have (with books, at least-but I also collect emovies which is why I actually got them anyway). I'm sure it would be possible, but I truly can't imagine doing it.

File size is a little more relevant when transferring books (e.g. downloading them) but if I were operating a download site (which I'm not) I'd zip them if they were RTF, just as I would if they were HTML. (And, IIRC, that's basically all ePub is, is a zipped HTML 'archive'.)

Drezin
04-16-2010, 04:06 PM
Since it seems the simplest, and for right now I'm just wanting to do a short story, I'm going to try RTF. If I go for something bigger/more complex, I'll try ePub.

Edit: I just made it, and it looks fantastic. I can't believe how easy that was. I took like three minutes. Thanks for the tip!

cfrizz
04-16-2010, 09:48 PM
Thanks to this thread I figured out how to turn my Word documents into books for transfer to my Sony reader! Thanks.

For those that need to know how, copy Word document into notepad & save. Upload to Sony reader it shows up as plain text.

Ravensknight
04-16-2010, 09:51 PM
or dance around in a circle, with a big bonfire, preferably with deep shadows in the background, and hope ;-)

BookCat
04-17-2010, 05:43 AM
cfrizz, why bother turning rtf into txt? Txt looks awful in readers, it's margins are unjustified and you lose the font formatting.

If you're unsure how to do this, give me a shout and I'll try to upload a Sony Word template to MR. Then you just paste the text in, put details in properties, and save as rtf.

HarryT
04-17-2010, 05:48 AM
Thanks to this thread I figured out how to turn my Word documents into books for transfer to my Sony reader! Thanks.

For those that need to know how, copy Word document into notepad & save. Upload to Sony reader it shows up as plain text.

... and you lose ALL the formatting, which is important in many books. Really, plain text should be your very last choice.

BookCat
04-17-2010, 05:50 AM
:thumbsup: I think we cross-posted, Harry.

HarryT
04-17-2010, 05:51 AM
Oh I disagree. I have a number of books which I've formatted into rtf, and they're probably the nicest looking books I have on my reader. They are divided into chapters, but no, there are no hyperlinks, just page turns, which is all I want when reading. The size is only slightly more than txt, but they go onto an SD card, so this isn't a problem.
The best thing about my rtf books is the layout: no margins, perfect paragraphing, and any font size I choose.

Each to their own, I suppose.

But, with respect, using a tool like "Book Designer", you can convert your RTF file into a "real" LRF eBook which has a table of contents, etc, in two minutes flat. For me personally, that trifling effort is well worth undertaking.

BookCat
04-17-2010, 06:06 AM
But why bother, when I'm happy using Word and don't feel a burning need to have a table of contents?

From what I understand, Book Designer isn't free, and I don't need more programs.

HarryT
04-17-2010, 06:14 AM
BD is entirely free.

Don't get me wrong: I did exactly what you're doing for many years, and was happy with it. And if it's just something you're going to read once and then throw away, it's a very good approach.

The real shortcoming of RTF on the Sony Reader for me was the fact that it didn't handle illustrations. I'm a big fan of 19th century novels, many of which are beautifully illustrated, and I felt that the illustrations added so much to the "feel" of the book, that I wanted them in my eBooks. Hence my desire to wish to create the best-formatted eBooks that I could, complete with TOC, illustrations, a nice cover, and so on. You may have noticed that I've uploaded very many illustrated books here to MR.

Ea
04-17-2010, 07:14 AM
But, with respect, using a tool like "Book Designer", you can convert your RTF file into a "real" LRF eBook which has a table of contents, etc, in two minutes flat. For me personally, that trifling effort is well worth undertaking.
How do you create a TOC if the chapter headings aren't formatted in some way that makes them stand out from the rest of the text so that BookDesigner can recognise what is chapter heading and what is 'ordinary text'? I.e. if chapter headings and text is all the same format.

HarryT
04-17-2010, 08:24 AM
Go through the book, highlight the chapter headings, and give them the "Title" style in BD. The TOC is then automatically generated from the titles.

beppe
04-17-2010, 09:06 AM
Hi Harry,

Please give me a hint on how to solve my problem.

" ... The "book" I love most is a collection of meditations of Augustine. Daily. I can navigate it with the search function of the reader. While it would be nice to have a click-able Monthly Calendar ..."

I have it in html, upub(bed) with Calibre.

Thank you.

beppe
04-17-2010, 09:06 AM
Hi Harry,

Please give me a hint on how to solve my problem.

" ... The "book" I love most is a collection of meditations of Augustine. Daily. I can navigate it with the search function of the reader. While it would be nice to have a click-able Monthly Calendar ..."

I have it in html, upub(bed) with Calibre.

Thank you.

Ea
04-17-2010, 09:11 AM
Go through the book, highlight the chapter headings, and give them the "Title" style in BD. The TOC is then automatically generated from the titles.
As I thought :) Can you do that in two min. flat? ;) I can't, espceially not if the chapters are not given obvious titles such as "Chapter 'n'"

HarryT
04-17-2010, 09:31 AM
As I thought :) Can you do that in two min. flat? ;) I can't, espceially not if the chapters are not given obvious titles such as "Chapter 'n'"

But that is an example of poorly-formatted source material, and that's always going to take longer to deal with. If you have a "normal" book, where the chapters start with "Chapter X", then BD will do it automatically for you. The "exceptional" cases don't change the fact that, for the majority of cases, it really is a very, very quick and easy process.

The list of words that BD recognises as "titles" is configurable, so if you frequently find that you have items which should be recognised as titles, but aren't, you can add them to that list.

HarryT
04-17-2010, 09:32 AM
Hi Harry,

Please give me a hint on how to solve my problem.

" ... The "book" I love most is a collection of meditations of Augustine. Daily. I can navigate it with the search function of the reader. While it would be nice to have a click-able Monthly Calendar ..."

I have it in html, upub(bed) with Calibre.

Thank you.

Do it with hyperlinks. BD has a very good hyperlink editor.

cfrizz
04-17-2010, 09:40 AM
cfrizz, why bother turning rtf into txt? Txt looks awful in readers, it's margins are unjustified and you lose the font formatting.

If you're unsure how to do this, give me a shout and I'll try to upload a Sony Word template to MR. Then you just paste the text in, put details in properties, and save as rtf.

Hi BookCat. Please do that, since I have no clue how to do these things. I was just happy to be able to get them into the reader!

Thanks.

beppe
04-17-2010, 10:21 AM
Do it with hyperlinks. BD has a very good hyperlink editor.

Thanks. I will try.

BookCat
04-21-2010, 01:36 PM
Harry, I agree that the illustrations are a draw-back to using RTF. Thanks for the info that BD is a free program. Might try it sometime.

cfrizz, I'll try to upload the template. Will give you the link to the upload page when I've done this. Will probably put it in the upload section.

BookCat
04-21-2010, 03:54 PM
cfrizz:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?p=880079#post880079

cfrizz
04-21-2010, 09:38 PM
Thank you Bookcat!