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Old 11-25-2007, 07:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
I would like to see an open source alternative to mobigen.exe, but the original may be "good enough". It takes an OEB document (html with a OPF file), or plain HTML, and produces a MOBI file. So the way to produce MobiPocket books is the same as for several of the older e-book formats - start with an actual OEB document and then convert it to the required bastardized commercial OEB variant.
I took your Alice example from the other thread and strangely enough reading in the HTML file annd writing a mobi file using the Perl packages gave me a file were the TOC worked in FBReader. I wonder how it could work. The TOC did not work on my Gen3 but I could read the file.

This was kind of fun so I will play around with it and see what you can easily do.
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:53 AM   #17
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Creating my own books is absolutely vital to me, so I'd never buy a book reader which didn't allow me to create my own books. I don't run Linux (I have Macs and Windows machines) so I, for example, wouldn't buy any reader whose tools ran only under Linux. I'm assuming it's equally true that someone who didn't run Windows wouldn't buy a reader whose creation tools ran only under Windows. That seems pretty reasonable to me!

You have a CyBook Gen3, don't you? How do you create books for it?
I knew that HTML would work so I did not check before I bought the Gen how to create books in mobi format. I have tested running mobigen with wine and it kind of works but I do not like to run programs that I do not have the source for. Now I have managed to generate books using Perl so maybe I do not have to use mobigen anymore.
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:56 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by schmidt349 View Post
What I really wanted to do was convert public-domain XML/SGML versions of ancient Greek and Latin texts into a format that the Kindle could understand so I don't have to carry irreplaceable books around with me. The former's been nixed by the Kindle's complete lack of UTF-8 support (precipitated in part, I shouldn't wonder, by the limitations of the Palm database format) and the latter just doesn't seem worth the effort considering that the conversion would deadend.
Does it not work coding the characters using entities? This works with mobigen and my Gen3 for some entities at least.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:04 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by schmidt349 View Post
The problem lies in the fact that everyone seems to think it's alright to continue to author content in a format that has enormous limitations tied to the fact that it relies on a firmware data format that was never intended to be used the way it is now.
Well, not really. It's not that we think Mobi is anything great. But right now, Mobi is the bird in the hand, while ePub is the two birds in the bush. It's that simple. There are plenty of us here who'd love to see ePub become the defacto standard in e-books, hopefully soon.

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So why hasn't Amazon pledged to support (ePub) in the Kindle?
We're pretty sure that Amazon:
  1. Wanted to move on e-books now;
  2. Didn't want to wait for ePub to become a standard;
  3. Is presently unsure about the new format, and whether it will in fact be adopted by anyone else; and
  4. May be too concerned about content lock to want to delve into a universal format anyway.

It would've been nice if Amazon had taken the initiative to drive ePub, but again, they are a commercial entity, devoted to profit, and they clearly made the decisions that they expect will get them the most profit they can.

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What I really wanted to do was convert public-domain XML/SGML versions of ancient Greek and Latin texts into a format that the Kindle could understand so I don't have to carry irreplaceable books around with me.
That's great! Taking that kind of initiative to optimize the Kindle (or any e-book reader) for your use is just what we like to hear around here!
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:04 AM   #20
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Mobi does support UTF-8 (-unicode switch of mobigen). I'm pretty sure Kindle can read those, but it's possible that the bundled fonts do not have Greek characters.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:19 AM   #21
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I'm thinking they're just following the good old rule: "If it ain't broken, don't fix it".
But to be honest, it is broken. if you have an eink device with a 6" screen or even an iLiad with a larger screen, you can find some of the Mobipocket format books to be totally useless. Mobipocket is a format created originally for PDA sized screens. if you look at Mobi files that contain images, you will find most of the images are tiny. In some cases, too small to be of any use on a larger screen. If these images are important for the book you are trying to read, you will find the book to be useless in that case as the images will be small and possibly fuzzy. I've seen this problem and the thing to do is to purchase MS Reader format books with images and convert.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:31 AM   #22
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Mobi does support UTF-8 (-unicode switch of mobigen). I'm pretty sure Kindle can read those, but it's possible that the bundled fonts do not have Greek characters.
Latin and Greek texts are of great interest to me, too, as you may have seen from some of my past postings.

Latin is no problem, but for ancient Greek you really need to use a format such as PDF which supports embedded fonts, and embed a suitable font into the document. Unicode supports modern Greek, but not the accents and breathing marks required for ancient Greek.

Mobi isn't a good choice of format for ancient Greek.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:46 AM   #23
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Unicode fully supports ancient Greek, of course. What Mobi supports is a different matter.
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Old 11-25-2007, 09:57 AM   #24
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Unicode fully supports ancient Greek, of course. What Mobi supports is a different matter.
But the typical user is highly unlikely to have a font with the appropriate characters in it. What I meant was that the only way to guarantee that the text will be readable by the end user is to embed the font in the document and (AFAIK) Mobi doesn't support font embedding, unlike PDF (and also the Sony Reader too).
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Old 11-25-2007, 10:40 AM   #25
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You know, a large number of people try to claw their eyes out when they first see the insides of a Mobipocket file. I'm glad it didn't happen to you.
I think I am missing something here. I unpacked some Mobipocket file from Manybooks and the HTML looked OK so I assume the HTML do not have to be bad. Then I created a Mobipocket file which contained external references to image files. And in FBReader that worked. But did I really have a Mobipocket file then?

So when Bookeen says that Gen3 supports Mobipocket how do I know what html will work on Gen3? Will things not in the Mobipocket format work if the Gen3 reader happens to understand the unpacked html file?

What I am wondering is if you can take any html file and pack it into the container and have a Mobipocket file or do you have to convert the HTML first to some Mobipocket HTML?

Anyway, my html2mobi script can now take a list of HTML files and automatically generate a table of content and then create one HTML file that is then converted to a mobi file. The next step is to exetend this to follow links to files so I can convert a tree fetched with wget.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:16 AM   #26
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The .epub format is trivial to write an interpreter for. It just has XHTML documents for the text itself, support files (CSS, JS, images in JPEG and GIF), and an easy-to-read XML manifest for the whole thing, all of it wrapped in a ZIP container. All totally industry-standard and the very same stuff we've been running the Web on since 2000.

So why hasn't Amazon pledged to support it in the Kindle?
EPUB also allows "images" in SVG format, which is perhaps pushing the "Web 2000" envelope a bit (but a good addition even so).

Amazon/MobiPocket appears to intend to support EPUB the way they currently support CHM (say). It will be imported into Windows MobiPocket Reader (only) and converted to MOBI. The Kindle could do a similar conversion on Amazon's servers. This is technically a terrible approach, even if MobiPocket upgrades the MOBI format to provide more EPUB compatibility. However, it is understandable from MobiPocket's perspective. When you have support for multiple device types, how do you switch them to a new format? The only possible answer (given limited resources, and an existing code base that probably was not designed for extendability) is first to convert to the old format and second to upgrade the software on each device (one by one) to read the new format natively. I just hope that MobiPocket will get to step two.

The sluggishness of Amazon may provide an opportunity for others. For example, if ETI could productize an e-ink reader that reads EPUB like their prototype apparently does then they might gain a significant advantage. Even Adobe might have a chance if they ever work out how to design a reader interface for Digital Editions that does not suck.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:29 AM   #27
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But the typical user is highly unlikely to have a font with the appropriate characters in it. What I meant was that the only way to guarantee that the text will be readable by the end user is to embed the font in the document and (AFAIK) Mobi doesn't support font embedding, unlike PDF (and also the Sony Reader too).
epub supports font embedding, also. When the Sony has Digital Editions and when the Cybook supports epub, ancient Greek will be no problem.
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Old 11-25-2007, 11:37 AM   #28
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epub supports font embedding, also. When the Sony has Digital Editions and when the Cybook supports epub, ancient Greek will be no problem.
It's not a problem on the Sony as it is, because Sony's LRF format supports font embedding. I uploaded an ancient Greek version of book 1 of Homer's "Odyssey" to the "Book Uploads" section a few months ago as an example of this.
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Old 11-25-2007, 12:57 PM   #29
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Here's a point I'd like to make, even if it's not entirely relevant to this thread. Why the endlessly reiterated insistence, in these forums, that PDF is an awful, horrible format for ebooks? The LRF format may support font embedding, but the applications for generating LRF output (I say as a bystander, not having given one a good try myself) seem to have severe typographic limitations. So I think PDF support is a necessity in an ebook (or etext) reading device, unless all you want is something like what I take the Kindle to be, a sort of pricey, branded shopping bag for commercial ebooks in this or that currently popular crippled format.
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Old 11-25-2007, 01:02 PM   #30
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Latin and Greek texts are of great interest to me, too, as you may have seen from some of my past postings.

Latin is no problem, but for ancient Greek you really need to use a format such as PDF which supports embedded fonts, and embed a suitable font into the document. Unicode supports modern Greek, but not the accents and breathing marks required for ancient Greek.
PDF isn't a good choice of format for anything except replicating paper documents, which is a fine application and very useful but not so much so for e-texts. If you use JSTOR to get your journal fix you know what I mean: they do a really phenomenal job of replicating exactly what you'd get if you had access to the journals in print, but you can't really do anything cool and electronic with them. Reflowing, for instance, is key for electronic distribution, for which reason the "page" as a milestone has to go away.

Many journals, especially in the sciences, use TeX for typesetting, so there's a very easy and rapid path to reflowable text for them.

The Perseus project just made all of their public-domain texts available in XML, which is the academic standard for manipulation of documents. As an interchange format you really don't get much better. The bottom line is that I need to transform these documents via XSLT into something suitable for e-readers, but the Kindle throws up way too many roadblocks.

Most of the big document databases (see a big listing here) use XML for document interchange for the best of reasons. So what you have here is the e-book world being completely divorced from the academic world, which is probably not a good means for ensuring its long-term survivability.

Sigh.
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