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Old 02-23-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
SoonerJim
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Problem with ePub - blank space around images

Good morning from foggy Central Texas. I am using Writer2EPub to "digitize" a children's book my wife and I did a couple years ago. Everything works fine, except that I have lots of blank space around graphics, sometimes as much as a whole Nook Color screen. I've been reading about Sigil and I think it could help me fine tune the ePub file so it will look OK. Am I reading it right?

Thanks a lot,

Jim
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by SoonerJim View Post
Good morning from foggy Central Texas. I am using Writer2EPub to "digitize" a children's book my wife and I did a couple years ago. Everything works fine, except that I have lots of blank space around graphics, sometimes as much as a whole Nook Color screen. I've been reading about Sigil and I think it could help me fine tune the ePub file so it will look OK. Am I reading it right?

Thanks a lot,

Jim
Did you make the book on your computer or is it a actual book that your are scanning into your computer. IF it is a book you actually made on your computer, you might want to try Calibre (has its own sub-forum on this very forum) to convert it from your books file type to ePub and see if it will make the book like you want it.

But yes, Sigil can do what you want it to do, just that if its real bad on the code, you will have to go in and re-write that to make it look like you want it, which can be very tiresome if you do not know HTML/XHTML.

If you try Calibre and it still comes out looking like what you have, if you dont mind posting up a copy on the forums or if you don't want to post it, just write me up a private message and send it to me and I'll see what I can do in my free time to the book. Won't be any this week, but I'll have a few days off from work next week and see what i can do
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:26 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Firepong View Post
Did you make the book on your computer or is it a actual book that your are scanning into your computer. IF it is a book you actually made on your computer, you might want to try Calibre (has its own sub-forum on this very forum) to convert it from your books file type to ePub and see if it will make the book like you want it.

But yes, Sigil can do what you want it to do, just that if its real bad on the code, you will have to go in and re-write that to make it look like you want it, which can be very tiresome if you do not know HTML/XHTML.

If you try Calibre and it still comes out looking like what you have, if you dont mind posting up a copy on the forums or if you don't want to post it, just write me up a private message and send it to me and I'll see what I can do in my free time to the book. Won't be any this week, but I'll have a few days off from work next week and see what i can do
Thanks for writing! The book was a gift for our granddaughter, and it was a big hit with our family and friends. Originally we did it with Blurb's software, uploaded it to their site, and ordered books there. You still can, here's a link to a preview: http://www.blurb.com/books/916964. I saved a text file with the story, in case we ever wanted to do something else. That was before Kindle and Nook arrived. I started building the OpenOffice file with my text file and the pictures we had used for Blurb. The problem with the pictures is, they're free hand drawings my wife made. When we scanned them, the files were huge, some as large as 7 or 8 MB. I pasted them into containers on Blurb's program, then it resized them for me. I tried resizing/re-sampling, but they are not of uniform size, shape, or color density, so it's been a challenge. I'm guessing that the ePub converter is choking on the irregular picture sizes and dimensions and inserting blank space is how it deals with it. Maybe not.

As to HTML/XHTML, I have been working on learning how to code. I'm still a novice, but I'm really motivated to finish the book and get it out onto the market. Whatever I need to do to finish the job and make the best book possible is OK with me. /Jim
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by SoonerJim View Post
Thanks for writing! The book was a gift for our granddaughter, and it was a big hit with our family and friends. Originally we did it with Blurb's software, uploaded it to their site, and ordered books there. You still can, here's a link to a preview: http://www.blurb.com/books/916964. I saved a text file with the story, in case we ever wanted to do something else. That was before Kindle and Nook arrived. I started building the OpenOffice file with my text file and the pictures we had used for Blurb. The problem with the pictures is, they're free hand drawings my wife made. When we scanned them, the files were huge, some as large as 7 or 8 MB. I pasted them into containers on Blurb's program, then it resized them for me. I tried resizing/re-sampling, but they are not of uniform size, shape, or color density, so it's been a challenge. I'm guessing that the ePub converter is choking on the irregular picture sizes and dimensions and inserting blank space is how it deals with it. Maybe not.

As to HTML/XHTML, I have been working on learning how to code. I'm still a novice, but I'm really motivated to finish the book and get it out onto the market. Whatever I need to do to finish the job and make the best book possible is OK with me. /Jim
So by what your saying, you want the text to wrap around the picture? If so, that is possible, but most readers for mobile platforms (iBooks for iPad, Aldiko for Android, etc) do not support the code needed to make text wrap around a image. This info is from 2-4 months ago when I tried a open source book that was posted on here and looked beautiful with all of its formatting and text wrapping, but 75% of the code in that book did not work in iBooks nor Aldiko. They might have added that code to the allowed list so that it can show up like what you want, but it takes some tweaking and is some pretty harsh code in certain conditions.

With you images being the sizes you say they are, you might have to go into the code itself and put in a tag ot shrink the image by say 50% or more if needed, then try text wrapping and see what you come up with.

Would say I could help you with it, but I have never worked with a book with images and wrapping needed, so I never taught myself the code..

If I'm completely off and that's not what your wanting, ignore this post

P.S. I'm also not even sure that the code can be converted from one format to another, say from ePub to mobi or ePub to any other format. Might work in one format, but come out looking like utter crap when converted to another >.<

Last edited by Firepong; 02-23-2011 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 02-23-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firepong View Post
So by what your saying, you want the text to wrap around the picture? If so, that is possible, but most readers for mobile platforms (iBooks for iPad, Aldiko for Android, etc) do not support the code needed to make text wrap around a image. This info is from 2-4 months ago when I tried a open source book that was posted on here and looked beautiful with all of its formatting and text wrapping, but 75% of the code in that book did not work in iBooks nor Aldiko. They might have added that code to the allowed list so that it can show up like what you want, but it takes some tweaking and is some pretty harsh code in certain conditions.

With you images being the sizes you say they are, you might have to go into the code itself and put in a tag ot shrink the image by say 50% or more if needed, then try text wrapping and see what you come up with.

Would say I could help you with it, but I have never worked with a book with images and wrapping needed, so I never taught myself the code..

If I'm completely off and that's not what your wanting, ignore this post

P.S. I'm also not even sure that the code can be converted from one format to another, say from ePub to mobi or ePub to any other format. Might work in one format, but come out looking like utter crap when converted to another >.<
You're on target. I tried wrapping text around some images that were smaller, but it looked even worse that what I have now. It also dawned on me exactly what you wrote about multiple platforms, so I just undid all the wrapping. All the images are aligned left or center, no wrapping. I will have to go back to Calibre to see what formats it can convert to ePub. My first try was with Word and it was a disaster. Not sure about OpenOffice Write. From the PDF file I just read it looks like it has to be HTML or maybe RTF, but again I'm not sure. Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:12 PM   #6
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It's definately possible to wrap around images in epub.

I suggest you download and examine the epub in this thread
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48377
It's Jerome K Jerome's - Three Men in a Boat (illustrated)
and is an excellent example of what's possible with epub
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Good news

Thanks for the reply. My wife would love to adopt your cat.

I re-sized and re-sampled all the pictures and adjusted the size where they were as consistent as possible. It cut the size of the Write file by 75%, but the ePub file was not affected that much. One more evening's work should finish this job, and I get to start worrying about Kindle! Thanks again for the help.

Jim
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:50 AM   #8
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It didn't affect the size of the epub because epub is a compressed file (zip). I don't know about other formats. If they are not compressed you could end up with huge file sizes, if you had giant images.

The resizing and resampling was a good idea anyway because it means the reader doesn't have to use its CPU power to do it, so page displays and formatting might well be faster.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:50 AM   #9
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That's a good point about the reader's CPU. Thanks for the information. I'm learning as I go and any help is most welcome.

Jim
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Old 02-24-2011, 11:30 PM   #10
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The 340th draft of this file

Here is the ePub file. It looks pretty good on Calibre, but there are spots here and there where it goes wacky on my Nook Color. Anyway, hope you like it. I wish I could get eBookLuke to chime in. I'm scared to death at the prospect of converting those pictures to grayscale.
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Old 02-25-2011, 10:13 AM   #11
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Hi Jim - if you're planning to convert the images to greyscale for the MOBI version, because the Kindle only displays greyscale, I'd recommend not doing so. The "Kindle for..." applications (Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPad, etc) all display colour images, and it would be a shame to lose that facility. Also you never know - there might be a colour display Kindle just round the corner.

I took a copy of your EPUB file, and converted it to MOBI format using Amazon's Kindlegen application, without changing anything in the EPUB file, and a. it converted fine, without any problems, and b. the images look fine on the Kindle 3. I've attached some screenshots from my Kindle so you can see what it looks like. (Note that I don't think I've got the text settings on the default settings - my current settings have slightly larger text and more space between lines of text.)

One thing I noticed, though - there seem to be some inconsistencies in the type of single and double quote marks used - sometimes curly, sometimes straight. I've highlighted that on the fourth screenshot here. You might want to go through the EPUB file and fix that before you publish, and before you create the MOBI version.

When you come to create the Kindle version, I'd highly recommend using Kindlegen to convert the EPUB to MOBI format. You can then simply upload the resulting MOBI file on the Kindle Direct Publishing website. If you don't have a Kindle to check it on beforehand, you can use the Kindle Previewer application - gives a pretty accurate simulation of what an ebook will look like on Kindle, Kindle DX, Kindle for iPad and Kindle for iPhone.

Kindlegen and Kindle Previewer can be downloaded free from http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...cId=1000234621
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:28 AM   #12
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Are you a Gryffindor or something?

Disclaimer: I am seriously sleep deprived and have a slight migraine. Here we go.

My dear lady, will you send me a private message with your address so Karan and I can send you a dozen roses? My heavens, I did not think it was possible. As J.K. Rowling wrote, "Only a true Gryffindor could have pulled that out of the hat." You're admitted to the house.

I think the quotes are messed up because this started out as formatted text in Blurb's BookSmart program, then to a text file, then Open Office Write, then ePub. I have low vision and would never have seen that without your help. Karan's proofread it so many times it just got by her.

Two questions:
1. I have a Nook color. When I looked at the book on B&N's online viewer, it didn't look very good in black and white. But I'm not sure. I e-mailed them about it. I think it would be awkward to have a color version and a black and white version. Do you have any thoughts on that?

2. Did you like the book?

Don't forget about the roses.

For Karan and me, thank you very much,

Jim
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Old 02-25-2011, 11:48 AM   #13
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I just went over to B&N PubIt and looked at it through their online preview. It isn't bad at all. I was so tired last night my eyes played tricks on me, I guess.
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Old 02-25-2011, 07:23 PM   #14
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Yay for Gryffindor!

I did very little, really, Jim. And your words already sent a virtual bouquet my way, which was much appreciated.



Quote:
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Two questions:

1. I have a Nook color. When I looked at the book on B&N's online viewer, it didn't look very good in black and white. But I'm not sure. I e-mailed them about it. I think it would be awkward to have a color version and a black and white version. Do you have any thoughts on that?
You could separate colour and black and white versions - being ebooks, there's no additional printing or costs involved. I'm just not sure how practical it would be - would prospective purchasers see that there are two versions available and pick the most appropriate one? And if they don't, initially, there's a potential mess there with customers wanting to swap the version they bought for the other version. Perhaps others here have thoughts on this? For myself, I can't help feeling that it risks overcomplicating things.

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2. Did you like the book?
I didn't read it all, but what I did read I thought was sweet and could well imagine a young child enjoying having the book read to them while they enjoy the pictures as the pages are turned. However I'm far from the best judge of books aimed at young children - don't have any myself, and my two nieces are 12 and 14, so not really your target audience!

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I think the quotes are messed up because this started out as formatted text in Blurb's BookSmart program, then to a text file, then Open Office Write, then ePub. I have low vision and would never have seen that without your help. Karan's proofread it so many times it just got by her.
It's incredibly easy to miss small details like that when you've looked at the same text again and again - it becomes too familiar. Always worth getting a fresh set of eyes to look something over - they'll be much more likely to spot the little things that have slipped through the net.

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For Karan and me, thank you very much,

Jim
You're very welcome.

(And I hope you managed to shake off that migraine and get some sleep!)
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Old 02-25-2011, 08:10 PM   #15
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Well, I had to stay later at work than planned, and ended up at the bank and the county clerk setting up a separate bank account and the DBA form. I'll catch up, I hope, tonight. Definitely not getting up at 5 am to work out tomorrow. Thank you again, Donna.

P.S. The book looked OK in black and white on Barnes & Noble's online Nook. Whew.
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