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Old 08-29-2008, 04:02 PM   #1
desertgrandma
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For you book uploaders..........

Okay, I've been wondering about this since I first joined.....

How, exactly, do you upload books? What special equipment do you buy, and what programs do you use? Do you have to scan each page individually?

Ahhh, sweet mystery of life.........
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Old 08-29-2008, 04:31 PM   #2
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Well, it depends. For the books I've posted here, I've always started with a legal copy of an HTML or TXT file that's on the internet somewhere (usually Project Gutenberg). Some people, including our Good Master RWood, often start by using a scan of a paper copy (which seems like waaaaay too much effort for me) and running optical character recognition (OCR) software to generate the text which then needs to be checked manually (get my picture of effort?).

After that, there are a few software tools around that can generate the ebook files. BookDesigner is a pretty tough to use but powerful and free program that will create the LRF, PRC, and IMP files. It has some drawbacks but it's what I almost always use. But it took me many attempts to become adept at using it without tears. Fortunately, HarryT wrote a great tutorial to start with.

Some others use Mobipocket Creator, another free program which HarryT probably also uses a lot now and which he wrote another excellent tutorial for (see the other tutorial link above). But it only generates PRC files.

I know there are other tools floating around now but I really haven't looked at them much.

Last edited by vivaldirules; 08-29-2008 at 06:01 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:37 PM   #3
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great tips, vr. thank you.

you can also use the epub generator at our very own hadrien's feedbooks.com. hadrien is currently working on a wysiwyg interface, which will make things really easy even for someone who doesn't have much experience. and it will generate clean, valid code and beautiful texts, in the new standard format. which is one step closer to eliminating the tower of e-babel. epub can be read natively on the sony 505 already, soon on the cybook, and more devices coming soon. and it can easily be converted into any other format like mobipocket (.mobi or .prc) if you can't read it on your device.

hadrien will make a tutorial and a video as soon as the interface is done, to explain exactly how to proceed.

if you want to start learning how to make ebooks, i recommend you learn how to make epub.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:17 PM   #4
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The final act is the making of the ebook. As VR, our faithful canine friend, has pointed out there are many tools available to amke this final leap -- BookDesigner, Mobipocket Creator, calibre (used by Fictionwise for all of their Sony format offerings), and even such tools as Dropbook for creating eReader books. Many formats can also be created by most of the ABC Amber line of converters including many of their free converters. I believe that for all of the ebooks that Patricia has posted (1,893 as of this post) and most of the 865 ebooks that I have posted, BookDesigner was the tool employed.

It may take 5 minutes to convert and produce an ebook they way Patricia and I work. What takes the time is the correction and formatting of the source file before using a conversion tool.

For many of Patricia's books she has added/corrected the texts that have been found at sources such as Project Gutenberg. Sometimes whole sections were left out, other times lines are skipped. Many of the books she has posted were from source files that no accent marks on the letters when the original (read hardcover printed versions of the same book) did have such marks. Many of the web available copies of classics are provided using only 26 letter glyphs plus a lower case. Some prep work will almost always be required. Project Gutenberg for example, often indicated italics by enclosing the word or words inside underscores ("_").

VR mentioned that I had also scanned pages, OCRed text, and proofed the result. This is true. I was completing the Harvard Classics series and certain critical sections were not available anywhere on the web that I could find. What copies I could find of some were often the wrong version/edition, the wrong translation, or were formatted in such a bizarre way that it was faster and (for me) more accurate to start from scratch. I was lucky in that later in the project Bob Russell found and told me about the Internet Archive which offered PDF image files of the original volumes. I posted the original set in Sony LRF, added the Mobipocket and IMP versions later. Nrapallo then converted all of them to the REB 1200 version of IMP. VR added the Reading Guide. See the MobileRead Wiki Notable eBook Uploads page for more details and links for downloading. There are also references to the Dickens and Austin complete series there.

In short, IMHO, once you have the book corrected and proofed, the rest is easy.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:22 PM   #5
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i think this is a good place to applaud again (we can't applaud this enough !) all the incredible work done by the uploaders here. as you can see from these posts, making an ebook *file* is easy, but making a beautiful book is a lot of work ! so thanks to the stars like Wood and Patricia and Madam Broshkina and Dr. Drib and Harry and vivaldirules and all the others as well. we really appreciate your work.

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Old 08-29-2008, 08:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post
i think this is a good place to applaud again (we can't applaud this enough !) all the incredible work done by the uploaders here. as you can see from these posts, making an ebook *file* is easy, but making a beautiful book is a lot of work ! so thanks to the stars like Wood and Patricia and Madam Broshkina and Dr. Drib and Harry and vivaldirules and all the others as well. we really appreciate your work.


Oh absolutely! Simple thanks aren't enough for the work involved.

So let me get this straight. You download books (LEGALLY) from places like Gutenberg.

Then you proofread and reformat as needed.

Then use a program like Creator or BookDesigner, or others, to convert? Is that right?

I am looking forward to Hadriens tutorial.

How awesome, all of you, to be able to provide such a service.

Last edited by desertgrandma; 08-29-2008 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:41 PM   #7
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that's about right.

and if you're *really* dedicated, you scan a paper book, OCR it, and then follow all the rest of the steps.


(psst : "upload" is when you send a file from your computer "up" the pipes to the vast interweb ; "download" is when you bring a file "down" from the vast interweb to your own computer. so you "download" from gutenberg, and when you've finished making your book, you can "upload" it to mobileread to add to the collection. you probably know this already, but i thought i'd mention it just to avoid confusion.)
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:47 PM   #8
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that's about right.

and if you're *really* dedicated, you scan a paper book, OCR it, and then follow all the rest of the steps.


(psst : "upload" is when you send a file from your computer "up" the pipes to the vast interweb ; "download" is when you bring a file "down" from the vast interweb to your own computer. so you "download" from gutenberg, and when you've finished making your book, you can "upload" it to mobileread to add to the collection. you probably know this already, but i thought i'd mention it just to avoid confusion.)

Corrected........thanks!
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Old 08-29-2008, 09:02 PM   #9
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my pleasure.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:09 PM   #10
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The trouble is that if you want the complete works of a public domain author then they aren't always available in html or text files.
I wanted to add to our collection of Anna Katharine Green. Harry and I have done all the ones on Project Gutenberg. Now I'm getting some more novels from the scans at The Internet Archive. They all need extensive reformatting and checking, as RWood points out.
It is worth checking the Distributed Proofreaders' lists of works in progress, so as not to start work on a scan, spend days on it, then find that they are about to upload a nice clean copy.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:31 PM   #11
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The trouble is that if you want the complete works of a public domain author then they aren't always available in html or text files.
I wanted to add to our collection of Anna Katharine Green. Harry and I have done all the ones on Project Gutenberg. Now I'm getting some more novels from the scans at The Internet Archive. They all need extensive reformatting and checking, as RWood points out.
It is worth checking the Distributed Proofreaders' lists of works in progress, so as not to start work on a scan, spend days on it, then find that they are about to upload a nice clean copy.
Thank you, that makes sense.
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Old 08-30-2008, 12:26 PM   #12
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VR mentioned that I had also scanned pages, OCRed text, and proofed the result. This is true.
It would help me if you would post your OCR methods (software, workflow, etc.). I started converting the Bobbsey Twins books and posting here. The first couple of books are available at Project Gutenberg, but there are several that are in the public domain, but not at PG. I found most of the missing ones at Google Books and downloaded the PDF file. (Not knowing how to approach OCRing the PDF, I also snatched a text version.) I bought the remaining ones on eBay and need to scan them.

So, when I'm done, I will have performed all the possible tasks to convert a book from the various available sources.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:28 PM   #13
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Let me second that emotion, Elsi. There are lots of things at Google Books, the Internet Archive, and elsewhere that are in the public domain but only in PDF format or some on-line viewable flip thing. I'd love to be able to seemlessly (hah!) select, copy, paste, and OCR the text from such images. But I don't know the best way to go and would hate to spend time and money on the wrong thing. Any advice?
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:36 PM   #14
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It would help me if you would post your OCR methods (software, workflow, etc.). I started converting the Bobbsey Twins books and posting here. The first couple of books are available at Project Gutenberg, but there are several that are in the public domain, but not at PG. I found most of the missing ones at Google Books and downloaded the PDF file. (Not knowing how to approach OCRing the PDF, I also snatched a text version.) I bought the remaining ones on eBay and need to scan them.

So, when I'm done, I will have performed all the possible tasks to convert a book from the various available sources.
There is quite a bit of information on the wiki. It is hard to specify step by step because it is so dependent on the source and user methods. However I may create a simplified wiki how-to page if you think it will help. There are pages on on to use Book designer, OCR, and many other things.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:43 PM   #15
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In short, IMHO, once you have the book corrected and proofed, the rest is easy.
If you're really lucky you might be able to find more than one source file for a book - then you can run text comparisons which can highlight problems in the texts.

Most sites, though, will just have the PG version - and hence the same errors as the PG file. Finding more than one independent source isn't always possible - but it can save a lot of effort if you do, so worth trying imho.
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