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Old 12-10-2010, 06:07 PM   #1
RobW
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Creating epub books by hand

I have been playing around with creating my own e-pub books by hand. (I like the old-fashioned craftsmanship of creating docs with a plain text editor!). I found these sites the most useful if you are interested in trying it yourself.

http://sites.google.com/site/spontan...-epub-tutorial

http://www.epubbooks.com/blog/183/cr...-epub-document

http://www.snee.com/bobdc.blog/2008/...pub-files.html

http://www.hxa.name/articles/content...7241_2007.html

http://blog.threepress.org/2008/12/0...eveloperworks/

http://www.jedisaber.com/eBooks/tutorial.asp

Tools that you need to download (free) are epubcheck... http://code.google.com/p/epubcheck/ ...for validating your code and info-zip for packing up the epub package... http://www.willus.com/archive/zip64/.

Some of questions I have for anyone who has more experience of epub than me:
  • Is there a (paper) book on creating epub. I have done a search but cant find anything substantial. The websites I have quoted are fine for creating epub books but they do no cover all the options exhaustively.
  • The META-INF folder. Does it have to be in u/c? It seems to be in all the examples I've looked at. I have tried it in l/c and it works fine but there may be some contexts in which it will not.
  • Is there any objection to locating the .opf and .ncx files in the META-INF folder alongside container.xml? It works OK and seems neater to me. That way you can place all the content in a 'content' folder along with the images, css and pages. My expeiments suggest that naming and location of files is pretty flexible so lond as you put all the pointers in the right places.

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Old 12-10-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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there is a paper (and epub) book about epub, but it has (judged by its TOC) rather the focus on how to get along with errors produced by inDesign epub export and how to make things work on apple devices since apple gives a crap about the specs, rater than som kind of "epub for dummies" which would be helpful for people who aren't web design savvy (like me).
http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/
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Old 12-10-2010, 11:26 PM   #3
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I've used Liz Castro's book a bit. Although it does focus on InDesign near the beginning, farther on it discusses the nitty-gritty details of the ePub format and discusses editing by hand. It's not quite a single "how to make an ePub by hand" document, but it's about the closest thing you can find.
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Old 12-11-2010, 06:42 AM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestion - I shall definitely get it. looks like there is a market opportunity out there for books on epub.
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Old 12-11-2010, 08:32 AM   #5
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You are probably far better of by using FlightCrew instead of epubcheck. It checks more and reports better understandable errors. It is from the Sigil author.
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Old 12-11-2010, 11:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobW View Post
Is there a (paper) book on creating epub. I have done a search but cant find anything substantial. The websites I have quoted are fine for creating epub books but they do no cover all the options exhaustively.
You probably meant "a (paper) book other than ePub specs themselves". Since ePub is a standard, and specs are freely accessible, I used them as reference material, and the experience wasn't all that bad. The download page is here:
http://www.idpf.org/specs.htm

Adobe has provided us with its own EPUB Best Practices Guide which is of interest if you want to ensure that your ePub works well on ADE, the most frequently seen ePub reading software on eInk devices.

These two sources, in combination with Ainsworth's excellent construction guide (present in your list) form a backbone of my reference material for hand-editing ePubs.
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Old 12-11-2010, 10:42 PM   #7
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I am writing a mini-tutorial about how to use docbook to create ebook files.
It may take a month or so to complete. However, I have been doing a braindump about how to create an epub file (and do testing and compose a CSS file).

http://www.imaginaryplanet.net/weblo...s-tips-tricks/

At the moment, Liz Castro's ebook is the best book out there, although she mainly covers it from Adobe Indesign.
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Old 12-12-2010, 12:06 PM   #8
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There are so many ways to create an ePub, so many starting points, so many applications, so many expected results, and so many e-readers, that I think we all should do brain-dumps on our chosen methodologies and share them here. - Fabe
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Old 12-12-2010, 01:41 PM   #9
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Based on a recommendation I validated some ebooks with Flightcrew. These ebookes were created with Sigil, nevertheless Flightcrew showed many errors. All of them were related to areas which were automatically generated by Sigil, i.e. toc, spine etc.
Then I validated the same book with epubcheck and it passed without errors. So it looks like Sigil and Flightcrew don't apply the same standards.
So now I'm not sure: is an epub OK if it passes epubcheck or is it just "tolerable?
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Old 12-12-2010, 02:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weatherwax View Post
Based on a recommendation I validated some ebooks with Flightcrew. These ebookes were created with Sigil, nevertheless Flightcrew showed many errors. All of them were related to areas which were automatically generated by Sigil, i.e. toc, spine etc.
Then I validated the same book with epubcheck and it passed without errors. So it looks like Sigil and Flightcrew don't apply the same standards.
So now I'm not sure: is an epub OK if it passes epubcheck or is it just "tolerable?
Sigil does not fill all the metadata automatically.
Simply opening the Metadata editor and saving, seems to fill the "gaps" that Flightcrew finds.
There is a odd message about files that are "Reachable", but not in the manifest that have no line or filename.

If fact, I have found, these are references in files to other files that do not exist in real life nor in the manifest. (Sigil may (it may ,also have been malformed before the split) have caused them to be a problem by not adjusting the reference properly when split
Code:
 "../Text/#fooanchor"
. Note. No filename.ext

I would interpert "Reachable" to mean the Reference exists, but is not in the Manifest.
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