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Old 03-29-2011, 06:36 PM   #1
NicolaNY
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Question Attentive newbie seeks Sigil -> Kindle advice . . .

Greetings everyone.

As a lurker for the past week i would like to thank all the contributing members of mobileread and express my awe at how civil and helpful everyone seems to be.

I stumbled upon mobileread through the mighty google because i am researching how to put my ebooks online. My primary target is amazon because i've happily used the kindle for the past 1.5 years. After learning about all the various formats the task seemed daunting until i read about and started using Sigil (thumbs up Valloric). Having a little experience with html and css i decided to markup my books using Textwrangler to get the basic formatting down. While i am still neck deep in formatting, i was hoping to get some advice from all of you.

1) As stated, the plan is to finish marking up my book in Textwrangle using a .html file that is linked to a separate .css file. Then i plan to open the files in Sigil and add metadata with the handy tool and create a TOC for my book. Next, i plan on saving the file as an .ePub and opening the file in KindlePreviewer. My understanding is that KindlePreviewer will convert the file to a .mobi in order to display is on the kindle. Assuming everything looks as intended, i am done. Does this sound like a good plan or am i asking for trouble? Are there any other workflows people use to create content specifically for kindle?

2) After my .epub file is finished, should i consider converting with Calibre as opposed to KindlePreviewer? Any insight greatly appreciated.

3)I have read that the TOC that Sigil creates does not carry over to Kindle/Kindlepreviewer. Supposedly the work around is to create a separate file with the TOC data and manually place it into the appropriate folder within my .ePub. Is their any tutorial, workaround, or general advice before i give this a shot?

4)If my .css file specifies certain parameters for <h1> tags, will that impede Sigil from creating a proper TOC? Is it just simpler to avoid using <h1> in my html/css?

Any answer/link to my questions would be greatly appreciated. And please feel free to rip my process apart, if there is a better way, i'll gladly thank you forever.

Best,
Nicola
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Old 03-29-2011, 06:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNY View Post
Greetings everyone.

As a lurker for the past week i would like to thank all the contributing members of mobileread and express my awe at how civil and helpful everyone seems to be.

I stumbled upon mobileread through the mighty google because i am researching how to put my ebooks online. My primary target is amazon because i've happily used the kindle for the past 1.5 years. After learning about all the various formats the task seemed daunting until i read about and started using Sigil (thumbs up Valloric). Having a little experience with html and css i decided to markup my books using Textwrangler to get the basic formatting down. While i am still neck deep in formatting, i was hoping to get some advice from all of you.

1) As stated, the plan is to finish marking up my book in Textwrangle using a .html file that is linked to a separate .css file. Then i plan to open the files in Sigil and add metadata with the handy tool and create a TOC for my book. Next, i plan on saving the file as an .ePub and opening the file in KindlePreviewer. My understanding is that KindlePreviewer will convert the file to a .mobi in order to display is on the kindle. Assuming everything looks as intended, i am done. Does this sound like a good plan or am i asking for trouble? Are there any other workflows people use to create content specifically for kindle?

2) After my .epub file is finished, should i consider converting with Calibre as opposed to KindlePreviewer? Any insight greatly appreciated.

3)I have read that the TOC that Sigil creates does not carry over to Kindle/Kindlepreviewer. Supposedly the work around is to create a separate file with the TOC data and manually place it into the appropriate folder within my .ePub. Is their any tutorial, workaround, or general advice before i give this a shot?

4)If my .css file specifies certain parameters for <h1> tags, will that impede Sigil from creating a proper TOC? Is it just simpler to avoid using <h1> in my html/css?

Any answer/link to my questions would be greatly appreciated. And please feel free to rip my process apart, if there is a better way, i'll gladly thank you forever.

Best,
Nicola
Sigil does not care if the H1 tag content is set to Chartreuse, strike-thru, italic , centered

It is a still a H1 tag
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Old 03-29-2011, 07:44 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post
Sigil does not care if the H1 tag content is set to Chartreuse, strike-thru, italic , centered

It is a still a H1 tag
Thanks for the tip, appreciated.
N.
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:07 AM   #4
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Some comments inline, but for a lot of these questions you'd be better off getting this workflow generally answered in the Mobi forums, and then go to the Sigil/Calibre forums for specific questions using those pieces of software.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNY View Post
1) As stated, the plan is to finish marking up my book in Textwrangle using a .html file that is linked to a separate .css file. Then i plan to open the files in Sigil and add metadata with the handy tool and create a TOC for my book. Next, i plan on saving the file as an .ePub and opening the file in KindlePreviewer. My understanding is that KindlePreviewer will convert the file to a .mobi in order to display is on the kindle. Assuming everything looks as intended, i am done. Does this sound like a good plan or am i asking for trouble? Are there any other workflows people use to create content specifically for kindle?
The Kindle uses two types of TOCs. One is an inline human readable TOC, the other displays chapter tic marks at the bottom of the Kindle and is compatible with the 5 way controller. Calibre will convert a proper Epub TOC to mobi chapter markers which enables the 5 way controller. An inline human readable TOC will need to either be created by hand or with one of the conversion tools.


Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNY View Post
2) After my .epub file is finished, should i consider converting with Calibre as opposed to KindlePreviewer? Any insight greatly appreciated.
I'm not familiar enough with publishing for Amazon to give you answers on pros or cons of using Kindle Previewer vs. Calibre - I believe a lot of people use Calibre successfully. This would be better answered in the mobi forums.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNY View Post
3)I have read that the TOC that Sigil creates does not carry over to Kindle/Kindlepreviewer. Supposedly the work around is to create a separate file with the TOC data and manually place it into the appropriate folder within my .ePub. Is their any tutorial, workaround, or general advice before i give this a shot?
Sigil creates an epub TOC, which can be converted to the Tic marks the Kindle uses. It's the inline TOC that requires other options. Calibre can do it automatically, or if you want to hand edit it there are options there too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NicolaNY View Post
4)If my .css file specifies certain parameters for <h1> tags, will that impede Sigil from creating a proper TOC? Is it just simpler to avoid using <h1> in my html/css?
Theducks covered this one

Last edited by ldolse; 03-30-2011 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 03-30-2011, 02:09 PM   #5
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kindlepreviewer is for folks who don't have an actual kindle to test with.

I got good results with edit ( epub) in sigil, convert to mobi with calibre - send to & read on Kindle.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the pointers guys . . . i'll definitely go read up on the Mobi forum.

The textwrangler->calibre->kindle seems to be working pretty well for me in my testing.

Thanks again
N.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:32 PM   #7
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Except for the fact that--unless Kovid has addressed this--Calibre-generated MOBI's are not readable on any "Kindle for X" device, because Calibre-generated MOBI's do not have adequate space in the headers to accommodate the second layer of encryption required for a file to be read on anything other than the device. Calibre is a library system, and a damn fine one, but it is NOT a production tool for professional production (for Kindle books for SALE).

HTH
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:01 AM   #8
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Except for the fact that--unless Kovid has addressed this--Calibre-generated MOBI's are not readable on any "Kindle for X" device, because Calibre-generated MOBI's do not have adequate space in the headers to accommodate the second layer of encryption required for a file to be read on anything other than the device. Calibre is a library system, and a damn fine one, but it is NOT a production tool for professional production (for Kindle books for SALE).

HTH
Hitch
I've seen this mentioned before (not sure if it's fixed or not), but I've also seen users (ones which were apparently publishing to Amazon) mention not getting what they want from Amazon provided tools and turning to Calibre, I seem to recall one in particular struggling with getting the different TOC variations working they way they wanted. Anyway this was why I recommended the mobi sub-forum, I figured the experts on this subject would be more likely to answer there.
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Old 03-31-2011, 12:49 AM   #9
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Except for the fact that--unless Kovid has addressed this--Calibre-generated MOBI's are not readable on any "Kindle for X" device, because Calibre-generated MOBI's do not have adequate space in the headers to accommodate the second layer of encryption required for a file to be read on anything other than the device. Calibre is a library system, and a damn fine one, but it is NOT a production tool for professional production (for Kindle books for SALE).

HTH
Hitch
Interesting point about kindle app on 3rd party devices. I'll certainly look into it, thanks.

The reason i though of using calibre is because i wanted to avoid using kindlegen from the command line. Is there any other way to convert html/css into a mobi or other amazon approved format? Any insight appreciated.

Thanks,
N.
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:43 AM   #10
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Yes, you can drop a zipped html file (w/css, any images, etc.) onto KindleGen--just drag and drop it on the exe file in whatever folder the exe is in, you don't need to run it from the Command Line, OR you can download Kindle Previewer, which is a KindleGen GUI, and you can convert ePUBs (properly-constructed) or zipped html through that.

HTH,
Hitch
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Old 03-31-2011, 04:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ldolse View Post
I've seen this mentioned before (not sure if it's fixed or not), but I've also seen users (ones which were apparently publishing to Amazon) mention not getting what they want from Amazon provided tools and turning to Calibre, I seem to recall one in particular struggling with getting the different TOC variations working they way they wanted. Anyway this was why I recommended the mobi sub-forum, I figured the experts on this subject would be more likely to answer there.
That's because they (those struggling) don't understand the need for the toc.ncx, primarily, and don't know how to link their html.toc's to the Guide to get a properly-linked TOC. Calibre will do that...but again, Kovid would be the first to say that Calibre is NOT a commercial ebook production tool and the last time I discussed this with him (the Kindle header-space issue for 2nd layer of DRM/encryption), it was at the bottom of his list of "to-do" items.

HTH,
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Old 03-31-2011, 07:04 AM   #12
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For mobi pocket, the best way is kindleGen.
Takes in a lot of format.

Jutho can use kindlegen to generate mobi from it's own format, too. But i never tried that.

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Old 03-31-2011, 02:14 PM   #13
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@hitch, wow thanks a million. I guess i will test both the Calibre and Kindlegen/kindlepreviewer method. Will certainly be reading up on toc.ncx concept cause at the moment i was using calibre to do all my TOC. Thank you.

Learning a lot from this thread, thanks to everyone who replied.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:28 AM   #14
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Just to be clear:

Kindle Previewer runs (only?) on MS-windows, and uses kindlegen to do conversions from epub (or other formats?) to mobi.

Kindlegen runs on MS-Windows, linux, and (?) Apple OS-X.

Given a proper epub, neither kindlegen nor kindleviewer will produce an in-line table of contents from the toc.ncx of the epub. If you want an inline TOC, which is what the mobi format needs, you have to create it and include it in the epub (e.g. as an .xhtml file). However, the toc.ncx IS used for the chapter-hopping capability of the Kindle devices (e.g. 5-way buttons, etc.). Note that nested structure in the toc.ncx does not seem to be supported by kindle, however.

Calibre will create an in-line toc for mobi format, but as I understand it, it is not created directly from the toc.ncx of the epub, but rather according to chapter detection rules which you specify during the conversion process. However, as discussed above, the calibre-produced mobi may not be suitable for some "Kindle on XXX" software, nor for DRM'ed kindle files (of interest to short-sighted Kindle publishers).

Also, I have seen it stated by several people that Mobipocket Creator (MS-windows only?) can also convert from epub, but I have not been able to make that work for me.

Stanza also claims to be able to export files as mobipocket or Kindle (.azw) but the results are totally unsatisfactory, as is stanza's viewing capability for that matter.

Last edited by st_albert; 04-01-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:44 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by st_albert View Post
Just to be clear:

Kindle Previewer runs (only?) on MS-windows, and uses kindlegen to do conversions from epub (or other formats?) to mobi.

Kindlegen runs on MS-Windows, linux, and (?) Apple OS-X.

Given a proper epub, neither kindlegen nor kindleviewer will produce an in-line table of contents from the toc.ncx of the epub. If you want an inline TOC, which is what the mobi format needs, you have to create it and include it in the epub (e.g. as an .xhtml file). However, the toc.ncx IS used for the chapter-hopping capability of the Kindle devices (e.g. 5-way buttons, etc.). Note that nested structure in the toc.ncx does not seem to be supported by kindle, however.

Calibre will create an in-line toc for mobi format, but as I understand it, it is not created directly from the toc.ncx of the epub, but rather according to chapter detection rules which you specify during the conversion process. However, as discussed above, the calibre-produced mobi may not be suitable for some "Kindle on XXX" software, nor for DRM'ed kindle files (of interest to short-sighted Kindle publishers).

Also, I have seen it stated by several people that Mobipocket Creator (MS-windows only?) can also convert from epub, but I have not been able to make that work for me.

Stanza also claims to be able to export files as mobipocket or Kindle (.azw) but the results are totally unsatisfactory, as is stanza's viewing capability for that matter.
Hi, St. Albert:

I've been able to create perfectly good PRC's from epubs using MBPCreator and a little creative tinkering, and it's not hard--I can dig up a post I made about it somewhere, and put it up here tonight--just too busy right this second. It's not the production method I use, 'cuz we wrote a clip that does a lot of this without doing it by hand, but the MBPCreator method works, too. I'll find it and post it here.

Hitch
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