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Old 04-12-2011, 12:43 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Request for help from Sony user

I feel like a lion in a den of Daniels as I venture into this forum, so please bear with me.

I am preparing a complex text book which has a lot of quotes, some of them nested, and many footnotes.

I have prepared an ePub version which I think looks good, but when I try to convert it to mobi with calibre the result looks awful. There is no indentation for the first level quotes, and the nested quotes have a wider than designed left indent and no indent at all on the right.

I have styled the footnote numbers to be small and to only rise to the top margin of the text in the ePub version. But in the mobi version the footnotes are full size and are superscripts, which means that they intrude into the line space above and force a wider line space.

Also, I have styled some blocks of text in the front matter with wider than usual margins, but in the mobi version the text sits over to the left rather than being centered.

I know that the XHTML and stylesheet validate to W3C standards, and that the ePub validates with ePubCheck.

Two questions:
- Is it possible to design a mobi ebook which has indented and nested quotes, and in which the footnote numbers are not superscripts, and in which the HTML validates?
- If so, how does one do that? I really don't think I'm going to get a good conversion through calibre.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:07 AM   #2
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I have no clue but hopefully someone else would.

I didn't want you to think you were being ignored.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:13 AM   #3
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You might have better luck asking in the Mobipocket subforum.
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Old 04-13-2011, 01:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manichean View Post
You might have better luck asking in the Mobipocket subforum.
I did, but the moderator moved my post here.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-13-2011, 03:36 AM   #5
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You dropped Tony Szmuk a line about this, Alex? I think you have his addres. If not, just email me and I'll send it on to you. Good luck. Neil
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:11 AM   #6
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Thanks, Neil. I've sent you a private message.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:15 AM   #7
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Apologies to all - I've just noticed that this thread is now in the mobi forum. I started it in the Kindle forum, and it was moved to the calibre forum, and moved again to the mobi forum.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:41 AM   #8
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I think the main problem is that: If you have a complicated, highly stylized ebook, there is just no easy way to maintain a single html source that will produce an epub and a mobi that are identical... regardless of the conversion software. This is not an issue with the conversion software, but rather, an issue of the vast differences between the epub and mobi formats. Those differences become more glaring the more complicated your layout becomes.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but there comes point, when it becomes easier (and less frustrating) to maintain two separate sources. That point is different for everyone.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:07 PM   #9
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I can tell you straight up that short of moving your quotes into tables, you will never get them to indent on the right-hand side. Mobi just doesn't do right-hand margins.

Depending on what you're using to indent, you can probably fix the left-hand side, but you'll have to explicitly set the indent for both levels.

You will basically have to tweak your XHTML & CSS by hand to more-or-less match up with what's capable for the Mobi format, which is basically a glorified HTML 3.2. The old Mobipocket Developer Center documentation will probably be useful, along with the Amazon Kindle Developer Guidelines (less useful).

Frankly, I advise you to lower your standards to a simple functional display. Anything else is just asking for frustration when dealing with the Mobi format's limitations. (And KindleGen's bugginess, but that's a different matter.)

Also, don't use multiple or descendant selectors in your CSS if converting via KindleGen. These are just two of the things which Do Not Work.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Thanks, ATDrake and DiapDealer. That certainly does help.

The author of the text-book doesn't know much about ebooks, and had to be coaxed to accept the idea that ebooks are not dead tree books and follow different conventions. He wants the indents and his layout as they are in the pdfand the print versions.

I think I'm going to tell him that I can't produce a mobi version which will match his book, and suggest that he tells his Kindle using students to buy the pdf version. I'm just not prepared to jump through the hoops to do a version in valid XHTML 1.1 and another version in invalid HTML 3.2.

Regards, Alex

Last edited by AlexBell; 04-13-2011 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:28 PM   #11
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I'm not sure what the obsession is with W3C validated XHTML, here. They're ebooks. They're not going to be served up to a browser by a webserver. Nothing wrong with making sure it passes ePubCheck's or FlightCrew's requirements, but W3C really has nothing to do with it. I certainly strive for W3C validated xhtml within my web apps, but ebooks are a different beast.

But I understand not wanting to jump through hoops to create a mobi that probably won't meet a client's expectations anyway.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:47 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
I'm not sure what the obsession is with W3C validated XHTML, here. They're ebooks. They're not going to be served up to a browser by a webserver.
Let's agree to disagree. I certainly don't claim to be an expert, but so far as I know the international specifications for ePub require valid XHTML.

And yes, I'm mildly obsessional. But I think that if all the world was as obsessional as me it would be a far happier place to live in.

Regards, Alex
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Old 04-14-2011, 04:22 AM   #13
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AlexBell is right, the ePUB standard requires that the XHTML is valid. Whether it is validated with W3C, epubcheck or FlightCrew should not matter, since all three should be doing the same work (in what regards the XHTML validity). Passing all validators is good, because there might be some errors that are only catched by one or other of them.
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