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Old 06-20-2011, 08:57 AM   #1
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ePub to Mobi issues with tables

Ok I bought "The New Atkins for a New You." from the nook.com for my wife's nook. The book contains a number of tables with shading, and throughout the book they give example paragraphs that have a grey background and a back border around them. When these converted to Mobi, I lose almost all of that formatting.

I have also purchased "Dragons of Autumn Twilight" from nook.com and have gone through the same process to decrypt and convert to mobi for my Kindle (wife has a nook. I have a Kindle). This book is really beautifully formatted. Each chapter starts with a very nice drop cap. When I convert to Mobi, I lose the drop cap, and instead get a large letter that sticks ABOVE the first line.

I would like to open a tick for the issue, but I don't want to attach copyrighted books I purchased to the bug report in launchpad.

What is the best way to report this kind of issue to help make Calibre a better product?
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:45 AM   #2
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I am not sure that this is a bug at all. Mobi has very limited support for tables, so anything that relies on advanced use of tables to control layout will not convert well to the mobi format.
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Old 06-20-2011, 11:39 AM   #3
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Those are both limitations of the MOBI format.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:51 PM   #4
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Those are both limitations of the MOBI format.
Is the Dropcap also being done by a table?

Version 0.8.6 readme says:

"MOBI Output: Allow setting of background color on tables also set the border attribute on the table if the table has any border related css defined."

Made it sound like the table issues I was seeing were addressed.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:01 PM   #5
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Those are both limitations of the MOBI format.
Ok, so I went onto Amazon and pulled down the sample of the same book, and it has proper formatting for these grey shaded paragraphs with borders. I decrypted the azw and converted as a mobi file.

If it doesn't violate any copyright, I would happy to post the 1 chapter sample ePub, the calibre converted mobi output and the 1 chapter sample Amazon mobi gave me into a bug.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:32 PM   #6
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I *really* detest MOBI.

For the 300th time:

MOBI is based on HTML 3.2 and has no support for CSS.

In HTML 3.2 you can define table borders globally using a BORDER attribute. This border attribute allows setting only the thickness of the table borders. Different MOBI renderers interpret this attribute differently. If the input document defines any border/border-width css for a table, calibre will set the border attiribute to 1, otherwise it will do nothing.

The same is true for table backgrounds where HTML 3.2 uses a bgcolor attribute.

When you see a MOBI file "with proper formatting" it is not the result of a conversion from EPUB but instead an export from InDesign (or a result of hand coding HTML specifically for MOBI).

So in InDesign when you define a "colored paragraph" it is exported to MOBI using special markup. There is no such concept as a "colored block" in epub. Instead display attributes are defined using CSS in far more general ways. There is no way for a converter to convert the css used in the epub to define a colored block to highly limited MOBI markup in a consistent way.

Similarly, Dropcaps are created using css. There is no way to do that in MOBI. If you see a dropcaps in a MOBI file, then that file was not converted from an epub. Instead it uses some kind of table hackery or and image. This is only possible when generating the MOBI from a source that defines the dropcaps semantically as a dropcaps. In an epub, a dropcaps is created using instructions like "render this character at a larger font size and float it to the left". There is no way to translate that kind of instruction into a MOBI.

If you think there is a bug in the calibre MOBI converter, find an epub file that when converted using kindlegen preserves some feature that the calibre MOBI doesn't. If you can do that, feel free to open a bug. Otherwise, your bug report will be ignored.
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Old 06-20-2011, 02:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
I *really* detest MOBI.

For the 300th time:

MOBI is based on HTML 3.2 and has no support for CSS.

In HTML 3.2 you can define table borders globally using a BORDER attribute. This border attribute allows setting only the thickness of the table borders. Different MOBI renderers interpret this attribute differently. If the input document defines any border/border-width css for a table, calibre will set the border attiribute to 1, otherwise it will do nothing.

The same is true for table backgrounds where HTML 3.2 uses a bgcolor attribute.

When you see a MOBI file "with proper formatting" it is not the result of a conversion from EPUB but instead an export from InDesign (or a result of hand coding HTML specifically for MOBI).

So in InDesign when you define a "colored paragraph" it is exported to MOBI using special markup. There is no such concept as a "colored block" in epub. Instead display attributes are defined using CSS in far more general ways. There is no way for a converter to convert the css used in the epub to define a colored block to highly limited MOBI markup in a consistent way.

Similarly, Dropcaps are created using css. There is no way to do that in MOBI. If you see a dropcaps in a MOBI file, then that file was not converted from an epub. Instead it uses some kind of table hackery or and image. This is only possible when generating the MOBI from a source that defines the dropcaps semantically as a dropcaps. In an epub, a dropcaps is created using instructions like "render this character at a larger font size and float it to the left". There is no way to translate that kind of instruction into a MOBI.

If you think there is a bug in the calibre MOBI converter, find an epub file that when converted using kindlegen preserves some feature that the calibre MOBI doesn't. If you can do that, feel free to open a bug. Otherwise, your bug report will be ignored.
Thank you. I will happily try kindlegen. Sorry to be a pain. I bet you have a macro defined for this message.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:14 PM   #8
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Thank you. I will happily try kindlegen. Sorry to be a pain. I bet you have a macro defined for this message.
Kindlegen converted properly. I will file a bug with a lot of attachments.

I know, you're sighing right now...
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:23 PM   #9
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Ok. perhaps I am mistaken. eBook viewer in Calibre doesn't show shading and border. My Kindle itself does not show shading and border. Kindle for PC shows shading and border.

Why can't amazon just use ePub like everyone else does, with their DRM wrapped around it. Looks like Amazon's own mobi rendering engine is not consistent among platforms.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:26 PM   #10
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I have a special basket where I keep all the hair that I have torn out of my head thanks to Amazon.
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Old 06-20-2011, 04:45 PM   #11
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I have a special basket where I keep all the hair that I have torn out of my head thanks to Amazon.
I take it the your Avatar is a really old Mug Shot
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Old 06-20-2011, 09:19 PM   #12
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I have a special basket where I keep all the hair that I have torn out of my head thanks to Amazon.
Living in a household with a nook and a Kindle, I think I may need to buy a basket...

I really want to buy a PRS-950 install PRS+ and be done with this whole mobi mess. If only Duokan did a better job of rendering ePubs...
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