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Old 01-12-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Could Sigil create both EPUB and KF8?

I have just started looking at the documentation on the new Kindle KF8 format. It appears very close to the EPUB standard, but I don't know what happens under the covers when the output is created.
Is it close enough that in the future Sigil could output both formats?
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:40 PM   #2
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Short answer no.

Long answer. KF8 is a proprietary format. Amazon has not and will not release specification information about how to package this format (I'm referring to the binary container). Any reverse engineered implementation can only be an approximation. Supporting a KF8 would give users an expectation that may not be achievable.

Also, I have no interest in implementing or supporting a closed and proprietary format.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mncowboy View Post
I have just started looking at the documentation on the new Kindle KF8 format. It appears very close to the EPUB standard, but I don't know what happens under the covers when the output is created.
Is it close enough that in the future Sigil could output both formats?
The best thing to do is create the ePub and use Amazon's tools to convert to KF8.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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user_none - That sounds reasonable. Very disappointed that Amazon didn't go with EPUB for their format. I think it is a mistake on their part.

JSWolf - That's what I have been doing, Sigil to Calibre to get the mobi file. I've been working with the new Kindle Previewer, and that seems to work faster than Calibre to get the books converted from EPUB to mobi.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:12 AM   #5
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For all practical purposes, the mobi platform (which underlies Kindle) predates epub. In 2007, Sony and most other ebook readers used proprietary formats.

I use html to create Kindle books, which outsell Nook and all other venues many times over. As time permits, I then open the html in Sigil and use it to build an epub for Barnes & Noble. I no longer bother with Sony or Apple, let alone any of the others, which don't sell enough books to justify the time involved. (Amazon's UK store alone sells more books for me than Barnes & Noble does, and B&N sells more than all the rest combined.)

Both Kindle/mobi and Nook/epub are at bottom html documents. The only real difference I see between them is that the former wants a single file while the latter wants a file for every chapter or section.

I am accustomed to using CSS for web pages but have yet to master an included CSS file for Sigil. Since with KF8 standard, CSS will also be useful for building Kindle books, I suspect this is again a merging of the two standards. I notice for example that the Kindle Guidelines http://kindlegen.s3.amazonaws.com/Am...Guidelines.pdf no longer require the unique Mobi page break (actually a chapter break) of <mbp:pagebreak /> but instead suggests a CSS instruction. I wonder if that will also work on Sigil?

Really, for this year and the foreseeable future, Amazon owns the ebook market. For me it represents 80 percent of all my digital sales. It appears that B&N may be selling off the Nook franchise, and that I think would be a very good thing, since it would free the Nook from reliance on the B&N store. An independent Nook might be able to absorb some of the smaller players in this field, hence get closer to becoming a Kindle alternative.

A year ago the chatter was that Google Books was going to eat Amazon's lunch. I don't know ANYBODY who has ever sold a Google edition. Apple is a bit better, but not by much. Apple evidently is only interested in selling hardware; it couldn't care less about its ibookstore.

(JMHO, of course!)

(Sorry about the stupid icon in the middle of the pagebreak. I see no way to get rid of it.)
[MOD: You need to check the "Disable smilies in text" checkbox. Done for you.]

Last edited by pdurrant; 01-15-2012 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:26 AM   #6
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user_none - That sounds reasonable. Very disappointed that Amazon didn't go with EPUB for their format. I think it is a mistake on their part.
It wouldn't really make any difference either way.

It would be a cold day in hell before Amazon would go with Adobe's ePub DRM, and pay Adobe a royalty on every book they sold. Mainstream publishers won't go with DRM-free publication, so the only alternative is to either:

1. Wrap something very like ePub in a Mobi wrapper (which is what they've done)

or:

2. Add yet another DRM mechanism to ePub, which again would only be readable on Amazon's device.
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Old 01-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #7
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I do think we'll be seeing a lot of KF8 eBooks be just the same as the ePub version as it will mean the publishers only have to create the ePub and then convert to KF8 and done.
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Old 01-13-2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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Harry: I had forgotten about the DRM side of things - you are right that Amazon would never use Apple technology/standards.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:02 PM   #9
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Both Kindle/mobi and Nook/epub are at bottom html documents. The only real difference I see between them is that the former wants a single file while the latter wants a file for every chapter or section.
And one's a compiled, binary database file while the other is zipped up text files.

The difference between epub/mobi is more like the difference between an interpreted python/perl script and an executable compiled from source-code.

(None of the above should be construed as promoting one over the other—scripts/executables or mobi/epub)

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Old 01-13-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Harry: I had forgotten about the DRM side of things - you are right that Amazon would never use Apple technology/standards.
That would be Adobe, not Apple.
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Old 01-13-2012, 02:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
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user_none - That sounds reasonable. Very disappointed that Amazon didn't go with EPUB for their format. I think it is a mistake on their part.

JSWolf - That's what I have been doing, Sigil to Calibre to get the mobi file. I've been working with the new Kindle Previewer, and that seems to work faster than Calibre to get the books converted from EPUB to mobi.
KF8 is not mobi although it is in a mobi (actually Palm) container. It is really ePub source level with only minor differences. It has support for CSS, unlike real mobi files. Converting to mobi format is not the same as converting to KF8. The KindleGen program is likely the best tool to do the conversion. Of course the real reason for a separate database format is DRM as Harry pointed out. KF8 allows a more successful conversion from ePub by vendors since it mimics the ePub capabilities. You could think of it as compiled ePub.

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Old 01-15-2012, 06:38 AM   #12
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Supporting a KF8 would give users an expectation that may not be achievable.
Also, I have no interest in implementing or supporting a closed and proprietary format.
I understand your position, but wouldn't it be possible to simply add an option to specify the path to the Kindlegen KF8 executable and have Kindlegen generate KF8 output from the ePub in the background?
AFAIK, many commercial programs create Kindle output this way and Kindlegen is freely available for Windows, Linux and OS X.

And since many Kindle content creators seem start out with ePubs generated by Sigil, would it be possible to add an option for automatically generating an Kindle/Mobi style inline TOC from the NCX file Calibre does?

(I know that Kindle style TOCs are not required for ePubs, but why force Kindle content creators to use external tools just to manually insert a TOC?)
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:40 AM   #13
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Wouldn't that be more a job for Calibre than Sigil?
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:56 AM   #14
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Wouldn't that be more a job for Calibre than Sigil?
No, IMHO, Calibre is mainly an eBook management and conversion tool, while Sigil is primarily an authoring tool. Therefore it makes perfect sense to me add output features for other formats, and in particular KF8, because they're so similar and the implementation would be very easy.

BTW, I started out with Calibre, because you get instant results that are OK for most users, but more often than not I got unexpected and undesired results. That's why I eventually switched to Sigil and hardly ever use Calibre.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:52 AM   #15
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There really wouldn't be much point in having Sigil give you an option to build the KF8 with kindlegen (by configuring kindlegen's location in Sigil). Building the MOBI/KF8 file is already as simple as dragging the ePub onto the Kindlepreviewer app from a file browser. The latest kindlegen is built into the KindlePreviewer app.

Sigil is an ePub editor. I think it's best if they focus on that and not muddy the waters with features for other formats.

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