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Old 04-27-2012, 10:07 PM   #31
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Or hardware developers could actually support Unicode, instead of doing the whole "we ignore standards" thing that's so popular these days.
The system was in place before Smashwords. So what Smashwords needs to allow is to allow ePub upload so authors can make sure their eBooks work.

When an author comes here asking for help when a Smashwords conversion fails, it's not easy to say what's wrong and/or what to do. Sure, it may be easy to fix the ePub, but the fix needs to be in the Word document. That isn't easy.

I've heard from a lot of authors who would like nothing better then to be able to put up ePub that's been cleaned and works well.

I've seen some of the issues that can happen in the code. The code might look good if you don't want to change anything, but if you do, you might not be able to.

I've also seen some ePub that were all italics and some that were all underlined. Obviously these passed the checks and balances after being ground up. So the system isn't perfect by a long shot. In fact, the system is so very much broken.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:24 PM   #32
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It backfires on them now. Because of the meatgrinder, I do not purchase eBooks from Smashwords. I won't until they allow direct ePub upload and they label new books as uploaded or meatground.

By all reports I have seen, their business is booming... so I hardly call that backfiring. I doubt that the choice of doc vs mobi vs what ever upload will matter in the long run. If they were to pick one, mobi might be wiser then epub since more people have Kindles then not.

So long as it works, which it does, for the majority share of the market, Iam sure they will carry on fine.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:37 PM   #33
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It backfires on them now. Because of the meatgrinder, I do not purchase eBooks from Smashwords. I won't until they allow direct ePub upload and they label new books as uploaded or meatground.
While you're at it, why don't you write a book for English majors on how to write functional CSS HTML and create their own ePubs? It'd to a lot more good than sitting around snipping at Smashwords all day long.
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Old 04-28-2012, 12:16 AM   #34
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Alex,

At Smash, you just use the "insert page break" feature of MS Word, and when the EPub is generated, the page break is there.
Thanks, Vydorscope, I appreciate your response, but ...

I've got the Smashwords Style Guide in front of me at Step 12:

'If you insert page breaks into your Word document (Insert: Break: [choose one]), the PDF and RTF versions will honor them, but these commands will be lost in most other formats, which strip page breaks and section breaks.'

Have things changed? Have you actually inserted a page break in Word and had it cause a page break in the resultant ePub?
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Old 04-28-2012, 02:23 AM   #35
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[...]No one disagrees that a "one size fits all" really never does fit all. The point really is that they needed to standardize on something to keep support and complexity down, and they chose DOC. Why? I would guess because everyone knows word docs, and they are a much wider standard then EPUB or MOBI. But thats just a guess.
I think they chose the right approach to start with (their success to date would appear to make that self-evident), epub - and editing software that supports it - has really only been settling down in more recent times. The question I think they should be asking themselves is whether they should be expanding their support. It's not like creating epubs is writing code these days. Good clean epubs are easy, and can be checked by the author in the privacy and convenience of their own computer before being uploaded. Conversion requirements are much less than they ever used to be, and I suspect that many authors would be just as happy if their work only ever got to epub and mobi formats (the latter of which doesn't have to be a smashwords problem because many authors are apparently intentionally ignoring this capability anyway and going direct to Amazon).
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:52 AM   #36
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If I remember correctly, one Smashword official once said in a thread around here, that they are working on accepting epub directly. It is just not a high priority for them.

Of course not all authors can produce perfect epub files, but there are a lot of authors coming here with questions about broken Word files that do not pass the meatgrinder. So creating well styled Word files is not a skill known by all authors either.

No one ever said it has to be an either-or situation. Just because Smashword starts to accept epubs does not mean they have to stop accepting Word files.

In my opinion they would do good to open up to accept epub. That way all those authors that can't reach the other outlets, because of not living in the US, got a chance to provide their readers with beautiful ebooks. Whether they create them their selves or let others create them is another question.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:24 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
Thanks, Vydorscope, I appreciate your response, but ...

I've got the Smashwords Style Guide in front of me at Step 12:

'If you insert page breaks into your Word document (Insert: Break: [choose one]), the PDF and RTF versions will honor them, but these commands will be lost in most other formats, which strip page breaks and section breaks.'

Have things changed? Have you actually inserted a page break in Word and had it cause a page break in the resultant ePub?
I have. Or I believe I have.

What I currently do that does work is in my Word template I have "Header 1" set to have the page break before it, and that works flawlessly. (Header 1 is what I use for chapters)
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:31 AM   #38
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If I remember correctly, one Smashword official once said in a thread around here, that they are working on accepting epub directly. It is just not a high priority for them.

Of course not all authors can produce perfect epub files, but there are a lot of authors coming here with questions about broken Word files that do not pass the meatgrinder. So creating well styled Word files is not a skill known by all authors either.

No one ever said it has to be an either-or situation. Just because Smashword starts to accept epubs does not mean they have to stop accepting Word files.

In my opinion they would do good to open up to accept epub. That way all those authors that can't reach the other outlets, because of not living in the US, got a chance to provide their readers with beautiful ebooks. Whether they create them their selves or let others create them is another question.
I do not think anyone in this thread has suggested they drop MS Word support. My point was that by ADDING the EPub they are increasing complexity of their tools, which will increase their costs of maintaining the tools. It will also increase the support load on their staff which is already unable to keep up with the current load.

They have to decide that if treating the edge cases is worth that cost, and it seems that so far they have decided its not.

As customer, I am all for flexibility, but I can see the wisdom in not doing it.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:35 AM   #39
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I think they chose the right approach to start with (their success to date would appear to make that self-evident), epub - and editing software that supports it - has really only been settling down in more recent times. The question I think they should be asking themselves is whether they should be expanding their support. It's not like creating epubs is writing code these days. Good clean epubs are easy, and can be checked by the author in the privacy and convenience of their own computer before being uploaded. Conversion requirements are much less than they ever used to be, and I suspect that many authors would be just as happy if their work only ever got to epub and mobi formats (the latter of which doesn't have to be a smashwords problem because many authors are apparently intentionally ignoring this capability anyway and going direct to Amazon).
Well, mobi is a problem for them because they are aggressively trying to get into Amazon. Which brings up another point. To me, right now if I owned Smash and had a choice to spend my resources on EPub uploads, or getting Amazon as a distribution partner, I would choose to work on Amazon.
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Old 04-28-2012, 08:30 AM   #40
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I have. Or I believe I have.

What I currently do that does work is in my Word template I have "Header 1" set to have the page break before it, and that works flawlessly. (Header 1 is what I use for chapters)
Thanks, Vidorscope, I appreciate your patience.

I'll see if I can make that work with LibreOffice or Atlantis - neither my daughter (for whom I'm doing the formatting) nor I have Microsoft Word.
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Old 04-28-2012, 09:17 AM   #41
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Well, mobi is a problem for them because they are aggressively trying to get into Amazon. Which brings up another point. To me, right now if I owned Smash and had a choice to spend my resources on EPub uploads, or getting Amazon as a distribution partner, I would choose to work on Amazon.
That is an interesting one, isn't it. Do you submit to the dominant force in the market and become just another minor feed in its multiple gaping maws, or do you try to make a place for yourself outside that domination? The former may ensure some money for a while, but the risk is making yourself redundant and pointless. Many authors are already going directly and exclusively to Amazon, why would they need Smashwords? As I see it (and I accept that this is only an inexperienced view), authors currently go to Smashwords in order to be published everywhere else, if Amazon was their only/primary concern then that's where they'd concentrate their efforts (as many already do).
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Old 04-28-2012, 03:30 PM   #42
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That is an interesting one, isn't it. Do you submit to the dominant force in the market and become just another minor feed in its multiple gaping maws, or do you try to make a place for yourself outside that domination? The former may ensure some money for a while, but the risk is making yourself redundant and pointless. Many authors are already going directly and exclusively to Amazon, why would they need Smashwords? As I see it (and I accept that this is only an inexperienced view), authors currently go to Smashwords in order to be published everywhere else, if Amazon was their only/primary concern then that's where they'd concentrate their efforts (as many already do).
Yes, that is what I do. I have opted out of Amazon on Smash so that even when they get up I will still go direct to Amazon because Amazon is much faster about everything. Customer Service, listings, payments, approvals, etc. They are just better at it.

BUT I suspect that Smashwords is looking to migrate more and more into a publisher kind of role, and in which case getting into Amazon is critical to long time survivability I would think.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:28 PM   #43
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Thanks, Vidorscope, I appreciate your patience.

I'll see if I can make that work with LibreOffice or Atlantis - neither my daughter (for whom I'm doing the formatting) nor I have Microsoft Word.
Its in there. Look at the "text flow" tab when you're editing the individual style.

Which reminds me, I'll have to remember that one.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:33 PM   #44
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By all reports I have seen, their business is booming... so I hardly call that backfiring. I doubt that the choice of doc vs mobi vs what ever upload will matter in the long run. If they were to pick one, mobi might be wiser then epub since more people have Kindles then not.

So long as it works, which it does, for the majority share of the market, Iam sure they will carry on fine.
Actually, more people have ePub capable readers then Kindles. Remember, the world does not stop as the US borders. Plus, ePub converts better (overall) to other formats then Mobi does.

That's good for Smashwords that business is booming. But they haven't got my money due to their sub-par meatgrinder.
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Old 04-28-2012, 07:36 PM   #45
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While you're at it, why don't you write a book for English majors on how to write functional CSS HTML and create their own ePubs? It'd to a lot more good than sitting around snipping at Smashwords all day long.
A lot of what I learned, I learned via the Internet. I just searched for what I needed and found it. It's not hard and there are sites that do tutorials for HTML/CSS and even ePub. And when you get right down to it, it's not hard to learn.

Given the problems that some have getting a good conversion out of Word, it would be easier to learn to make the ePub.

And as for books on HTML/XML/CSS, they already exist.
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