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Old 12-28-2007, 03:33 AM   #31
cfw123
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I too want to have a single format for ebooks, and perhaps .mobi is that. I only will read ebooks on my Kindle, and want to avoid DSM books at all cost. I think .awz -- the Kindle format -- might be best, but .mobi appears to be the same thing, or becoming that with new revisions, and Kindle says that they read these just fine.

I want to have one file per ebook. Kindle says this is necessary. I would like all images to be stored in B&W with 600-800 size maximum. But I don't know how to do that.

So far it looks like a highly restricted .html is best, but don't know how to do the B&W conversions, as well as restricting size to 600-800.

I have a lot of ebooks, mostly in adobe formats. I have a format converter to go to a DOC file, but would prefer to go direct to html instead, as the DOC to html conversion of MS Word is terrible, and creates enormous files.

Sorry for such a jumbled post, but don't know how to organize this any better.

Charles Wilkes, San Jose, Calif.
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Old 12-28-2007, 07:02 AM   #32
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So far it looks like a highly restricted .html is best, but don't know how to do the B&W conversions, as well as restricting size to 600-800.
You need a good graphics editing program. I use "Paintshop Pro", but there are lots of good ones around.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:35 AM   #33
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nairbv, in your first post you asked about the best reader software for windows. In my opinion, it is hands down the Mobipocket desktop reader. It has a built-in importer that can accept doc, rtf, html, pdf, txt. The pdf importer in particular is excellent.
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Old 12-28-2007, 10:16 AM   #34
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You need a good graphics editing program. I use "Paintshop Pro", but there are lots of good ones around.
I love Paintshop too, but there is a program called xnview, which is excellent and free; it does fast batch operations on pictures (resizing, rotating...)

http://www.xnview.com/
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:42 AM   #35
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@nairbv
The only way you can make a format strictly semantic and simpler than html is by imposing strict semantics and limiting the number of tags, in which case it wont be as powerful as html. look at it this way, html allows you to be both semantic and to control presentation if you want to. Semantic XML will allow you only control of the semantic information, not the presentation. Now generally, that is a good thing, but i feel having the extra flexibility is valuable, but maybe thats because I come from a background of TeX where you use a Turing complete language to do markup.

Also I write conversion tools for ebook formats and I have to say that parsing HTML is no great hardship. People have already written several tools that "tidy" up html until it becomes XML and then you can use any XML parser to do the trick.
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Old 12-28-2007, 11:55 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by cfw123 View Post
I too want to have a single format for ebooks, and perhaps .mobi is that. I only will read ebooks on my Kindle, and want to avoid DSM books at all cost. I think .awz -- the Kindle format -- might be best, but .mobi appears to be the same thing, or becoming that with new revisions, and Kindle says that they read these just fine.

I want to have one file per ebook. Kindle says this is necessary. I would like all images to be stored in B&W with 600-800 size maximum. But I don't know how to do that.

So far it looks like a highly restricted .html is best, but don't know how to do the B&W conversions, as well as restricting size to 600-800.

I have a lot of ebooks, mostly in adobe formats. I have a format converter to go to a DOC file, but would prefer to go direct to html instead, as the DOC to html conversion of MS Word is terrible, and creates enormous files.
If you want drm-free e-books on the Kindle, then MOBI is essentially your only choice. However, note that it has been designed as a display format as opposed to an archive format. In other words, when converting to MOBI you may loose some information that was in the original and might be important if you ever wanted to convert to another format. Archiving in HTML or OEB (essentially, HTML with an opf metadata file) or EPUB might be better, although there are currently no tools for EPUB to MOBI conversion. Mobipocket's own tools will convert HTML or OEB to MOBI under Windows, or you can use Mobiperl on any desktop.

There is typically no need to convert color images to gray scale, the Kindle will do this for you. I think it will also rescale images bigger than the screen.

For PDF's Amazon's own conversion for the Kindle may be as good as it gets. The Windows MobiPocket Reader has a similar PDF to MOBI capability.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:32 AM   #37
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I've been saving files since the early 1980's. I've seen a lot of old media die. I've seen executables from a Commodore not run on an XT. I've seen .zip files that opened on an XT not open on a !486, because the format changes. I've seen copy-protected 360k floppies not work in a 1.2MB drive.

I dropped DOC, XLS, MDB, etc when Microsoft moved to DOCX, XLSX, etc because Microsoft's data formats are too ephemeral for long-term use.

Here are my current formats for my 1TB library:

Documents:
PDF
TXT (& CSV)
RTF
CHM
HTM (& HTML)
DJVU (sorry...I had to edit my post to add this)

Databases:
XML

Images:
JPG
GIF
PNG
TIF
BMP

Discs:
ISO, if necessary - otherwise just store the files

Audio:
MP3 (I save them in whatever the encoding is that comes to me, plus I save it as 16 bits per sample, 16k/second, stereo. This is because some MP3 players do not support some formats (for example, 8 bits/sample, 8 k/second, mono.)
CD Audio (rare)

Video: (rare)
AVI
DVD Video

Executables:
x86, on a live disc image

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Last edited by recycledelectron; 12-29-2007 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 12-29-2007, 07:04 AM   #38
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I think anybody who spends time formatting ebooks should take a serious look at the Daisy DTBook XML element set (which is actually included as part of the epub spec).

It allows semantic markup (ie. you use tags like <author> and <epigraph> rather than presentation tags like <center> and <font>) and inclusion in epub means that hardware readers should support the format natively in the near future.

Perhaps best of all; documents that you spend time marking up in DTBook should be accessible to those with vision problems - via text-to-speech and braille converters.

CSS (and possibly XLST) used in combination with a DTBook document should allow a visual presentation almost as good as using HTML/CSS, but with the advantages of greater accessiblility and semantic clarity.

Also it appears to be a fairly small element set, so it doesn't have the steep learning curve associated with TEI. Marking up something with a simple structure like a novel should be very easy.

Last edited by Lexicon; 12-29-2007 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:31 AM   #39
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I think anybody who spends time formatting ebooks should take a serious look at the Daisy DTBook XML element set (which is actually included as part of the epub spec).

It allows semantic markup (ie. you use tags like <author> and <epigraph> rather than presentation tags like <center> and <font>) and inclusion in epub means that hardware readers should support the format natively in the near future.

Perhaps best of all; documents that you spend time marking up in DTBook should be accessible to those with vision problems - via text-to-speech and braille converters.

CSS (and possibly XLST) used in combination with a DTBook document should allow a visual presentation almost as good as using HTML/CSS, but with the advantages of greater accessiblility and semantic clarity.

Also it appears to be a fairly small element set, so it doesn't have the steep learning curve associated with TEI. Marking up something with a simple structure like a novel should be very easy.
Yeah I need to take a closer look at DTBook too. I know that they divide books in parts/chapters/sections like we do on Feedbooks.
I don't really like though the fact that you have to explicitly tell the level of depth.

Should be very easy to make Feedbooks fully DTBook compliant, I'll work on this next month I guess.

I've been studying other standards too, for example I'd like to use hReview on Feedbooks.
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Old 12-30-2007, 12:55 AM   #40
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This DTBook format looks cool.... It looks like it might be exactly what I"m looking in a base format for if I can find tools to convert to this format.... I mean, it seems like conversion from this mostly semantic format should be very simple and so it makes more sense as a "base" format.

I don't really understand though, .. .I mean, it looks like it will hold all of the information in a book, but it's also incorporated into epub, ... what does epub add to this format?
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Old 12-30-2007, 01:04 AM   #41
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The point is that with DTBook you can only specify semantic information, with epub you can specify presentation information as well as semantic information
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Old 12-30-2007, 07:28 AM   #42
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Yes, epub is basically a zip file containing a number of different files. If you were writing a DTBook/epub document then one of these files would be the XML source and the other would be a CSS file telling the reader how you would like that XML to be rendered.

I'd hope that the viewer/reader application would be able to replace the built in CSS at the user's command though, otherwise many of the advantages of the separation of semantic and presentation info would be lost. I'd also hope that most viewers would come with some built in CSS files for presenting DTBook XML at various sizes.

Actually there is a cynical side to me that is wondering whether reader manufacturers will support 'DTBook within epub' at all, it's not that unusual for standards to be only partially implemented and the manufacturers may just implement the XHTML part of the spec.

I think it'd be a real shame if that happens. It won't stop me formatting books in DTBook but it'd mean I'd have to run them through a converter before loading them onto a reader.
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Old 12-31-2007, 05:04 AM   #43
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If you images are in .gif or other format then convert those images to .jpg for reducing the size of images, but still you find the process complicated then i can recommend you one ebook conversion service provider who converts any complicated text or pdf format ebook to mobipocket or kindle ebook format at very reasonable price along with providing 100% quality work.
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Old 12-31-2007, 10:04 PM   #44
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hmm...

but epub is more than DTBook+CSS,... it also has XHTML files, which separately store the text of the book.

My impression though is that DTBook ALSO stores the text of the book, and some amount of presentation information. I've read that the DTBook element set "borrows heavily" from the HTML spec (which doesn't bother me, I just don't like all-out, separate, semantics-free HTML files that include all their own ways of representing meta-data etc, and then have to be marked up by external XML to hackily tack on book related semantic data).

I mean, someone could come up with a "standard" that with some funny file extension essentially a renamed zip file containing TXT or html or rtf file.... and expect all the readers to use if statements. That would have the ability to preserve lots of information and give the authors lots of control, .. and would "draw from existing standards," but ... it wouldn't be a reasonable standard in itself. It wouldn't be anything useful at all.

So, if epub is DTBook (which contains the text of a book in an xml-internal html-like format) + the epub XHTML files (which are a separate subset of the HTML spec, stored in individual one-per-chapter files) + epub's XML markup + css all being zipped together... How does that work? implement both and use "if" statements? Reader software implements the part of the spec necessary for the publishers they have contracts with? Or am I miss-understanding the way they "draw from" these multiple standards?

Can a book be entirely represented as a DTBook or not? kovidgoyal says it won't hold presentation information on it's own, but if not then why would it borrow heavily from the HTML spec? Searching around I just found a microsoft word plugin that generates DTBooks. If it's ONLY semantic information then how would word generate a book? I wish I had word now to try it out.

So maybe DTBook is the format I should be storing all my books in. Are there converters that convert to DTBook? It seems like DTBook would be the simplest format to convert FROM from what I see so far, and that's what I'm really concerned with in a "base" format. There's no sense in converting to a format (or spending time adding semantic information to a new file in a particular format) if I can't easily convert from that format.

Converting from a semantically-rigid xml file (regardless of how much html-like markup it has) will be easier in my mind than converting from a mess of real html files + hacked on external xml markup. Parsing a pile of files and trying to guess where the particular author put the semantic information, (or maybe even guessing whether it's a DTBook or HTML file holding the content??)... I just wont put in that kind of effort. Whereas, parsing a semantic XML file with content that's been marked up a bit with html tags, ... for that I could learn xsl and write a basic transformer in a day. Even if DTBook isn't fully implemented in epub, it seems it would be painless to convert from DTBook to epub without losing any information, .. from what I see so far anyways.
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Old 12-31-2007, 10:49 PM   #45
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ooh, I just found this:

"even though OPS 2.0 (which is inside the EPub container) supports DTBook well enough that a DTBook Publication can easily be made to conform to OPS 2.0, this does not mean that EPub requires support for the unique features in DTBook. The only “DTBook” requirement is that all OPS 2.0 Publications must include the DTBook NCX, which is the machine-readable table of contents."

from http://www.teleread.org/blog/2007/11...point-readers/

So, epub doesn't really support DTBook, it just uses the same kind of table of contents? What's "can be made to conform" mean? like, DTBook's spec could be tweaked a little? or a rigidly made DTBook could as-is meet OPS requirements? Does that just mean not using any of the dtbook-specific tags so that it was just semantics-free html? I'm assuming a DTBook doesn't start with an "HTML" tag or anything like that though. Maybe they mean calling it "out of line" xml (ops 2.0 #1.4.1.4), ignoring the semantic data in the file, and including a link to a transforming stylesheet? Doesn't sound pretty either way.

but then later I see "DTBook is valid markup for use as content (along with XHTML)"

Then again from here it also looks like content is an "either/or" of html or dtbook (or maybe xml .. + stylesheet?):
http://www.idpf.org/2007/ops/OPS_2.0...Section1.4.1.1

they also talk a lot about CSS in this spec, but seem to be referring to it as xml stylesheets. I thought xml stylesheets where xsl, not css? or are they talking about xsl?

and then in 2.6.2.3.1 I see "If the Reading System is capable of processing the document format of chapter2.xml then the link resolves to chapter2.xml. Otherwise, the link resolves to the fallback for chapter2.xml, which is chapter2.html" .... so, ... yeah, ... a bunch of if statements to find your content, based on which style of content the particular reader has implemented a way to render. This all seems pretty lame to me.
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