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Old 09-08-2012, 08:24 PM   #1
phaetongraph
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Question ebook conversion?

Hi,

Want to convert my manuscript into a MOBI file from a Word docx, including cover (art) & TOC.

How do I do this please?

Read somewhere that you can save a docx as a Word web format file and upload that to Calibre. That takes care of the basic text and hopefully the TOC. But what about the cover JPEG?

Help appreciated

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Old 09-09-2012, 09:17 AM   #2
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Yes, what you describe should work fine for casual personal use. But you have to test to see it it is good enough.

I just tested using LibreOffice Writer:

Saved a docx as HTML. (It had TOC and illustrations.)
Added that HTML to Calibre using drag-and-drop.
Converted to Mobi using Calibre. (Or epub if that is your preference.)
Added cover page and other metadata using Calibre.

As far as I can see it is mostly fine.

But this is not the recommended way to do this. It may not work at all as intended, because the formatting in Word may not always be exactly translated to HTML/XHTML. And there may be a lot of unnecessary stuff left in the resulting file, making it unnecessary big and perhaps causing problems in some reader software.

So you should take much more care when converting to HTML/XHTML. Some even recommend that you save the DOCX as a plain text and add all formatting again, from scratch, using a HTML/XHTML editor. And then create the ebook using that. Or use RTF. Or markup.

Last edited by Adoby; 09-09-2012 at 09:22 AM.
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Old 09-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Adoby View Post
...Some even recommend that you save the DOCX as a plain text and add all formatting again, from scratch, using a HTML/XHTML editor. And then create the ebook using that. Or use RTF. Or markup.
Thanks Adoby,

Am starting to see the light - hopefully not the light of the express train coming the other way though :-o [lol]

a) "save the DOCX as a plain text and add all formatting again"

Can do the save, but what do you mean by 'formatting' please?

b) "using a HTML/XHTML editor"

What is this please?

c) "use RTF. Or markup"

Don't know what these are - file formats? - but am cool to hang in there with HTML if I can.

Have I opened a can of worms here? Should I be looking for guides to using a HTML/XHTML editor on Amazon? If so, no worries, I am a used book junky, just point me in the general direction I may be heading for book titles?

Thanks again,

PG
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:12 PM   #4
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This is a very large area with a lot of different opinions. There are a lot written about this here on Mobileread. I have only very limited experience, and then mainly when it comes to making epubs and PDF:s.

But one way of producing a mobi book could be to first create a epub, and then convert that to mobi, or some other format.

Markup (or markdown) is a technique where you add hints in a regular text file, to make later conversion to HTML/XHTML easy. It will produce very clean and lean HTML/XHTML.

You can read more about Markdown here: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

Markdown is especially interesting because Calibre can handle it and use it to create mobi or epubs. I haven't tried that so I don't know how good that is.

I have mainly used AsciiDoc to mark up textfiles to create XHTML and epub. You can read more about AsciiDoc here: http://www.methods.co.nz/asciidoc/

I start with a plain text file and use AsciiDoc to add all formatting and images and so on. After that I generate an epub.

After the epub has been generated I may edit it in Sigil and/or touch up the CSS if needed. Sigil allows you both to edit using WYSIWYG tools, or to hand code the XHTLM code. I like it a lot!

If you already have a book ready as DOCX it may feel bad to make it into a plain text file and start over with the formatting...

There are a lot of cool things you can do if you stick to plain text files while writing. Like using standard version control tools and advanced text edtors that allow you to fold in and out text. But it may help if you have a background in programming...

I am sure that there are a lot of others here that have completely different ideas about how to make a book.
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Old 09-09-2012, 12:18 PM   #5
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It is a lot easier (IMHO) to make an ePub and then convert that to KF8/Mobi for the Kindles.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
It is a lot easier (IMHO) to make an ePub and then convert that to KF8/Mobi for the Kindles.
Thanks JS,

I have an ePub but it has an awkward TOC, Kindle Previewer doesn't like it. It splits it into a NCX and a static TOC, the latter is missing and the former only appears as a standalone, it works but it is somehow distanced from the body of the text. Kindle Previewer also refused to convert the cover, that will be because MOBI and ePub require different sized jpeg images.

P
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Old 09-09-2012, 04:02 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Adoby View Post
This is a very large area with a lot of different opinions.
Adoby,

I used lulu.com to generate my ePub. The file is good but the TOC is rudimentary. Are there any other ePub programmes out there that could handle my manuscript in docx please? I know how to form a good TOC in Word but for some reason lulu can't convert Headings 2 or 3 into sub-headers, it only recognises Heading 1 when I use it.

Am looking at your post right now, with thanks

P
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Old 09-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #8
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I am afraid that DOCX and Word are not very good for making ebooks for commercial use. At least that is my opinion and experience. Others may have a different view on that.

You can use Sigil to create a TOC that use any level of headers in the epub file.
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adoby View Post
I am afraid that DOCX and Word are not very good for making ebooks for commercial use. At least that is my opinion and experience. Others may have a different view on that. You can use Sigil to create a TOC that use any level of headers in the epub file.
Thanks.

Hm, so what I basically need to do is find myself a HTML guide that I can follow, and convert the MS.

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Old 09-09-2012, 06:42 PM   #10
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I would suggest that the easiest way could be to convert your book to plain txt and then use markdown to add formatting. Calibre to convert to epub and Sigil to add the final touches.

That is if you don't have a lot of complex formatting, but mostly just normal text and dialog, with chapter breaks.

Try with a chapter or a few pages.
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Old 09-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #11
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It would be easier to load the text into Sigil and with the original document loaded into Word, look at the Word document to see how it's formatted so you can duplicate that in Sigil. As Adoby said, if it's not complex formatting, it won't take long to go from plain text to a nicely formatted ePub. Just don't do the stupid things that a lot of publishers do such as wide margins, wide or no indents, paragraph spaces, not enough space for the section breaks, poorly simulated blockquotes, default text too small and other idiotic things they do.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adoby View Post
I would suggest that the easiest way could be to convert your book to plain txt and then use markdown to add formatting. Calibre to convert to epub and Sigil to add the final touches.

That is if you don't have a lot of complex formatting, but mostly just normal text and dialog, with chapter breaks.

Try with a chapter or a few pages.
Thanks Adoby.

This sounds good. I have also bookmarked some titles on html which won't do me any harm in reading.

So to get my MOBI I need build a plain txt version of the MS, create an ePub in Calibre, check it out - the TOC and so forth - then presumably put it through Calibre again to form the MOBI?

Yes I'd do lets of mini projects first, to see what works and what doesn't.

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Old 09-09-2012, 11:56 PM   #13
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Create the ePub in Sigil and not Calibre.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
It would be easier to load the text into Sigil and with the original document loaded into Word, look at the Word document to see how it's formatted so you can duplicate that in Sigil...
You are way ahead of me JS, I need to check out Sigil

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