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Old 01-20-2013, 10:19 AM   #1
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Sigil for Kindle?

Please can you answer some very basic questions about Sigil.

1. Is it suitable for someone who wants to produce books for the Kindle?

2. Would you have to use it to make the ePub file and then convert that using Calibre, or can it make a mobi file itself?

3. If you did that would you have a well formatted Kindle book, including a TOC.NCX for chapter navigation?

4. Is it suitable for someone who doesn't know or want to know about HTML, CSS etc.

(I have used both Mobipocket and InDesign to make Kindle format books including all the formatting, tox.ncx etc. but I have never used Sigil. The person who would be using it knows nothing.)

Thanks.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:26 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugger View Post
Please can you answer some very basic questions about Sigil.

1. Is it suitable for someone who wants to produce books for the Kindle?

2. Would you have to use it to make the ePub file and then convert that using Calibre, or can it make a mobi file itself?

3. If you did that would you have a well formatted Kindle book, including a TOC.NCX for chapter navigation?

4. Is it suitable for someone who doesn't know or want to know about HTML, CSS etc.

(I have used both Mobipocket and InDesign to make Kindle format books including all the formatting, tox.ncx etc. but I have never used Sigil. The person who would be using it knows nothing.)

Thanks.
Most of these questions would best be answered in a Kindle specific group.

IMHO EPUB is a fine start, so Sigil is good

I have heard that Kindlegen, not Calibre is then the conversion way to go for Amazon acceptance
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Tugger View Post
Please can you answer some very basic questions about Sigil.

1. Is it suitable for someone who wants to produce books for the Kindle?
It's suitable for making ePubs... which, if constructed with particular things in mind (things that may or may not be compliant with the ePub specs) can then be used to build a Kindle book.

Quote:
2. Would you have to use it to make the ePub file and then convert that using Calibre, or can it make a mobi file itself?
You'd have to use something to convert the ePub to mobi, because Sigil only makes ePubs.

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3. If you did that would you have a well formatted Kindle book, including a TOC.NCX for chapter navigation?
Depends on the program used to create the mobi from the ePub, and how you constructed the ePub in the first place (and if you properly created a working NCX in the epub to begin with). In other words... even a perfectly valid, working, well-formed ePub can be converted to a terribly formatted, non-compliant Kindle book.

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4. Is it suitable for someone who doesn't know or want to know about HTML, CSS etc.
Possibly. In my opinion... not really. In theory, yes. In practice, no.

Given a willingness to "pop open the hood," learn a bit of HTML/CSS and a willingness to spend a good deal of time learning what works and what doesn't when converting to Kindle's format (mostly through personal trial and error); Sigil's a fantastic tool in the overall workflow necessary to produce Kindle books. I use it for such all the time. But it's not going to do it for you if that's what you have in mind. You'll have to get a bit dirty.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-20-2013 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 01:49 PM   #4
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Thank you for the replies. I'm happy to "get dirty" but the person I'm asking for would not be able to.

It also sounds as if one would have to do more work oneslf as I'm fairly sure Calibre doesn't create the toc.ncx when it converts from ePub to mobi.

It is a shame that Sigil doesn't have a Kindlegen output feature. (I undrstand that ePub is superior and one would not wish to degrade a fine product, but the reality is that Amazon dominates the market.)
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Old 01-20-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugger View Post
It also sounds as if one would have to do more work oneslf as I'm fairly sure Calibre doesn't create the toc.ncx when it converts from ePub to mobi.
calibre doesn't need to create a toc.ncx if the epub already has one. And creating an NCX with Sigil is relatively painless if a standard h1, h2, h3, etc hierarchy is employed.

Quote:
It is a shame that Sigil doesn't have a Kindlegen output feature. (I undrstand that ePub is superior and one would not wish to degrade a fine product, but the reality is that Amazon dominates the market.)
It's a fine idea, however, an ePub suitable for feeding to Kindlegen has been a bit of a moving target all along. There's no reason to believe it won't continue to move.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:28 PM   #6
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Sigil makes epub files. I suggest you install Kindle Previewer and drop the pub into it. As well as making a brave attempt to show you what it will look like on the various flavours of Kindle, it will place a converted version neatly next to the original file on your computer. It sort of 'just works' since the recent update of KP :-)

You may think you'll go mad trying to get to grips with HTML and css. Actually, you'll go mad if you don't.

Sigil will construct a TOC if you tell it to (and you should) which converts nicely into Kindle. It will also construct an inline HTML TOC if you like.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:25 AM   #7
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IMHO, Sigil is also suitable for users without HTML/CSS skills, if the source .html files are already mostly XHTML compliant.

Basically all you'd have to do in Sigil is:
  • add all .html files in the correct order
  • add the cover image, right-click it and and select Add Semantics > Cover
  • generate the .ncx TOC, if Sigil hasn't already created one.
    (If no TOC entries are shown in the Generate TOC dialog box, you'll need to select each chapter heading and click on one of the h buttons (h1, h2, ...)
  • generate an HTML TOC from the .ncx TOC and move it before the first chapter or at the end of the book
  • select the .html file with the first chapter in it, right-click it, and select Add Semantics > Text
  • add metadata (author, title etc.)
  • click the green check-mark button to check for errors and fix them
  • save the .epub file and open it with KindlePreviewer to generate the .mobi file
If this sounds too complicated for you, you'll have to stick with your current work-flow.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:40 AM   #8
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That is the whole issue! If you start out creating your book, in Word or whatever, with the knowledge that it's going to become an eBook, you can keep it simple and auto-conversion may need very little intervention. If, however, you get 'clever' with the source, you're entering a minefield.

When I'm wearing my musician's hat, I see lots of discussion on how to 'fix in the mix'. I usually recommend going back and tracking the performance you wanted in the first place! There's a parallel in eBook construction.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theducks View Post

I have heard that Kindlegen, not Calibre is then the conversion way to go for Amazon acceptance
Particularly now that, as I mentioned, it's integrated with Kindle Previewer. Drop the epub on that programme icon - it's as simple as that!
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:29 AM   #10
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Those aren't exactly new features (drag 'n drop or kindlegen's integration into the Previewer). But I guess if people didn't realize you could drag source material onto kindlegen's or the Previewer's icons, then it might as well be new news.

The problem with the automatic conversion of ePubs is that without special consideration, it ignores how to gracefully degrade certain features that may not translate to the plain-jane version of mobi that scads of stand-alone devices still in use are limited to. It may be easy to assume that ePub and KF8 will cover "most of the bases," but the fact of the matter is that there are people out there spending money on something inferior if you don't use Amazon's proprietary media queries to ensure the graceful degradation of advanced features (or at the very least, previewed to see how it looks on devices that Amazon still sends your books to in exchange for money).

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-21-2013 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:34 AM   #11
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IMHO, Sigil is also suitable for users without HTML/CSS skills, if the source .html files are already mostly XHTML compliant.
I have to disagree here. You do need HTML/CSS skills in order to be able to do it correctly. Also, if FlightCrew pops up error messages, then you'd need to know how to fix them. Plus, if you wanted to change the way some things looked, you'd need to know.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #12
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That is the whole issue! If you start out creating your book, in Word or whatever, with the knowledge that it's going to become an eBook, you can keep it simple and auto-conversion may need very little intervention. If, however, you get 'clever' with the source, you're entering a minefield.

When I'm wearing my musician's hat, I see lots of discussion on how to 'fix in the mix'. I usually recommend going back and tracking the performance you wanted in the first place! There's a parallel in eBook construction.
If you start out creating your eBook in Word, you DEFINITELY will need to know HTML/CSS in order to clean out the mess that can be put in by Word. Even filtered HTML output from Word can be nasty.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:34 AM   #13
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IMHO, Sigil is also suitable for users without HTML/CSS skills, if the source .html files are already mostly XHTML compliant.
[...] You do need HTML/CSS skills in order to be able to do it correctly.
Not necessarily. While HTML/CSS skills are certainly desirable, users with no knowledge of or interest in HTML/CSS could presumably format a document only in Book View mode as long as the formatting of the document is relatively simple. The resulting code would most likely be a bit bloated, but syntactically valid.

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Also, if FlightCrew pops up error messages, then you'd need to know how to fix them.
If the user didn't use Code View to mess with the code, Flightcrew will usually only display error messages if the source documents were HTML 3.2 formatted or otherwise syntactically invalid, and most of these errors can be fixed by simply removing attributes not supported in XHTML.

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Plus, if you wanted to change the way some things looked, you'd need to know.
That depends on the quality requirements of the users. If they're OK with basic ePubs/mobis no further changes might be required.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:17 PM   #14
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I know quite a bit, but the person I'm asking for is a beginner and knows nothing. That is why I was looking for a solution which did not require HTML or CSS knowledge.

I'm now having a look at Jutoh, which might be easier and can generate output for Kindlegen. Is there somewhere in the forum where the product is discussed, as this is not the right place. Apart from one thread when it first started it seems mysteriously absent?
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:30 PM   #15
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I fear your friend will discover that "easy" does not equate to "getting it looking right" :-)
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