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Old 06-11-2008, 12:40 PM   #1
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Build help needed

I've set myself the task of building proper and well-formatted books from the Bobbsey Twins texts available at Project Gutenberg. I've learned a lot, especially from Harry T and Nick.

So, now that I feel I have gotten the basics under control I have two things I would like to do to improve the quality of the eBooks I'm formatting.

1 - I'd like to include proper "curly" quotes. And even a curly apostrophe unless the shape of the apostrophe is just set by the font and there's no option. I recognize that there may be a fair amount of hand coding that I will need to do and that's OK by me. Can someone offer a formula or suggestion on how to go about that? I thought about editing the HTML file and changing the " symbol to " but that wouldn't distinguish between opening & closing quotes.

2 - I'm pulling images from the scanned versions of the books at books.google.com and including them in the generated books. Is there some kind of markup that I can use to identify a caption so that Book Designer will keep the image and the caption on the same page?

Tools I'm using so far:

Book Designer -- following Harry T's tutorial. I'm basically using his Word document, but I did add in the filter files that he recommended. Output from this is the Sony book and an HTML file to be used in the next steps.

MobiPocket Creator -- again following Harry T's tutorial. Input the HTML file from Book Designer and modify as recommended by Harry. Output is the MobiPocket book.

Mobi2IMP -- with the Windows GUI interface, following instructions provided by Nick. Input the PRC file created by MobiPocket Creator and output the IMP files in both sizes.

Should I be looking at calibre to improve the Sony book above that produced by Book Designer?

I'm a computer geek and willing to poke, prod, and otherwise finagle files and programs to get the best outcome.

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Old 06-12-2008, 03:44 PM   #2
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"calibre" won't give you "better" Sony books than BD; it's a tool primarily meant for automated conversions from other formats (LIT, HTML, etc), whereas BD is a tool for "hand-crafting" your books.

Can't help you with the "curly quotes", I'm afraid. I don't particularly like them myself.
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Old 06-12-2008, 04:22 PM   #3
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Actually, calibre will give you better books, it offers far more control and features than BD, it's just harder to use for had crafting as it expects you to know HTML.
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Actually, calibre will give you better books, it offers far more control and features than BD, it's just harder to use for had crafting as it expects you to know HTML.
All-right, then. I know HTML and am not intimidated by CSS. Now JavaScript is another matter, but since I'm not trying to do anything interactive, shouldn't be needed.

So -- is there any markup that would tell BD or calibre or MobiPocket Creator or whatever, that an illustration and a caption are to be kept on the same page? Or to identify text as a caption to an illustration? For example, do any of the book building products convert the alt= attribute of an img tag to a caption?

I can live without curly quotes -- I have mixed feelings about them, but know that some people are quite passionate about them, so I'd like to have a formula for creating a book with them. (I suppose I could hand-edit my html input and add the appropriate &xxx; symbols?)

Already I'm using the following work flow:

1 - Open the PG text or html in Book Designer, and following Harry T's tutorial, work all the way through to the point I'm ready to build the book. "Save" to make sure all updates are in the .html0 file in the LastFile folder.

2 - Exit BD

3 - Open the .html0 file in a text editor & insert the illustrations (if any) into the proper places.

4 - Open BD. "Save As" .htm file in a folder for input to MobiPocket Creator.

5 - Build the book for the Sony Reader

6 - Exit BD

7 - Edit the .htm file created by BD following the instructions in Harry T's tutorial for MobiPocket Creator.

8 - Open MobiPocket Creator and import the .htm file. Continue to follow Harry T's tutorial to create the Metadata, etc. for the book.

9 - Build the MobiPocket book.

10 - Exit MPC

11 - Open Mobi2IMP and import the .prc file created by MPC.

12 - Build the IMP books.

13 - Exit M2I.

14 - Rename all final files before uploading the MobileRead.

I would have no problem exiting BD with the .html0 file as is and then importing it into calibre to build the Sony book -- that's just one more piece of software and only one more step in the workflow -- particularly if the resulting book would be of higher quality.

Now -- how do I view the Sony book to assess whether there are any problems? Does calibre provide a viewer?
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Old 06-12-2008, 05:26 PM   #5
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yeah calibre has an LRF viewer, its called lrfviewer

I can't think of any HTML markup that would force a caption to be on the same page, but what you can do is add a bunch of blank lines before the image and after the caption to make it clear that they belong together. Use <br> for that.

Putting in the HTML entities will work for curly quotes.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:15 PM   #6
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I favor curly quotes. I think they make a better looking final document than straight quotes. I do all of my basic editing outside BookDesigner and load the resultant file in BD. Likewise, the file could be loaded into calibre for conversion. (I have used calibre for many tasks such as magazines and newspapers; but I have not yet mastered it enough to produce ebooks to my specifications.)

In BD there is no command that I have ever found that will keep the caption on the same page as the graphic. Likewise, I have not found (although I have looked and want one) a paragraph style to use for captions that does not result in the subtitle attribute being applied to it.

I have also produced covers using Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. I put the MobileRead logo on the cover of ebooks, on the title page, on the final page, and sometimes at other places inside the book (like on a "Part II" page.) Since books posted here are sometimes reposted elsewhere without attribution I prefer to brand them with the logo so that people who subsequently read them might come here looking for more ebooks.
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Old 06-12-2008, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
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I have also produced covers using Corel Draw, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Illustrator. I put the MobileRead logo on the cover of ebooks, on the title page, on the final page, and sometimes at other places inside the book (like on a "Part II" page.) Since books posted here are sometimes reposted elsewhere without attribution I prefer to brand them with the logo so that people who subsequently read them might come here looking for more ebooks.
I like this idea. I had also thought of putting a paragraph at the end under the one inserted by Book Designer saying "Brought to you by a volunteer at MobileRead. http://www.mobileread.com".
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:31 PM   #8
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by RWood View Post
In BD there is no command that I have ever found that will keep the caption on the same page as the graphic.
If it's a "full page" illustration, what should work is forcing a hard page break immediately before the illustration, then making sure that the illustration and the caption actually fit onto the same page. On an 800x600 screen, you should probably make the illustration no larger than about 650 pixels high. That leaves comfortable room for a line of text below or above it.

Quote:
Likewise, I have not found (although I have looked and want one) a paragraph style to use for captions that does not result in the subtitle attribute being applied to it.
I just make it a normal "paragraph" line of text, then manually apply the "centre" and "italic" styles to it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 05:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
Actually, calibre will give you better books, it offers far more control and features than BD, it's just harder to use for had crafting as it expects you to know HTML.
Could you give an example of something that calibre can do that BD can't?
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:51 AM   #11
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tables, drop caps, small caps see for example the LRF file in http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/downloads/html-demo.zip
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:08 PM   #12
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Thanks, Kovid - I'd forgotten about these restrictions of BD when it comes to the Sony. These days I deal primarily with Mobi books, and edit all that kind of thing directly in HTML.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elsi View Post
1 - I'd like to include proper "curly" quotes. And even a curly apostrophe unless the shape of the apostrophe is just set by the font and there's no option. I recognize that there may be a fair amount of hand coding that I will need to do and that's OK by me. Can someone offer a formula or suggestion on how to go about that? I thought about editing the HTML file and changing the " symbol to &quot; but that wouldn't distinguish between opening & closing quotes.
This would have to be done manually, as algorithmically it may fail and then will really mess up your ebook! Search the forums for "curly and quotes" as there are some insights by JSWolf about doing this.

Quote:
2 - I'm pulling images from the scanned versions of the books at books.google.com and including them in the generated books. Is there some kind of markup that I can use to identify a caption so that Book Designer will keep the image and the caption on the same page?
In html, the CSS Style Property: page-break-after allows for an "avoid" option so if you surround your image and subsequent caption with a <div style="page-break-after: avoid"> ... </div> construct, it should in theory not render the image on the page, if the caption cannot fit. The div construct should then be rendered on the next page and if the illustration is not too tall, then there should be room for the caption there.

I say in theory since on the ebookwise, the CSS Style Property "page-break-after" is broken and not recognized, so Mobi2IMP won't help convert this! Oh well.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:52 PM   #14
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I've been taking to doing searching/replacing of quotes by hand as Word's smart quites don't always work properly. It's not all that hard to do really.
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Old 06-13-2008, 04:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
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In html, the CSS Style Property: page-break-after allows for an "avoid" option so if you surround your image and subsequent caption with a <div style="page-break-after: avoid"> ... </div> construct, it should in theory not render the image on the page, if the caption cannot fit. The div construct should then be rendered on the next page and if the illustration is not too tall, then there should be room for the caption there.

I say in theory since on the ebookwise, the CSS Style Property "page-break-after" is broken and not recognized, so Mobi2IMP won't help convert this! Oh well.
Since I'm snatching the graphics from the PDFs at books.google.com, and then cleaning them up in Paint Shop Pro (akin to PhotoShop) or The Gimp, I figure I could just extend the image down and put the caption right into the image. Oversize images appear to get resized to fit, so if I get close in the final size from PSP, then it should be OK. Will try that out.
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