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Old 11-12-2008, 02:34 PM   #1
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Formatting Books

I am in the process of formatting a number of books. Basically correcting mistakes, sorting out the chapters etc.

Currently I am creating them as RTF files. I am not bothered about creating any other file format at the moment...

What I would like to know is what is the best page size to create for viewing on the reader? I would like it that when editing all my page breaks etc. are in the right place.

Many thanks,
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Old 11-12-2008, 06:42 PM   #2
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Until I decided I just had to have graphics in my Sony eBooks, I also used RTFs for the Reader.

My favorite settings were Verdana font at 16 points (it reads much smaller in the Reader, believe me), half inch margins all the way around, with page breaks at each chapter (as well as the "normal" places, like title page, author page, etc.) And when I include block-quoted text, I generally indent only an additional 1/2 inch.

But really, you've just got to experiment to find what works best for you. There really isn't a "right place". These aren't like PDFs where the (old firmware) only displayed the page as a picture. Your Reader will reflow the text, so your margins and paragraphs and page breaks are your own.

As you read around this forum, you'll find we have disparate tastes! Some insist on full justification, some despise it. Some go to great lengths to convert plain punctuation (i.e., straight quotes, regular dashes) to fancy (curly quotes, m-dashes), others specifically strip out the "fancy". Some think page breaks at each chapter is a hold-over from print books, others still want that break.

When I first started converting books for eBookwise (my first ebook reader), I spent quite a bit of time making test files. Different fonts, different font sizes...single-spaced, double-spaced...narrow margins, wider margins...etc. I finally settled on one I liked, although I'll admit I fine-tuned it over the years. Sometimes when I get around to reading a book I converted a few years ago, I'm surprised by how much my formatting decisions have changed!

I'm trying to remember any "don'ts"....Sony Reader won't recognize your header/footers in RTF files. The eBookwise will let you mix font faces, but I don't think the Sony will... I had abysmal luck trying to get links saved in an RTF (i.e., a TOC) to work, but that might have been with the eBookwise, so I may not have bothered to try in the Sony.

Good luck - and have fun with your Reader!
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:02 PM   #3
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With the RTF viewer in the 505. you won't see any graphics and if you want to build a ToC or footnotes/endnotes, they won't work either. I think that once you have your text in Word the way you want it, save it as RTF, load it in Book Designer and go from there. You'll have a better reading experience overall.
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Old 11-12-2008, 07:59 PM   #4
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I would suggest point 15 or 16. But experiment to see what you prefer.
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Old 11-13-2008, 12:22 AM   #5
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nice tips elsewhere in the forum, I see.

Last edited by Spectrum; 11-13-2008 at 12:30 AM. Reason: Not relevant to the thread.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PieOPah View Post
I am in the process of formatting a number of books. Basically correcting mistakes, sorting out the chapters etc.

Currently I am creating them as RTF files. I am not bothered about creating any other file format at the moment...

What I would like to know is what is the best page size to create for viewing on the reader? I would like it that when editing all my page breaks etc. are in the right place.

Many thanks,
RTF is not "page based", so the concept of "page size" is pretty meaningless. Put a hard page break between chapters, but don't worry about it otherwise.

As others have said, RTF isn't a terribly good format for the Sony, in that you don't get any images, table of contents, etc. Better to convert to Sony's native "LRF" format using a tool like Calibre or Book Designer.
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Old 11-13-2008, 04:49 AM   #7
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Thank you all.

I have been setting everything up with page breaks, but when reading back a book there was a blank page - I assumed that this was because the pages I was editing were of a different size to the reader. I have since found out it is because there were a couple of blank lines at the end of the chapter. Fortunately this is something I have been cropping out in my more recent editing...

The last book I tried to convert (using calibre) to LRF failed with a load of errors. Being that the book was just text, I didn't care...

If I need images or anything later, I will look into the problem I had with converting.

Again, thank you all
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:35 AM   #8
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I also have had tons of errors trying to convert to LRF using Calibre. I haven't wanted to admit what I go through to convert books the way I like, but here goes:

I have an eBookwise, Cybook (which reads Mobipocket), and Sony (which is the one I use the most). So I always convert my books into all three formats.

I start by decrypting the book from whatever format it came it to HTML. The HTML is almost always not formatted the way I like, so I copy it into a new Word document. Then I format the book the way I like - including a book cover and book description at the top of the story - and save the book as an RTF. Because I like a little spacing between my paragraphs, I save a second file of the RTF without the extra spacing for converting to Mobipocket (since Mobipocket Creator automatically inserts space between paragraphs, and it's too much if my starting file has it too). Then:

I use ETI's ebook converter program to make my eBookwise IMP files directly from the first RTF.

I use Mobipocket Creator with the second RTF (without the extra space between paragraphs) to make the Mobipocket file for the Cybook.

Mobipocket Creator makes an HTML file (and linked image folder, if any) as a biproduct of the conversion process. I zip that HTML file (and linked image folder) and import that into Calibre, to make my Sony LRF (with images).

I don't get the errors with Creator's HTML files that I got with RTFs with Calibre. So far, I haven't had any luck making EPUBs from those files with Calibre, but the LRFs work just fine.

Oh, sure, I occasionally get some ... oddness. Once in awhile, the first paragraph of every chapter is centered, for example. And despite that I format my chapter headings as only BOLD, they always end up as BOLD ITALIC. Sigh. And I haven't found a san-serif font yet that will embed in Calibre for LRFs. (And I've tried it with every san-serif font on my computer!) But the books are very readable. I get the images I missed with the RTFs.

(And I don't have to figure out how to use Book Designer, which I'll admit stumps me!)

So, if you don't mind adding a couple of extra steps to your conversion process (and installing Mobipocket Creator), you could still create your LRFs with Calibre from your original RTFs - after they've been converted to HTML by Mobipocket Creator.
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
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The last book I tried to convert (using calibre) to LRF failed with a load of errors. Being that the book was just text, I didn't care...
For text-based conversions, I use the attatched 'crib sheet' as a starting point, then something like UltraEdit to edit the text into the correct format (i.e. left justified, '##' starting chapter titles & blank lines seperating the paragraphs) then run it through Calibre's 'txt2lrf' app.
Attached Files
File Type: txt demo.txt (1.5 KB, 470 views)
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
Because I like a little spacing between my paragraphs, I save a second file of the RTF without the extra spacing for converting to Mobipocket (since Mobipocket Creator automatically inserts space between paragraphs, and it's too much if my starting file has it too).
This sounds like a very useful feature that I will have to look at. I currently have a book that is over 400 pages long with no paragraphs. If Mobipocket will automatically add them then this will definately help me out

Will look into that. Thank you
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:12 AM   #11
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This sounds like a very useful feature that I will have to look at. I currently have a book that is over 400 pages long with no paragraphs. If Mobipocket will automatically add them then this will definately help me out

Will look into that. Thank you
I don't think it will be much help to you, I'm afraid. The Sony Reader won't read Mobipocket books.

When you say that the book has no paragraphs, do you mean that it is literally one long paragraph?
If so, then then Mobicreator would also render it as one long paragraph. It merely adds a small space between existing paragraphs automatically.
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:29 AM   #12
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As others have said, RTF isn't a terribly good format for the Sony, in that you don't get any images, table of contents, etc. Better to convert to Sony's native "LRF" format using a tool like Calibre or Book Designer.
Well, that depends on user preferences.
I was playing with several tools that produce LRF files. I was unable to produce left justified text. All the text is full justified by default. This is a deal breaker for me. Please tall me, is it possible to produce lrf file with left justified body text? Am I missing something?
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:14 AM   #13
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I don't think it will be much help to you, I'm afraid. The Sony Reader won't read Mobipocket books.
But couldn't I then convert it to a different format?
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When you say that the book has no paragraphs, do you mean that it is literally one long paragraph?
If so, then then Mobicreator would also render it as one long paragraph. It merely adds a small space between existing paragraphs automatically.
Ah well, I thought it was too good to be true I was wondering how it would identify paragraphs....

Having looked through my book, there are paragraphs, but no space between them.
There is a carriage return and the next paragraph starts on the next line.
I want to be able to add in the extra spaces.
I don't want to have to manually do this as it would take hours.
Is there any way I can do this?
Thanks

Last edited by PieOPah; 11-13-2008 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:51 AM   #14
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Use find and replace, in the edit menu.

Find "paragraph mark"
Replace with 2 paragraph marks.
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Old 11-13-2008, 09:53 AM   #15
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That was the first thing I tried however, I couldn't seem to get that into the find/replace boxes.

EDIT: Never mind, I found that I need to use 'Special' to get the paragraph mark. Done and dusted

Thank you - saved me hours of work

Last edited by PieOPah; 11-13-2008 at 10:00 AM.
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