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Old 07-18-2009, 08:58 AM   #31
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What you can't do in a Mobi book is have different margin settings in different parts of the book. You can set all four margins, but the settings act "globally".
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:22 AM   #32
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BD Rocks

I have followed this thread with great interest. I, too, build MOBI/PRC and then use Calibre and Mobi2Imp. This seems to work well enough that no one had told me of major problems.

I have to disagraee on the use of Book Designer. Within its obvious limitations and errors, it is still the easiest ebook editor that I have found. The way you apply it makes all the difference.

Since I work mostly with Gutenberg, I'll use it as an example.

I download, if there, the complete book.hrm files. This also downloads any images. I also download the book.txt in US ASCII. Using Gutentext, a book.html is created. Although I have regex expressions to clear BD of the ash and trash from the book.htm e.g. page numbers, etc., this is less work. The book.html is then dropped into BD. I open the book.htm in the browser and vertically tile with browser on the left and BD on the right. From this point on, the procedure is the same for any html file.

The first thing to do is to get rid of all empty paragraphs in the BD file using the Element rowser/pagagraph/delete.Then, by going down the browser file page by page, any thing that needs special formatting is identified. By using COPY in the browser and FIND in BD, I can quickly go the the text that needs formatting. By using COPY, FIND and the ELEMENT BROWSER, it is possible to move quickly through the BD file. For anything that BD cannot handle, I place comments in the BD file before and after the text that needs formatting, e.g.:

//Blockquote
.....
//End Blockquote

By the time I get to the end of the file, BD is cleaned up and ready to make the TOC and insert images for a LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS and ENDNOTES. Go to BD SAVE AS and save the book.htm into a BOOK folder which also contain a blank Mobipocket book.opf file. Change the name of the book to book.htm (IAW HarryT's excellent suggestion) and I'm ready for the HTML Editor (EditPadPro).

The comments placed in the BD file showup in the HTML FILE as paragraphs, e.g.:

<DIV align=justify>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;//Blockquote</DIV>

I use a regex to find and replace these paragraphs.

Find:
<DIV align=justify>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;//(.+)</DIV>
Replace:
<!--\1-->

The final output is:
<!--Blockquote--> or <!--Use <small> in signature block-->

If I think an element needs white space before or after I use BD Empty Paragraph (CTL E <DIV>&nbsp; &nbsp; </DIV>) and replace these with line breaks (<br/>) in the HTML editor.

I save the edited file and open it in the browser. Everything will be shown except the MOBI specific tags. It is very easy to move back and forth between the browser and the HTML EDITOR to make any adjustments.

Once satisfied, I double click on the book.opf file, fill out the data and build the prc book. Rename book.prc back the the book name and check things out in Mobipocket Reader. When satisfied, drop the prc file into calibre to create the LRF and EPUB books and use Mobi2Imp to create both flavors if IMP. I'm then ready to post. You can also drop the book.htm file into calibre.

Book Designer has taken out 90% of the effort I used to expend using only HTML files. The true key to all of this is a good HTML editor (e.g. EditPadPro) to accompany BD. If you haven't used BD or not enough to become familiar with it, see the fine tutorials by HarryT, Particia, and others.

I think it's apparent that I like BD. "BD Rocks"
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:32 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
Sorry to side track the thread, but do you mean 'Mobipocket prefers the use of ids rather than name'?
I think you need to distinguish between two MobiPocket formats. One is the data that is on the reader and that uses numerical offset for pointerns. The other is the format that is accepted by tools that convert to the basic MobiPocket format. The addition of MobiPerl and Calibre to that set of tools have changed a bit what is acceptable input for the converter programs.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:59 AM   #34
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Please don't include "hard-wired" justification in Mobi books, except in cases where it's absolutely vital (eg you probably don't want poetry to be fully justified). Hard-wiring justification in Mobi prevents the user from being able to select left or full justification, which most implementations of the Mobi Reader permit.
I know, Harry, that imposing such text-justification is not appreciated by those who have the option to change it on their device, but in my case, my reader (REB1200 and/or EBW1150) doesn't allow for this. I'm not sure which ones do (I take it the Cybook Gen 3 can, but what about the Kindles or Sonys).

As a compromise, I've chosen a small margin (2% is approx 2em, but 2px may be better) and to present my ebooks with text-justification "on" as it appears much more "polished" this way to me. I know this is subjective, but hey, most print books have full justification.

As an ebook creator, I don't overly change the underlining source .html that I obtain, but do want to give it a more professional look and feel. At the same time, I hopefully make it better able to support (though compromises) multiple ebooks formats from that same .html(s).
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:10 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by nrapallo View Post
I know, Harry, that imposing such text-justification is not appreciated by those who have the option to change it on their device, but in my case, my reader (REB1200 and/or EBW1150) doesn't allow for this. I'm not sure which ones do (I take it the Cybook Gen 3 can, but what about the Kindles or Sonys).
Hi Nick,

If a book does not contain explicit justification instructions, Mobi will display it as fully justified. This is the case in all versions of Mobi Reader, to the best of my knowledge.

Most implementation of the Mobi Reader (including Windows, WinCE, Palm, CyBook, Kindle) will allow you to toggle the display of such a book between left justification and full justification using a menu command. There are a few which don't, such as the iRex devices (which therefore always display a book fully justified, unless it is "hard coded" to be left justified).

Mobi's recommendations to book creators are, therefore, that justification should not be explcitly specified in the book, except in cases where it is absolutely required (eg you generally want the TOC to be hard-coded to be left-justified).

What I personally, therefore, do is carry out a series of search and replace operations in my book's HTML before creating the Mobi version of the book. One of these operations is to replace "<div align=justify>" (which is what BD, my preferred book editor, produces by default) by simply "<div>".
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:19 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutledge View Post
Since I work mostly with Gutenberg, I'll use it as an example.

I download, if there, the complete book.hrm files. This also downloads any images. I also download the book.txt in US ASCII. Using Gutentext, a book.html is created. Although I have regex expressions to clear BD of the ash and trash from the book.htm e.g. page numbers, etc., this is less work. The book.html is then dropped into BD. I open the book.htm in the browser and vertically tile with browser on the left and BD on the right. From this point on, the procedure is the same for any html file...
This is basically what my GuteBook program tries to do automatically for you, but "manual intervention" will ALWAYS produce a better ebook. A while ago, I looked at some Gutenberg .txt you converted to ebooks to see if GuteBook could do the same but it couldn't match the quality that you produced with BD with (manual) insertion of images/toc. I got close, but not 100%!

Looking at your post, I guess I can now try to automate your steps within my GuteBook.pl Perl script. Thanks, Charlie, for the excellent write-up!!!

So, in your case, getting the source .html to produce a presentable .prc can then lead to a presentable .lrf/.epub using calibre and a presentable .imp using Mobi2IMP!!!
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Old 07-18-2009, 11:32 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Hi Nick,

If a book does not contain explicit justification instructions, Mobi will display it as fully justified. This is the case in all versions of Mobi Reader, to the best of my knowledge.
But, Harry, I don't have that option to set the justification on. ( and ADE/Sony doesn't even yet use that option!!!)

So to get my text to be full justification, I set the <body> to have "text-align: justify" which will not override any explicit declaration of <div align="left"> or <div align="right">.

It merely gives a default setting, that in your case IS the default setting, but doesn't allow it to be switched off!

However, that setting now allows my reader to have that option and obviously I can't turn it off!

So, now both readers/formats are on par, a sort of compromise...
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:28 PM   #38
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TOC alignmrnt

My books have been critisized both for centering and left justifying the TOC. Which is considered best practice?
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:30 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutledge View Post
My books have been critisized both for centering and left justifying the TOC. Which is considered best practice?
The text description left justified and the page number right justified. It is much easier to scan fast a left justified list compared to a centered list.
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Old 07-18-2009, 01:32 PM   #40
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My books have been critisized both for centering and left justifying the TOC. Which is considered best practice?
I prefer a left aligned (indented ala lists) TOC, but a well done tabular i.e. rectangular centered one is also appealing (symmetry-wise). The hourglass centered ones are cute, but not as "professional" looking, IMHO.

But, you can't please everyone, so just go with what appeals to your senses (as well as many of your downloaders... )
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Last edited by nrapallo; 07-18-2009 at 03:05 PM. Reason: added some screenshots...
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Old 07-18-2009, 06:06 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
No, I don't think that's true - or at least
.spaceabove { margin-top: 1.0em; }
.spacebelow { margin-bottom: 1.0em; }
both work well in a test HTML/CSS file converted to Mobipocket by Calibre.
That's what I mean, it is recognized by Calibre, but the Mobipocket itself does not have it, Calibre adds the margin-bottom to the margin-top of the following element and puts this in a "height" attribute, which is what Mobipocket uses.

I'm talking about the Mobipocket format, not the Creator or other converters.
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Old 07-19-2009, 02:46 AM   #42
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My books have been critisized both for centering and left justifying the TOC. Which is considered best practice?
My personal preference is for a left-justified TOC.
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Old 07-19-2009, 03:36 AM   #43
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The text description left justified and the page number right justified. It is much easier to scan fast a left justified list compared to a centered list.
I can honestly think of no good reason for retaining page numbers in the TOC of an eBook. Is there any format which would change the numbers dynamically for you when the user changed the text size? If not, then they are meaningless.
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:20 AM   #44
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I can honestly think of no good reason for retaining page numbers in the TOC of an eBook.
Might it not be a useful way to indicate chapter length?

You could, for example, calculate how long it is likely to take you to read the next chapter by comparing the page count to previous chapters.
Helpful for people who like to read entire chapters at a sitting.

Or, in a short story collection - to select a story of appropriate length for the time you have to read it.

Last edited by Sparrow; 07-19-2009 at 04:26 AM.
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Old 07-19-2009, 04:28 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrapallo View Post
But, Harry, I don't have that option to set the justification on. ( and ADE/Sony doesn't even yet use that option!!!)

So to get my text to be full justification, I set the <body> to have "text-align: justify" which will not override any explicit declaration of <div align="left"> or <div align="right">.

It merely gives a default setting, that in your case IS the default setting, but doesn't allow it to be switched off!

However, that setting now allows my reader to have that option and obviously I can't turn it off!

So, now both readers/formats are on par, a sort of compromise...
I completely understand that, Nick. I guess what I'm saying is that, desirable though it would be, in reality it's probably impractical to have completely "generic" HTML for multiple book formats. Final device-specific "tweaks" immediately before building the book will always be necessary to deal with the quirks of particular devices. I regard those basically as a part of the build process for a device.
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