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Old 08-26-2010, 08:25 PM   #1
bfollowell
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New to ebook editing. Need help with cover images please.

I've just very recently started getting into ebooks. I wasn't sure what to think of them at first but I've really started enjoying the hobby and find myself reading far more than I have in at least twenty years!

I've found a lot of ebooks that others have created that I have been working to clean up. Maybe the formatting wasn't quite right, there is no table of contents or the cover image was of poor quality or non-existent.

It's the covers that bring me to this forum with a question.

I've noticed that there is a flag for epub formatted books that force images to maintain their original aspect ratio. lit, mobi and other formats don't seem to have this and their images, covers especially are stretched to fit the size of the screen I happen to be reading on and, frankly, it looks awful.

Is there something I'm missing that could help me with this?

Currently, I use Sigil to perform any editing I need to do. If the original file isn't an epub, I use Calibre to convert it to epub, fix of the ebook with Sigil, then back to Calbre to convert to whatever format I happen to need, typically mobi for use on my Kindle 3. I know it sounds cumbersome but it seems to work for me for now. I'm open to other's opinions on better ways to cleanup and edit or any advice and tips some of the more experienced users might have to offer.

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.

Sincerely,
- Byron Followell
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Old 09-07-2010, 09:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bfollowell View Post
I've noticed that there is a flag for epub formatted books that force images to maintain their original aspect ratio. lit, mobi and other formats don't seem to have this and their images, covers especially are stretched to fit the size of the screen I happen to be reading on and, frankly, it looks awful.
An issue I guess we've pretty much all faced.

The best solution I can offer is, unfortunately, not entirely device independent. Edit (or create) the cover image, making sure it's the same aspect ratio as your device's screen. For example, if your device has an 800x600 screen, your image should be 4:3, so make sure your image is 4:3. I think 4:3 is by far the most common aspect ratio for ebook readers these days, so that should produce something tolerable on most readers.

You could further tweak the image for a specific device. E.g., my ereader has an 800x600 screen, 176dpi, 16 greyscale. A cover image with the same specs would display best. However, as long as it's 4:3, the rest is not so important.

--Nathanael
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Old 09-09-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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If your reader supports SVG, you can use that to resize. Check the Calibre preferences, then crack open a converted ePub to se the actual code. You can probably reuse it.

Another workaround is to set the width property for the image to 100%. This may result in an image that scrolls down off the page, but it's easy enough to do that. You can't set the height, unfortunately, because at the moment the ePub spec (never mind the ridiculous reading systems) doesn't have a way to access the actual screen size.
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Old 09-09-2010, 07:24 PM   #4
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Actually {height: 100%; max-width: 100%} generally works quite well. As long as the image is in portrait orientation it should automatically retain the correct aspect ratio. SVG is more robust, but forget it if your target is a Kindle, since it will be stripped out in the conversion. If you look on the kindle forums it seems the best way to make sure the cover displays properly is to resize the image (padding where needed) in an image-editing program so that it fits 525x640 pixels.
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