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Old 09-23-2010, 06:57 PM   #1
JeremyR
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Baen Books and Mobi/PRC formatting

Last night I was browsing Baen Books and noticed they sold the ebook version of their Lord Darcy for $4. So I snapped it up.

Anyway, I downloaded the version they labeled as Kindle (which turned out to be a PRC file). And while it's mostly okay, it doesn't have any chapters. Which is sort of annoying in a huge omnibus.

So I downloaded the epub version instead and saw that it was broken up in chapters. So I used calibre to convert it and that carried over to my Kindle.

Getting to my question, are all Baen books formatted like this? Should I simply not bother with downloading in Mobi? Or was this just somewhat poorly done because it's an older file? (Does PRC even support chapters? I have no idea)

While I'm not a real fan of their current authors (I swear, the same 3-4 write new books every month) I did used to be a big fan of theirs in the 80s so will probably buy some more books in their back catalog.

Last edited by JeremyR; 09-23-2010 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 09-23-2010, 07:33 PM   #2
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Or was this just somewhat poorly done because it's an older file?
Bingo. Newer Baen books, though, do a good job with Mobi files (formatting and metadata). For the older ones, I convert with Calibre rather than use the .prc directly. Epub works fine, but I've found the .lit versions to be the best for these older Baen conversions.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:52 AM   #3
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Thanks!
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:44 AM   #4
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If a Mobi book at Baen has a ".prc" extension, it's in a very old Mobipocket format. In this case, download the ePub version and convert it to Mobi with Calibre.

All their recent Mobi books have a ".mobi" extension. These are in the up-to-date Mobi format and should be absolutely fine.
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Old 09-25-2010, 05:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
If a Mobi book at Baen has a ".prc" extension, it's in a very old Mobipocket format. In this case, download the ePub version and convert it to Mobi with Calibre.

All their recent Mobi books have a ".mobi" extension. These are in the up-to-date Mobi format and should be absolutely fine.
What's the difference between formats? I have prc files that I can read at my Gen3 and no problem with them (and they're not new).
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Old 09-25-2010, 06:01 AM   #6
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A PRC file can indeed be a modern Mobipocket format - eg all the ones that I've uploaded here at MR are. It just so happens that the ones used by Baen specifically are not; they are a very old version of Mobi that doesn't have any metadata other than the book title, doesn't have hard page breaks, and many other restrictions. It's a Baen-specific issue; most PRC files you download elsewhere will be just fine.
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Old 09-26-2010, 07:57 AM   #7
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Hmmm. When I took their epub straight from their site and converted it with Calibre, I got chapter marks, but not a TOC.

And actually, the chapter marks turned out to be the section marks (it's a big book, broken up into sections and then stories and then chapters within the stories), so I apparently missed 1/3 of the book when I skipped "Too Many Magicians" (I have that in hardback and have read it dozens of times, while the other Darcy stories in it are new to me).

Only noticed when I decided to see if I could get a TOC. I loaded it up in Sigil first, then saved, then converted with Calibre and the TOC showed up properly (and I have chapter marks for each actual chapter, not just sections).

So I guess in the future, I will do that (load it in Sigil and save).
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Old 09-26-2010, 08:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
A PRC file can indeed be a modern Mobipocket format - eg all the ones that I've uploaded here at MR are. It just so happens that the ones used by Baen specifically are not; they are a very old version of Mobi that doesn't have any metadata other than the book title, doesn't have hard page breaks, and many other restrictions. It's a Baen-specific issue; most PRC files you download elsewhere will be just fine.
Thank you for the explanation. In other forum another person talked too about .mobi and .prc different in terms f Mobipocket and I couldn't understand it. As a publisher issue, like you say, I can easily understand.
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Old 10-18-2010, 11:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JeremyR View Post
Hmmm. When I took their epub straight from their site and converted it with Calibre, I got chapter marks, but not a TOC.

And actually, the chapter marks turned out to be the section marks (it's a big book, broken up into sections and then stories and then chapters within the stories), so I apparently missed 1/3 of the book when I skipped "Too Many Magicians" (I have that in hardback and have read it dozens of times, while the other Darcy stories in it are new to me).

Only noticed when I decided to see if I could get a TOC. I loaded it up in Sigil first, then saved, then converted with Calibre and the TOC showed up properly (and I have chapter marks for each actual chapter, not just sections).

So I guess in the future, I will do that (load it in Sigil and save).
You could probably also tweak the regex that calibre uses to detect chapters, so that calibre would do it directly.
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