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Old 05-06-2015, 05:32 PM   #1
jeffcb
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EBook Creation Process 101

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:02 PM   #2
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1) What's your source format? Is the content semantically encoded, ideally in some XML-based format instead of crappy Microsoft Word DOC/DOCX? If so, could there be a fair chance to automatically generate EPUBs from the source documents (if they share a set of document structure types)?
2) EPUB is mostly for offline (mobile) reading, for transferring packaged content from one place to another, and for archival. Of course there are other use cases as well, but as the EPUB format consists of little more than web documents in a zip container, those are the main characteristics in my opinion.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:19 PM   #3
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If you use DOCX properly, i.e. styles etc. then @Toxaris' MSWord Addin does a very nice job of exporting as EPUB where the experts can fine-tune as needed.
calibre's editor can also natively open DOCX and convert it to EPUB for editing and saving.

I do recommend that the people who know HTML+CSS clean up all the books, perhaps a division of labor would be appropriate.

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:29 PM   #4
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@jeffcb - have you browsed this ==>> MobileRead Wiki I suspect you'll find some of the answers in there.

Texts heavily laden with tables, sidebars, graphics etc often don't convert easily to ereader formats.

Liz Castro's books are worth reading, they're a bit inDesign and Apple centric, but they're a good place to start - and easy to read.

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I do recommend that the people who know HTML+CSS clean up all the books, perhaps a division of labor would be appropriate.
- for me that would be not 'perhaps', but 'mandatory recommended'

Seems to me that making an ebook is as much of a craft as is making a paper book. And if anyone wants to argue its even more so, they'll get no arguments from me.

BR

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Old 05-06-2015, 08:54 PM   #5
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Ah, but the winky is a modifier for the perhaps. IOW, we agree.
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffcb View Post
Hi All,
I'm a member of a large university initiative focused on publishing resources developed by faculty openly through creative commons licenses. We've recently started looking into EPUB files as a way to create and distribute our content openly. There are several tools we're looking into (Calibre, Sigil, etc), but since we haven't worked with EPUB files before a primer would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I am looking for answers to several questions:
1) What software do you recommend for professionally editing EPUB files? While several members of our team do have HTML/CSS knowledge, it would be extremely advantageous if all of the work could be done solely in a WYSIWYG editor, assuming that this type of editor would be able to work with all of our content. As a large portion of our work comes from medical schools, we frequently use tables and images which we have embeded in our books.
2) What are some of the advantageous to using the EPUB format? Our goal is to make our content available in as many venues/stores/sites as possible in one goal. One of the reasons we started looking into EPUB is that we currently develop IBA (Ibooks Author) and MOBI/AZW files seperately. The process is time consuming and if EPUB allowed us a more direct route to reach both Amazon and Apple devices (as well as branch out to new potential partners) this would be extremely advantageous for us. Other formatting suggestions would be welcome.

tl/dr: If you were starting from 0, had a large number of books to publish regularly in doc and pdf files, needed an editor that could be used after relatively little training to produce professional ebooks, and wanted to hit as many devices and stores as possible in one straightforward system, what would you do?

Any help/walkthrus/links to other threads would be greatly appreciated!
Jeff:

You've already had some feedback from other folks here, but, heavens forfend I not stick my $.02 in. As background, I own a professional formatting company, that's done thousands of books.
  1. There's really no such thing as a WYSIWYG ePUB-maker. That's a mythological creature, up there with the unicorn.
  2. You didn't say what your source material is, as pointed out by someone else.
  3. Without knowing that, most of us are spinning our wheels.
  4. Assuming that your source material is in PAGES, you may have some limited options. I infer this because--for reasons that sorta elude me--you're using iBA, which is a really poor product for making books.
  5. And yes, I know that Mac fans will howl about that, but the garbage that iBA creates in the 99% of the iceberg that you CAN'T see, is horrific. It's like looking at Pages' underlying code--same thing. It looks good on the surface, but underneath--ye gods. Moreover, the output is limited to be sold on iBooks, which is a pretty notoriously small percentage of the eBook market, and a far, far smaller percent of the ePUB-reading market, most of whom are reading on Nooks, Kobos, Sonys, and the like.
  6. If you are using Pages, consider exporting the Pages content to ePUB, and then fixing that content using Sigil or Calibre's editor.
  7. If you are using Word, I second the suggestion that you try Toxaris' Word ePUBTools, but I'm unsure that this will work in a Mac Environment.
  8. I second the idea that you read Liz Castro's excellent book, "ePUB: Straight to the Point." Yes, it's outdated now, but it is very good on all the basics.
  9. I further recommend that you read Pablo's excellent tutorial, here in the MR Wiki, on making ePUBs.
  10. HOWEVER, all that being said, if I needed to make books in BOTH PDF (for print or ePDF?), and eBooks, I'd seriously consider biting the bullet and learning InDesign. You'll still have to know/learn how to tweak the ePUB output, but it would save you a crapload of repetitive work.

Looking forward to your answers about source materials, etc., to see what we can all do to assist you in your options.

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Old 05-07-2015, 07:27 AM   #7
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Depending on your original format(s) and your workflow you could have a look at pandoc

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Old 05-07-2015, 11:55 AM   #8
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For many formats the Atlantis Word Processor is very clean at making ePub eBooks from several formats. There is a review in our wiki on this including what it won't do. For fancy things you will not find WYSIWIG tools.

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Old 05-11-2015, 11:13 AM   #9
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Old 05-11-2015, 05:05 PM   #10
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Be aware that the ePUB's created by Indesign can be a nightmare to maintain. InDesign is created and tuned for typography of printed work. Electronic books are a different beast all together. I really don't like ePUB's from Indesign and it can take me quite a while to clean them up. It is almost impossible to create good ebooks with a WYSIWYG program... You almost always need to dive into the code to ensure it works across multiple devices and the way you would like.
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Old 05-11-2015, 06:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxaris View Post
Be aware that the ePUB's created by Indesign can be a nightmare to maintain. InDesign is created and tuned for typography of printed work. Electronic books are a different beast all together. I really don't like ePUB's from Indesign and it can take me quite a while to clean them up. It is almost impossible to create good ebooks with a WYSIWYG program... You almost always need to dive into the code to ensure it works across multiple devices and the way you would like.
Tox, mon sweetie:

THAT is only true when the creator only pays attention to the print layout, and doesn't use the INDD tools correctly. You of all people know what the Word clean-up process is like--same thing, GIGO, right? I mean, if you get someone who blithely types along, in Word, using ad hoc styles, the output you get is HORRIFIC. BUT, if you were to have someone like me, who's learned to use Word properly, deploy styles correctly, yadda, the output would be nice and clean.

I concur that getting an INDD-output ePUB, and seeing "char-style-override-66" is enough to give me a stroke, but...

The same (as is true of Word) is true of INDD. Yes, it's geared for print, and you have to pay attention to things like setting absolute positions, on x-y axes. BUT, in terms of needing multiple outputs, INCLUDING print, and having a bunch of academics who will also likely be editing away madly, really...I think INDD is their best bet. We use it, y'know, for our POD Combo packages. We wouldn't use it, JUST to make eBooks (that's crazy talk), but if I were in this chap's shoes, and needed print as well as the rest, yes, that's what I'd do. Word/other source material --> to INDD --> to ePUB. Clean up the ePUB (deploy your skilled HTML/CSS folks there), make it validate, and then build your mobi therewith. I think it's the best process, really, given that PDF's (either for print or ePDF) are required.

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Old 05-12-2015, 03:17 AM   #12
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ideally in some XML-based format instead of crappy Microsoft Word DOC/DOCX?
DOCX is (zipped) XML
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:22 AM   #13
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DOCX is (zipped) XML
Yes, and if one prints out the specification, it looks like this.
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Old 05-12-2015, 09:36 AM   #14
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Yes, and if one prints out the specification, it looks like this.
Yeah, Europeans bureaucrats do tend to be verbose, Standard ECMA-376

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Old 05-12-2015, 07:54 PM   #15
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And what would be that fantastic xml format that isn't crappy, is wildly used, has an editor that people can easily use and is feature rich?
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