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Old 01-10-2017, 10:49 PM   #1
slowsmile
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Suggested extra option for Add Cover

I've been using Sigil happily for many years but I've never really understood why, when you add a book cover in Sigil using Tools > Add Cover, a cover is added in SVG format. SVG is not really the best format for the majority of ebooks sold by vendors like Kindle and iBook.

My reasons for this are as follows.

* Kindle does not fully support SVG. The KF8s will display SVG but its doubtful whether older Mobi7 devices will do the same. Additionally the <svg> tag is not a Kindle supported html tag.

* Both iBooks and B & N do not allow SVG images in any of their ebooks.

So with three of the largest ebook vendors not using SVG image format, why is SVG the only format option for ebook covers in Sigil?

My suggestion is to add an option like a Use SVG Image checkbox at the bottom of the current Tools > Add Cover dialog in Sigil. And if this option is not ticked then just use plain old html image formatting for the ebook cover. Is this possible?

Last edited by slowsmile; 01-11-2017 at 01:51 AM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 08:43 AM   #2
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The SVG wrapper is, by far, the industry standard when it comes to EPUB cover images ... Sigil is an EPUB editor.

If cover images/pages need to be created for vendors who choose to ignore the EPUB standards in their proprietary implementations, then I recommend plugins be created to accommodate those needs

This is the first I've heard of B&N not "allowing" SVG wrappers around standard images. Can you share where this is documented? Keep in mind that there's a difference between an actual SVG image, and using an SVG wrapper around a standard image.

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Old 01-11-2017, 10:45 AM   #3
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I'm afraid the fact that your ebooks (and mine), although designed in EPUB will probably have their main distribution in Kindle format has to be a guilty secret. The Sigil community ethos is that Kindle is outside the pale and not to be pandered to.

It's not hard to remove the code between the <SVG> tags and replace it with a simple image. And even if you're staying in EPUB format, check your work on some real-life readers, particularly those common on both flavours of tablet. That's where your book will be read, not in ADE on a computer. And some of them refuse to display images (cover or in body) over a certain file-size. Others display all images at thumbnail size, despite 'correct' EPUB code. They're 'wrong', but the customer is always right...

Last edited by exaltedwombat; 01-11-2017 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post
I'm afraid the fact that your ebooks (and mine), although designed in EPUB will probably have their main distribution in Kindle format has to be a guilty secret. The Sigil community ethos is that Kindle is outside the pale and not to be pandered to.
Absolutely untrue. Kindle is a mainstream, huge player in the ebook game, and we openly acknowledge that. I have Kindle devices, I buy, edit and create Kindle books all the time. It's not about "pandering" or a petty dislke for the Kindle formats. It's just that were focussed on creating software that allows users to create compliant EPUBS. What they do with those EPUBS after they're created is simply not Sigil's concern or bailiwick. As such, we're not that interested in adding new, inherent features to Sigil in order to accomodate various vendors' proprietary quirks and/or deviations from the EPUB standard.

In my opinion, we've basically "pandered" to every ebook creator out there by creating a plugin framework for Sigil which allows any and all vendor quirks and proprietary additions/modifications to be accomodated.

Sigil's an EPUB editor--plain and simple. Any feature requests that have nothing to do with EPUB (specifically its open-standard implementation) will likely be met with the standard "that's perfectly suited for a plugin" response. That's why we cared enough to create the Sigil plugin framework in the first place: so we could say, "if you just ...", instead of, "nope, no way."

That you refuse to acknowledge the distinction, and assume our reluctance to add "Kindle" (or Kobo, or iBooks) features to an EPUB editor is based on some petty, idealistic dislike for Amazon is unfortunate--but misguided.

We help people make compliant EPUBs with our program here at Sigil. There are plenty of people/places who can help you take that EPUB and massage it into whatever sort of non-standard hybrid your vendor of choice requires (and even provide a plugin framework that will allow Sigil to produce that hybrid).

Last edited by DiapDealer; 01-11-2017 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:28 PM   #5
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Though I prefer to edit using Sigil's excellent tools and features, if Kindle is your end-point you may find a conversion (even an EPUB > EPUB one before using Amazon's own conversion using Kindle Previewer) in Calibre a good idea.

It can add a few useful 'tricks of the trade', things like Kindle not recognizing a zero line indent, preferring a minimal non-zero figure. And I've known perfectly compliant EPUB code presented to LuLu (I know, but I have clients who favour that distribution platform) be rejected for no discernable reason, but accepted after a Calibre conversion.

But do it as a very final procedure, and retain the Sigil version. Clean, un-cluttered code is not an invariable feature of a book that has passed through Calibre!
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowsmile View Post
* Kindle does not fully support SVG.
That's technically correct, because according to the Kindle Publishing Guidelines (9.4.12 Use Supported SVG Tags and Elements), not all SVG tags are supported, however, it doesn't really matter, because KindleGen doesn't support cover pages at all. If you nevertheless include one, KindleGen will usually display the following warning message.

Code:
Info(prcgen):I1052: Kindle support cover images but does not support cover HTML. Hence using the cover image specified and suppressing cover HTML in content.     URL: \OEBPS\Text\cover.xhtml
If you're lucky, Kindlegen will suppress the HTML code and just use the cover image, if not you might end up with two cover images. For more information, see this thread.

When it comes to cover images, the only thing that matters to KindleGen is that cover images are semantically tagged in the .opf file. (Sigil will do this automatically, whenever a new cover image is generated via Tools > Add Cover...) I.e., there's absolutely no need to add a special cover page format for Kindles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowsmile View Post
* Both iBooks and B & N do not allow SVG images in any of their ebooks.
The iBooks Asset Guide indeed advises against using the svg:img tag for images, however, Sigil generated epub3 cover pages usually work fine with iBooks and other epub3 apps. Moreover, the majority of eInk epub readers come with an RMSDK (=ADE) based app and Sigil generated cover pages work with ADE 1.7 and higher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slowsmile View Post
My suggestion is to add an option like a Use SVG Image checkbox at the bottom of the current Tools > Add Cover dialog in Sigil. And if this option is not ticked then just use plain old html image formatting for the ebook cover. Is this possible?
Since the cover pages generated by Sigil will work with ADE 1.7 and higher, don't interfere with KindleGen and work with the iBooks app, IMHO, it'd overkill to add a special menu option just for iBooks and B&N. If you prepare books for these vendors, you could easily add your preferred cover page HTML code as a custom clip or plugin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by exaltedwombat View Post
I'm afraid the fact that your ebooks (and mine), although designed in EPUB will probably have their main distribution in Kindle format has to be a guilty secret. The Sigil community ethos is that Kindle is outside the pale and not to be pandered to.
That is simply not true. The Sigil developers added at least two features that are only required for Kindle books based on feedback from Kindle book designers:

1. Generating an HTML TOC from the NCX file. (HTML TOCs are not required for the majority of eInk readers.)
2. Adding a special epub2 <meta content="cover.png" name="cover" /> entry that only KindleGen uses. (This metadata entry is not required for valid epubs.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
In my opinion, we've basically "pandered" to every ebook creator out there by creating a plugin framework for Sigil which allows any and all vendor quirks and proprietary additions/modifications to be accomodated.
I'd also like to point out that the Sigil plugin API is much easier to use than the admittedly more powerful Calibre plugin API. (I found this out the hard way when I converted my relatively simple Sigil epubcheck plugin to Calibre.)
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
I'd also like to point out that the Sigil plugin API is much easier to use than the admittedly more powerful Calibre plugin API. (I found this out the hard way when I converted my relatively simple Sigil epubcheck plugin to Calibre.)
It's "easier" only because its a smaller api.

With a calibre plugin, you basically have the entire calibre codebase at your fingertips. Extremely powerful, but sometimes hard just to figure out what's available to be used. You just have to peruse the work of those who've gone before (as well as the internal plugin examples).

I actually like the PyQt gui interface a little better with calibre, and I hope to add it to Sigil soon (so plugins can stylistically match the Sigil gui).
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:40 PM   #8
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Let me throw in my .02...

You an cheat Sigil into putting any kind of code in when you Add a cover. Simply save whatever code you want as a file named "cover.xhtml" into Sigil's default folder. When you add a cover it will use that template if it is available; if not, it uses it's default SVG wrapper.

Here's the template I use:

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd"><html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
  <title>Cover</title>
</head>

<body style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center; background-color:black">
  <h1 style="display:none" title="Cover"/>

  <div style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center">
    <svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="100%" preserveAspectRatio="xMidYMid meet" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="100%" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink">
      <image height="SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH" xlink:href="SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME"/>
    </svg>
  </div>
</body>
</html>
SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT
SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH
SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME

Are variables that autofill with the properties of the image you select.

It should work just fine with any kind of HTML code as well as it does with SVG...

Cheers,
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Old 01-11-2017, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtle91 View Post
Let me throw in my .02...

You an cheat Sigil into putting any kind of code in when you Add a cover. Simply save whatever code you want as a file named "cover.xhtml" into Sigil's default folder. When you add a cover it will use that template if it is available; if not, it uses it's default SVG wrapper.

Here's the template I use:

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd"><html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
  <title>Cover</title>
</head>

<body style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center; background-color:black">
  <h1 style="display:none" title="Cover"/>

  <div style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center">
    <svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="100%" preserveAspectRatio="xMidYMid meet" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="100%" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink">
      <image height="SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH" xlink:href="SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME"/>
    </svg>
  </div>
</body>
</html>
SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT
SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH
SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME

Are variables that autofill with the properties of the image you select.

It should work just fine with any kind of HTML code as well as it does with SVG...

Cheers,
Leave it to a user to have to remind me about that feature.
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Old 01-12-2017, 12:18 AM   #10
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@DiapDealer...The link for the Nook image requirements is here - in the Ebook Cover Size and File Formats section:

B&N eBook Cover Requirements

You can see that all the ebook vendors in the list -- including Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Smashwords, Google Books, Lulu, Draft2Digital and BookBaby do not use SVG for their ebook covers. These vendors either recommend JPEG + Tiff or JPG + PNG. But none of them use or recommend SVG format.

Last edited by slowsmile; 01-12-2017 at 12:59 AM.
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Old 01-12-2017, 02:08 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowsmile View Post
@DiapDealer...The link for the Nook image requirements is here - in the Ebook Cover Size and File Formats section:

B&N eBook Cover Requirements

You can see that all the ebook vendors in the list -- including Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Smashwords, Google Books, Lulu, Draft2Digital and BookBaby do not use SVG for their ebook covers. These vendors either recommend JPEG + Tiff or JPG + PNG. But none of them use or recommend SVG format.
It is not SVG, it is a SVG wrapper. The image is still a JPG/PNG. That being said, the wrapper works perfectly fine on Kobo (as it should). Kindle is also not an issue as Doitsu explained. Further more, iBooks support their own version of ePUB the best, but as far as I know the SVG wrapper also works fine on iBooks.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:11 AM   #12
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Quote:
it doesn't really matter, because KindleGen doesn't support cover pages at all.
Thank you for bringing clarity instead of umbrage to the question!

Quote:
If you're lucky, Kindlegen will suppress the HTML code and just use the cover image, if not you might end up with two cover images.
KDP seems to go through spells of this, and seems to be in full two-cover mode now and for the past several months or a year. So I build my basic file with the term D2D just before the extension, and I do all my editing and revising there. When I am happy, I strip out the cover and save the file with KDP substituting for that term. Takes what, thirty seconds? (Plus of course the mental effort to recall what I've done.) I go through the same ritual with any future revision.

I've not noticed any problems with Apple or B&N etc, but if there are problems, I wouldn't worry about them, because Amazon is not only dominant but getting more so, so they are small beer in the grand Oktoberfest of e-publishing.
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Old 01-12-2017, 07:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turtle91 View Post
Let me throw in my .02...

You an cheat Sigil into putting any kind of code in when you Add a cover. Simply save whatever code you want as a file named "cover.xhtml" into Sigil's default folder. When you add a cover it will use that template if it is available; if not, it uses it's default SVG wrapper.

Here's the template I use:

Code:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="no" ?><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.1//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml11/DTD/xhtml11.dtd"><html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">
<head>
  <title>Cover</title>
</head>

<body style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center; background-color:black">
  <h1 style="display:none" title="Cover"/>

  <div style="margin:0; padding:0; text-align:center">
    <svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" height="100%" preserveAspectRatio="xMidYMid meet" version="1.1" viewBox="0 0 SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="100%" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink">
      <image height="SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT" width="SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH" xlink:href="SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME"/>
    </svg>
  </div>
</body>
</html>
SGC_IMAGE_HEIGHT
SGC_IMAGE_WIDTH
SGC_IMAGE_FILENAME

Are variables that autofill with the properties of the image you select.

It should work just fine with any kind of HTML code as well as it does with SVG...

Cheers,
Great tip! Thank you very much for sharing it.
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Old 01-13-2017, 12:39 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowsmile View Post
@DiapDealer...The link for the Nook image requirements is here - in the Ebook Cover Size and File Formats section:

B&N eBook Cover Requirements

You can see that all the ebook vendors in the list -- including Kobo, Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Smashwords, Google Books, Lulu, Draft2Digital and BookBaby do not use SVG for their ebook covers. These vendors either recommend JPEG + Tiff or JPG + PNG. But none of them use or recommend SVG format.
There is a pretty major difference between using a SVG image and using a SVG wrapper around a .jpg/.png/.tiff/whatever image.

I will admit to have gotten a real chuckle out of the recommended image sizes. The last 30+ books I purchased from Kobo/Amazon/Google or borrowed from the public library have had much smaller cover images -- the average size would be 650 x 917 with a surprising 5 of them with a 510x680 cover image.
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Old 01-14-2017, 01:43 PM   #15
Notjohn
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Originally Posted by DNSB View Post
The last 30+ books I purchased from Kobo/Amazon/Google or borrowed from the public library have had much smaller cover images -- the average size would be 650 x 917 with a surprising 5 of them with a 510x680 cover image.
Amazing. Thanks!
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