Zen of eBook Formatting: A Step-by-step Guide To Format eBooks for Kindle and EPUB Kindle Edition
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- Publication date : May 23, 2014
- File size : 5623 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 245 pages
- Publisher : Thunder Peak Publishing (May 23, 2014)
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B00KJAH4HS
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #634,043 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Where many people may find Guido's book more useful is he utilizes Calibre to do the html conversion into the different eBook formats while Paul utilizes command line utilities that may turn people off. I think both ways are valid. I'm comfortable with command line work, so I don't mind using Amazon's KindleGen compiler.
Guido puts his css information right in his html file, which I feel makes the html file more cumbersome and difficult to read. When you go to make changes, and you WILL have to go back and make changes, it's much easier if you're looking at a much smaller file without a lot of styling information getting in the way. He also builds one large html file, while Paul suggests breaking your files down by chapter. This makes sense to me, again, because when you go back to make alterations, you have less mess to wade through. Paul suggests this method also makes for faster loading times for eReaders. That may be becoming less of an issue (which might be why Guido doesn't subscribe to it) since eReaders are capable of more, but it's possible some of the folks who buy your book are still rocking a first or second gen Kindle.
It might sound like I completely prefer Paul's book over Guido's but when it comes down to it, both are highly valuable. I would get both, read them each twice - carefully, and then pick and choose from each book which advice you wish to follow. Paul provides some boiler plates for css you may wish to utilize, while Guido goes into greater depth on fancy characters (like drop caps). Both are very strong in the areas of stripping out extra white space and adding in special formatting (like italics) to your word document and text files. I hate sounding like a weasel and saying "get both", but in this case I honestly think both have much to offer folks just learning to format eBooks. Neither is expensive, so you may as well have access to all the information and choose which method(s) you like best.
I stumbled on to Henkel's eBook formatting posts and was delighted to find that formatting my own eBooks was only a matter of knowing some HTML and CSS. Having grown up hand-coding HTML and CSS for websites during the dark ages of Web 1.0, I knew I could do the job, but just needed a CSS refresher and a.
This is probably not the best guide for someone not versed in the backend of website design (if looking at lines and lines of HTML with encoded characters makes you quake in fear or gives you a headache, probably you should look into a program), and it would be nice if his instructions were given in a simple "step by step" summary at the end of each chapter, but for me, a starting indie, it's been helpful and invaluable!
It lets me dive in to the nitty-gritty and I feel like I understand what my files are made of and what's going on in them. To me, that's a feeling of confidence and security in putting my product out there.
There are a lot of wonderful books out there for Indie Authors, most of which bring first-time writers through the major difficulties in publishing one's own work, plus guidelines on how to improve both writing and sales. Henkel's guide, however, is the first I've seen that goes into extreme, intimate detail on the sole topic of formatting your work to create a flawless, enjoyable, and interactive ebook.
As an author myself, I believe the presentation of this book and the knowledge therein is invaluable. As the Editing Director for a growing publishing company, this book is mandatory. I tell all my editors they must get this book, read it, and absorb the wisdom - knowing how to format is part of what we do, and I've learned more than I could ever discover on my own from this fantastic piece.
I can't thank Henkel enough for taking the time to catalog his knowledge and passion for this industry in such an easy-to-follow, step-by-step explanation, and the man has found yet another avid fan!
Top reviews from other countries
I have removed one star because this book is needlessly wordy and somewhat rambling - it's no "Strunk and White" of its genre - but I haven't come across a better guide yet.
I've just had to create a complex non-fiction ebook for Kindle with many lists and images, and I'd started out by trying to do this by using a word processor > Calibre > Kindle Previewer. It kinda worked, but it just wasn't unreliable, and quite unstable across the range of eBook devices. The horrific realisation was that I would have to code the file properly with html and CSS.
Now, I've never coded a book, but I found the author's website which gave a superb outline for the issues involved and a summary of what you need to do. His book is an expansion on this. It explained why my first (lazy) word processor approach had failed, and gave an excellent step-by-step guide on how to do this properly.
Guido leads you through the process with a clear eye for the details. Reading the book, I discovered it isn't very difficult to learn enough code to create the relatively simple html file for EPUB/Kindle. For a novel, it is a fairly quick process. My battles were with the horrendous amount of lists and images in my non-fiction title, but with Guido's book to hand I have managed to build the file... and it works.
So this book is a must if you want consistent results for your eBook conversions.
I did run into a problem and emailed Guido. He was kind enough to answer my question and send me a sample of code for a list within hours. The issue I had (and still have) is that whenever I coded double quotation marks for lists or images, for some reason the code wouldn't work. I expect this is something to do with my Mac setup, but it took me several (frustrating) hours to work this out. Not sure what was going on, but when I copied and pasted the double quotation marks from the file Guido sent, and later the image code from the W 3 School website, it worked (and no - I wasn't using single quotation marks twice!) It is definitely the double quotes that are the problem.
I hasten to say that I don't think this is the author's fault, but if someone else out there has the same issue, that's the fix. As I've never coded anything before, I expect there is a really easy answer to why this wouldn't work.
I appreciate the fact that he often says 'my recommendation is that you do x, but if you do want to do y', here's how.
For me, it was pitched just right. It took a difficult and potentially scary subject... And made it simple. Thoroughly recommended
Only two downsides - it presumes a little prior knowledge of the terms (I started by looking up a free online how to do html and css for complete beginners, which was enough to overcome this). And I would prefer it if it had more info suitable for textbooks, which is what I am writing. However, there is enough content for me to format my own book and it is readily understandable.