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eBook Authoring Tools. alternatives to apple’s ibook publisher.

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ebook authoring tools
eBook Authoring Tools
  • alternatives to apple’s ibook publisher
For more detail on the process for making ebooks and for a more detailed description on making ebooks, I recommend Chris Jenning’s Page to Screen blog. This brief introduction is largely based on his presentation to the 2012 London Bookfair.


ebooks as alternatives to apps

  • familiar metaphor
  • user friendly and accessible
  • great for media objects that are primarily text-based
  • straight-forward to create
  • dependent on the e-readers’ user interfaces


  • ebook standard
    • determines the devices that can read the ebook
    • determines the markup language & authoring tools that will be used to create the ebook


  • viewport form
    • determines whether the pagination is fixed or variable
    • epub and .mobi ebooks have fixed or variable viewport options


  • open ebook standard
  • XHTML5 (epub3)
  • readable in:
  • browser plugins
  • apps (bluefire, stanza, etc.)
  • non-kindle ereaders (nook, sony, kobo, etc.)
  • epub2 is XHTML1.1
  • .mobi
  • owned by amazon
  • HTML w/ proprietary tags
  • readable in:
  • kindle ereaders (67% marketshare)
  • kindle apps
  • browsers through amazon’s cloud reader

(Kindle format 8 kf8 uses HTML5 & CSS3, but only on the kindle fire)

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fixed-format ebooks

have set pagination, like a print book

readers & devices will customize fonts & appearance

requires a clear TOC structure

objects and images can go anywhere

reflowable ebooks

have no set pagination, font face or font size

readers & devices will customize fonts & appearance

requires a clear TOC structure

objects and images must be anchored or inline




user & device can adjust

how text appears on the screen




images and objects stay in place

fixed pagination

count the fonts on this page alone!


ebook authoring tools

  • use your preferred HTML/XML editor
    • OxygenXML, TextWrangler, Dreamweaver, Notepad++, BBEdit, etc.
  • use your preferred document creation tool
    • InDesign (some prefer 5.5), Quark Express, Pages, Open Office
  • use an ebook-specific tool
    • Sigil (open source ebook authoring tool)
    • Calibre (for converting between formats)
    • eCub

Sigil: an open source ebook authoring tool



Calibre: an ebook manager & converter



resources mentioned:

Chris Jenning’s Page to Screen blog: pagetoscreen.net

Going from InDesign to ebook resource guide: www.digitalbookworld.com/resources-going-from-indesign-to-ebook/

Amazon Kindle Publishing Guidelines: kindlegen.s3.amazonaws.com/AmazonKindlePublishingGuidelines.pdf

Sigil epub authoring tool: https://code.google.com/p/sigil/

Calibre ebook management & conversion tool: http://calibre-ebook.com/

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