Options for creating the package file on a Mac

So, when I need to create an epub by hand, I’ll put everything I need in a folder, and then use the Terminal & zip it up by hand.

Like so:

  1. Navigate to the folder.
  2. zip -Xr9D book.epub mimetype *

Ok, so I realize not every one is comfortable working at the command line.

That’s where MakePackage.scpt comes in. It’s an Applescript script that will take a folder and turn it into an EPUB. It expects the folder to be the same layout as the EPUB should be. So, just as if you had renamed a file to .zip and then extracted the contents.

Anyway, it’s here if you find it useful, if not, there’s always the command line.

InDesign Secrets

Seems InDesignSecrets.com is starting to cover EPUB and InDesign.

Awesome. Seems there’s a real need for EPUB information for designers, publishers, and authors. Maybe this will help fill that need.

Digital Editions 1.7 Released!

We’ve released Digital Editions 1.7:

Adobe has updated its popular Digital Editions software, a lightweight, rich Internet application for reading, acquiring, and organizing digital books and other publications. Digital Editions 1.7 greatly expands language support.

Continue reading…

ePubPreflight version 0.1.0 (was “stylecheck”)

There’s a new tool for checking ePub files. The tool does not do validation, that is the role of the epubcheck tool. The epubpreflight tool is intended to check the things that are not mentioned in the EPUB spec, but that could be issues in one environment or another.

ePubPreflight can be found in the epubcheck downloads.

If you’d like to discuss the tool, head on over to the epubcheck discussion area

I’ll be updating the project pages with instructions on how to use the ePubPreflight, but it’s just like using epubcheck. (Run at a command line, and use ‘java -jar epubpreflight-0.1.0.jar myEPub.epub’.)

Continue reading…

A tool to compliement epubcheck, “stylecheck”.

Recently I mentioned that I’m working on improving epubcheck, but then I was asked, “what about the items that don’t relate to validation, but really should be checked anyway?”

The issues at hand are things like the 300k file size limit on content files, 10MB limit on images, and complexity issues with CSS.

The solution is a tool tentatively called “stylecheck” that would run much like the epubcheck tool, but would look for issues that are important to the reading systems, but are not necessarily issues of conformance.

An initial release of the tool alert the user to problems if it found:
* 300k or bigger chapter files.
* 10MB or larger images.
* CSS stylesheet with more than some number of styles (150?)

I could see other uses for the tool, checks to make sure that the package for a NIMAS submission has DTBook content rather than XHTML, or checks to make sure the publisher information in metadata is in the approved format. However the first step will be to create the tool and get the basic checks working.

Which is a work underway, and you should see something relatively soon on the epubcheck project pages.

Taking epubcheck (epub validtation tool) forward.

The epubcheck is a validation tool for ePub documents. It should determine whether the ePub under inspection conforms to the rules laid out in the IDPF specifications. In many circumstances it does just that, but it’s not always clear what’s happening, and sometimes the tool out and out fails. Of course the community is working to bring the tool forward and make it better.

Here I will give an outline of current and ongoing changes that I’m planning to make. Of course I would also like to put out a call for additional contribution/involvement in the process. There’s plenty of room for more people to contribute, whether it be in the form of development, testing, review, or documentation. Anyone looking to get involved should head on over to the discussion group.

So here’s the current changes I’ve added, and things I’ll be working on:

Continue reading…

The Mars Project “PDFXML Inspector” works great as an ePub editing tool.

If you’ve just created an ePub and now you want to make a small change, the normal approach is to rename the file with a “zip” extension, extract the contents, make the change, and then repackage the contents.

Fortunately, there’s a better way, but I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned.
It’s from the Mars Project over on Adobe Labs, and it’s called the “PDFXML Inspector”.

Continue reading…

Export ePub from InDesign CS4

With the release of Adobe InDesign CS4 you’ll find that there’s a couple of interesting new features in the Export for Digital Editions plug-in. The most noticeable are the addition of DTBook support and support for “Local Formatting”. There’s also some subtler changes, like floating anchored images and additional semantic information in the XHTML files.

So we’ll go through the major new features and what each one does:

Continue reading…

Digital Editions 1.6 Released!

Adobe is pleased to announce that we today pushed live the newest version of Digital Editions, 1.6. You can get it here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/

Or you will be automatically upgraded the next time you launch Digital Editions.

This version of DE does not appear much different on the surface. The real difference in this version is under the covers. Digital Editions 1.6 supports fulfillment from the new Adobe Content Server 4. You can read about Content Server here:

http://www.adobe.com/products/contentserver/

But what does fulfillment from Content Server mean to the end user, you might ask? The answer is that it provides ebook vendors with a modern, reliable system for protecting publishers books. This translates into more content from more publishers. Both in PDF and now in EPUB. Up to now, although publishers have been strongly voicing their support for EPUB, there hasn’t been a solution that would allow them to protect their books. The release of DE 1.6 and Content Server provides that solution. We are currently hard at work helping the publishers and ebook sellers to get their content ready for stores and libraries.

In addition, the new servers are much more reliable and bug-free than the old systems. This will mean more hassle-free downloads and less support issues. This won’t happen immediately as not all the ebook distributors will switch over right away. But it will steadily improve.

Now that the solution is ready it means there will be more content in more formats and more device support as well, such as the Sony Reader. The Digital Publishing team is working hard on supporting additional devices and will release them as soon as possible.

Sony 505A Firmware Released!

Adobe is pleased to announce, in conjunction with Sony, that Adobe Digital
Editions now supports the Sony Reader 505. On July 24th, Sony posted
the firmware updater to their website. Now people owning the Sony 505
can upgrade their Sony 505 and use it with Digital Editions.

The updater is available here:

http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/swu-list.pl?mdl=PRS505

Be sure to get the full update. You need to upgrade your Sony EBook
Library (EBL) FIRST, then should automatically download and run the
updater for your 505. Doing the steps this way ensures that you have
the right drivers for Digital Editions and the Sony Reader to
communicates with. Once you have done this, Digital Editions will
automatically recognize the Sony Reader and it will appear as a new
bookshelf (or up to 3 if you have smart cards inserted) in your library.

You will need to authorize your Sony Reader in order to use it with
protected books that you have bought or borrowed online. Note that this
also means that you will need to authorize Digital Editions if you have
not already done so. Digital Editions will walk you through these steps
with a wizard.

Once you have authorized your Reader you can drag and drop books back
and forth between your PC and your Reader. You can even read books off
of your friend’s Reader (though you cannot transfer books from his
Reader to your PC or vice versa).

The full text of the Sony press release is here:

http://news.sel.sony.com/en/press_room/consumer/computer_peripheral/e_bo
ok/release/36245.html

The new Sony Reader supports display of PDF in both normal and “reflowed” modes. In the reflowed modes, the reader takes the original content and reflows it at a larger font size. The result is surprisingly good. Most books such as novels reflow almost perfectly (though the odd word will be split or two words run together). But you will find that the more complex the content, the less satisfactory the result.

EPUB is also supported by the Sony Reader and there is lots of EPUB content appearing, both public domain like feedbooks.com and elsewhere. Most of the major publishers have also promised to support EPUB and there is a lot of content in the pipeline.

This is an exciting time and we are looking forward to being part of it.