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Todsplace
05-11-2011, 05:13 AM
Hi guys,

May I ask some questions about Kindle ebook formatting?

1) Which is better for smart quotes in Kindle's ebook format?
Unicode characters or html?
2) Do you put a <br> after the paragraph before each new section in a chapter or prefer to just set a top margin for each noindent p class?
3) Is there a way to make drop caps work with images? All my drop cap images stick upwards over the top of the line.
4) Which is better for a single blank line: <p>&nbsp;</p> or <br>&nbsp;</br>?
5) What's the best way to create a TOC?

Any help would be great!
Cheers,
Todsplace

deana
05-13-2011, 04:32 AM
If you google "template format kindle" you may find some information on it.

Todsplace
05-15-2011, 03:11 AM
Thanks for that suggestion (done that already btw), but I'd still like opinions, info, and help from the great forumers here :)

Summonere
05-15-2011, 07:40 PM
I uploaded Microsoft Word docs to Kindle that were converted with apparently no problems, and I've uploaded zipped HTML files with external CSS stylsheets and images contained therein. After having done it both ways, I'll likely stick to simply uploading MSWord docs because (a) the stories are already in that format to begin with, and (b) Mark Coker's guide to formatting for Smashwords, available here, http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52, seems to produce good results with Amazon's conversions.

Oh, and one of the doc books has a functioning table of contents which was created in MSWord. By “functional” I mean one in which clicking chapter titles in the TOC brings readers to the desired location in the book.

So, my 2-cents of commentary:


1)Sounds like you're using HTML already, so stick with HTML.
2)Kindle doesn't support a lot of CSS, so the most-likely-to-work answer, here, is to use <br>. However, Kindle supports a proprietary section break tag, that looks like this:


<mbp:pagebreak/>

3)Maybe. From what I've read from others, this requires a lot of experimentation and may not work well on all e-reading platforms.
4)This has worked in mine: </ br>
5)I'll know more about this the more that I do it, but the one I created in Microsoft Word works like it's supposed to. I suppose you could create it with that, save the doc as HTML, cut out the crap code that will be in the TOC, then cut'n'paste the cleaned-up code into your story's HTML file.

Good luck, and let us know when your work becomes available. :)

Medievalist
05-15-2011, 07:57 PM
1. If you have a choice, always use and HTML entity over Unicode; not all devices support Unicode, and if you use Unicode it's got to be in your doc declaration wrt to which unicode character set etc.

2. If you're going to use CSS anyway, I'd create a p class with extra margin space on the top and bottom. Mobi has it's own already created css tags which take precedence.

3. I don't actually use drop caps--but if you want REAL drop caps, again, do it in css. Some readers won't support it; not sure if Kindle does. I wouldn't use images because then you're screwing with an accurate word search.

4. If you have to do a blank like by kludging, paragraphs with nbsp.

5. When I was doing all the xml by hand-coding in a text editor, I looked at a working TOC and copied the formatting and tagging. There are custom tags in mobi that you can use in your own book.

popmuze
05-15-2011, 08:44 PM
Isn't there a way you can pay somebody to do all this for you?

Todsplace
05-16-2011, 08:07 AM
Thanks Summonere and Medievalist :)

Medievalist: is your TOC one of those metadata TOC's that Amazon kindle users can activate using their special commands? The invisible metadata sort, that is?

Cheers,
Todsplace

davidw
05-16-2011, 08:39 PM
Thanks Summonere and Medievalist :)

Medievalist: is your TOC one of those metadata TOC's that Amazon kindle users can activate using their special commands? The invisible metadata sort, that is?

Cheers,
Todsplace

A "properly" done book should have both a regular ToC that can be reached both within the book, and from the 'go to ToC' entry in the Kindle's menu *and* a "logical ToC", also known as an NCX file, that lets you hop around via the five way controller, and also makes the little dots appear at the bottom of the screen to show places in the book.

That said, you don't *need* those things if it's a short book.

Medievalist
05-16-2011, 09:47 PM
Thanks Summonere and Medievalist :)

Medievalist: is your TOC one of those metadata TOC's that Amazon kindle users can activate using their special commands? The invisible metadata sort, that is?

Cheers,
Todsplace

Yep; you need both sorts.

I found it easier to look at one that was done properly first.

Todsplace
05-17-2011, 09:54 AM
Thanks, Medievalist :)!

kevinkliu
08-09-2013, 08:01 PM
reviving this thread in case anyone finds the content useful.

The short answer on drop caps for kindle: there's isn't a good way (without messing with HTML) to get dropcaps to show up reliably in Kindle. However, a decent workaround is to insert an image of a letter in a calligraphy font, like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,
sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore

And IMHO, the best way to create a proper TOC for kindle is using the direct Microsoft Word-Kindle conversion service offered by Amazon. It's the only method that will both hyperlink your TOC and get the nice little sidebar that pops out in Kindle for PC/Mac and Kindle Fire. Yes, I've tried using filtered HTML and that doesn't work.

DeleyanLee
08-09-2013, 08:08 PM
Isn't there a way you can pay somebody to do all this for you?

We used Draft2Digital, who's also getting the book into a POD printer, Ingrams and a variety of other places for us for a small % of the cover price, no money upfront. They also allow you to do with the files as you wish (ie: give them away), which is nice too for contributor and review copies.

Filigree
08-09-2013, 08:23 PM
When and if I go the self-pub route, I'll probably use Draft2Digital myself. I've been hearing good things from authors who used it.

Medievalist
08-09-2013, 08:40 PM
reviving this thread in case anyone finds the content useful.

The short answer on drop caps for kindle: there's isn't a good way (without messing with HTML) to get dropcaps to show up reliably in Kindle. However, a decent workaround is to insert an image of a letter in a calligraphy font, like this:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit,
sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore

Which means your books are borked for blind/visually disabled readers, and you've screwed the search ability.


And IMHO, the best way to create a proper TOC for kindle is using the direct Microsoft Word-Kindle conversion service offered by Amazon. It's the only method that will both hyperlink your TOC and get the nice little sidebar that pops out in Kindle for PC/Mac and Kindle Fire. Yes, I've tried using filtered HTML and that doesn't work.

That's the easiest way, perhaps, but not the best way.

It's not like you have to learn a lot of HTML to hand-code a TOC.

It's less than 5 tags. That's it.

Less than 10 tags to handcode most books in their entirety.

And Filtered HTML doesn't exist on Microsoft Office for Mac.

Gale Haut
08-09-2013, 11:35 PM
Why are we avoiding editing style sheets? The CSS for this is very learnable and will save you a heap of time and stress. Here's one way to do it...

Place the content sections into separate divs like so.


<div class="chapter">
<p>These paragraphs contain your content until the next page or chapter break.</p>
<p>These paragraphs contain your content until the next page or chapter break.</p>
<p>These paragraphs contain your content until the next page or chapter break.</p>
</div>

Then edit the style sheet for divs with the "chapter" class.


.chapter: first-line {
font-variant:small-caps;
}

You can also use selectors other than "first-line" like "first-letter" to change the size and position of your first letter in the chapter. Does this make sense?