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If you're thinking of creating ebooks beyond the Amazon Kindle and Apple worlds, it's essential to take a look at Calibre, an open-source application you can use to create ebooks in many formats, and manage ebook collections as well.

It's not as easy to use as the Kindle or Apple platforms, but it's also not locked into those companies' ecosystems. Take a look.
calibre: The one stop solution for all your e-book needs. Comprehensive e-book software.
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44 comments
 
Also useful to get books onto device for reading (desired end result)
 
calibe is excellent. I used it to publish my first kindle book :)
 
+Dan Gillmor I have been a devoted fan of Calibre for a long time now but mobipocket creator is also worth looking at. I takes text, html, or MS Word files as input and produces a .mobi file that Kindle can read. http://mobipocket.com
 
Once more I benefit from my circles - Took a look and will download, Thanks
 
Should I say this? There is a plug-in for Calibre that removes DRM from that well-known large ebook store. I buy books in Spanish there, jailbreak them with Calibre, then convert and transfer them to my wife's e-reader which is not compatible with that specific format.
 
Why +Brett Middleton do these things become an all or nothing proposition? Ebooks don't suck, they, like all things have their place. I cant lug around a book everywhere I go but with ebooks I always have something interesting to read. Just because I like ebooks doesn't mean I don't have overflowing book shelves in my house. As a matter of fact I own paper and audio copies of books I have on my phone. Give it another try.
 
+Dan Gillmor downloaded it and will try it this afternoon .Can't get outside because of rain and get cabin fever quickly ,need to keep busy
if I have to stay indoors Will let you know


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+Kierk Ashmore-Sorensen , fully agreed. Also +Brett Middleton , consider the following: what if you live in a foreign country where the books you want to read are simply not available on paper? My wife reads Spanish, I read French, bookstores here sell Ukranian, Russian, and a very few English books (of the Dan Brown kind). Without ebooks, it would be almost impossible for us to read anything worth the time.
 
I use this in my daytime career. Calibre works well for just literary text, but fails when converting .pdf textbook to .xps.
The graphics just don't show up, when using an e-book reader for example Blio by K-NFB.
Blio is a wonderful offering as it has helped litereally thousands of the student population that I serve.
Calibre has it's place, just not in the .xps world.
Please by all means correct me if I am incorrect, I am always open to listen to something that I may have missed... :-D
 
+M Edward Borasky out of curiosity how well does Sigil convert .pdf to EPUB, and will the EPUB file look like the .pdf after the conversion?
 
Ebooks are a strain on society
 
And, +Brett Middleton, I don't think e-books are horrible, but I am disappointed that there's not an e-book -- ugh! -- standard (hey, I hate that word as much as you) that enables a much more faithful, reliable, and accurate transliteration.
 
+Michael Whipple as far as I know, only "tagged" PDFs convert correctly to other formats. PDF is not really an ebook format but a paper simulator...
 
+Michael Whipple I have been creating e-texts for blind visually impaired, and other forms of disability for 17years now. I have been very excited to think that now e-texts are more accepted by the general population. This means that the student population that I serve now have more "main stream" options instead of incredibly overpriced software offerings.
There really is no one software converter that creates a desired e-text output, and there should be. Perhaps the creators of Calibre would like to look at this?
Hmmmm... perhaps that could be a challenge to some entrepreneurial go-getter?
 
Yes, I didn't want to fully admit to the unfairness and utter sloppiness of my stupid little test. It's overcast, wet, and cold (<50 degrees F) in Phoenix, and I'm just grumpy.
 
An easier option for writing: Use Markdown and your favorite text editor, then use pandoc to convert to ePub, and pandoc to HTML then Amazon's packager to convert to Kindle.
 
I just took a good look at it thanks it was very helpfull
 
Robin Szemeti - Dear Google, please remove the "whats hot" content from my stream, thanks.
 
Dear +Robin Szemeti , Please take a minute to search to see if what you are asking is already possible before complaining about it. Thanks.
 
To all: PDFill, InFix PDF editor, plenty of input programs go wild and don't limit your thinking or problem solving. Those are just a few, so no matter what intentions are anything is possible.
 
I have this software right now, but so far I've only given it a single test run. As someone who's getting ready to launch a #Kindle title in two months, I believe it'll come in handy.

And who knew it can handle #LIT files (like #Microsoft Reader does)? Count me among the fortunate ones...and good luck finding that for download after this summer's over.
 
hello Dan Gillmor, very useful program i am a kindle user thank you.
 
I am so ashamed. I have been using Calibre for a while but never thought of it as an ebook creator, only a great way to organize my ebooks and upload to my Nook. Thanks for the tip. I have an older version of Adobe inDesign that just missed having the coolness to allow me to easily publish into ebook formats and I am too cheap to upgrade.
 
Keep in mind that PDF is a fixed-layout format (really targeted for printing). A Kindle Fire screen (for example) is about 4" x 6". A PDF with print trim-size 4" x 6" might look OK on that screen. Standard EPUB is reflow format however. To preserve PDF layout what can be used is a PDF to fixed-layout EPUB converter, e.g. <http://indesignsecrets.com/new-software-to-convert-indesign-books-to-fixed-layout-epub.php>. But of course the fixed-layout has to match the screen size, just as printing has to match the paper size.
 
The InDesign example above was a bit misleading. There is fixed-format EPUB for iPad, NOOK, Kindle -- but they are 3 different specs.
 
ePub isn't a bad standard, it's just that Amazon chose not to follow it.
 
I generally buy my ebooks from B&N (they're typically in ePub), then I run some Python code I found to remove the DRM (it uses my credit card info, so it's not a global hack), so i can read with FBReader anywhere. (When I first got my Archos tablet there was no B&N reader for it.)
 
Also note there's an OpenSource Sigil app that works natively in ePub, so you can either compose there from scratch or tweak the files you generate with Calibre. (I haven't used it yet, just downloaded it the other day.)
 
For Kindle: See <http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000234621>.

Within that page there are links to

Kindle Publishing Guidelines - This is a document describing HTML+CSS coding for authors to make the new Kindle format (KF8: KF8 is basically a compiled ePub that has been compiled using a Palm database and Amazon's DRM scheme <http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/KF8>.) Note inside this document the code for fixed-layout and other KF8 features.

KindleGen - "KindleGen is a command line tool used to build eBooks that can be sold through Amazon's Kindle platform. This tool is best for publishers and individuals who are familiar with HTML and want to convert their HTML, XHTML, XML (OPF/IDPF format), or ePub source into a Kindle Book."
 
A general comment on epublishing: There are basically 3 coding (HTML,CSS,JS) specs out there (Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, B&N NOOK). They are all fundamentally EPUB 3 (<http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/EPub_3>, see "Available Readers") with omissions and their own tweaks (for audio, video, fixed-layout, ... ).

If there were to be "workflow" it would be to have your source in EPUB 3 or XML and to generate the 3 "proprietary" formats from a common source.
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