1. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    EPUB conversions

    Discussion in 'Software' started by SapereAude, Mar 11, 2021.

    Just a quick "heads up" for anyone who might be interested.

    I work on a Windows 10 computer, using Microsoft Word. I know that both Amazon's KDP and Barnes & Noble Press allow you to upload a Word file and they automatically create the e-book for you. That's okay for when you get to the end of the writing and editing process, but I sometimes like to take a preview of the e-book while I'm still futzing around.

    Microsoft offers a free DOCX to EPUB converter, which I have downloaded and installed. It works -- but it's not great. The two biggest flaws I have found (so far) are that (1) it doesn't start new chapters on a new page; and (2) it loses formatting for italics. The first can be addressed by breaking into the EPUB file and manually editing the CSS script. The italics can be fixed only by going through the entire manuscript, line by line, to add the tags where needed. Not good.

    I have been playing with a free office software suite from Germany called Softmaker FreeOffice. It's available for Windows, Mac, and Linux -- and they have a version for Android currently in beta testing. FreeOffice Textmaker includes a function to export to EPUB. I just tested it, and it fixes both of the problems the Microsoft converter has. It properly starts chapters on a new page, and it renders italic text in italics.

    What it lost was the center justification of the text on the title page, but that's a lot easier to fix than having to read through an entire manuscript to manually insert italics tags.

    Not all converters are created equal, apparently. Next up will be to try Libre Office again, but I don't hold out much hope. I tried that one once before and I wasn't pleased with the result.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2021
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  2. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    Libre Office Writer also failed. It properly picked up the page breaks, and it centered the chapter headings -- but it lost all the italics in the body text.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    For a free converter i'd suggest either the one on Reedsy or using Calibre (you'll need to start with a docx file)... draft to digital also have a converter but i wasnt impresed with that.

    personally i use vellum but is both pricey and mac only... so in the paid converters i'd flag that jutoh is also worth a look
     
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  4. Amontillado

    Amontillado Active Member

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    I've heard good reports about Softmaker, and I think it will run from a USB drive, too.

    Jutoh is nice, too. I believe it will also create CHM files, which are used for application help on Windows.
     
  5. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I use a DOC RTF file on Calibre and it works fine.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2021
  6. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    So far, Barnes and Noble Press has done well for me, but I'm not confident enough about how it works to want to use it as a previewer while the book is still in progress.

    My stumbling block du jour, though, is fixed layout EPUB. I'm churning away at a non-fiction book that's going to involve reproducing a lot of very long documents that are available as PDF downloads direct from the U.S. gummint. Because of their length, they need to maintain the exact pagination of the PDF downloads because that's how they are cited (the documents in question are Supreme Court decisions, some running hundreds of pages in length). Citations to Supreme Court decisions give the case name and number, and the page number for the page of the official PDF on which the cited passage(s) appear. So I can't just import the raw text into a DTP program and churn out a reflowable e-book, because it would make the documents useless if a reader needed to look up a particular citation -- which, of course, is the reason for the book.

    I'm finding that Epub3 supports fixed layout, but I can't find any on-line articles that explain how to do it.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    just put the pdf link in the book and quote short setions ... you can't reproduce the whole anyway because of copyright
     
  8. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    Historical documents such as the Magna Carta aren't copyrighted. U.S. Supreme Court decisions are public documents, generated by the government and paid for with public funds. They are not (and cannot be) copyrighted. The same holds true for documents from England -- I've already verified that with the British government.

    The purpose of the book is to compile the documents -- in full -- under one cover. Quoting brief sections would totally obviate the reason for the book.
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    well for a start whoever you've verified it with in the uk is wrong.. crown copyright is a thing ...acts of parliament and other such legislation are all covered by crown/parliamentary copyright... however they are mostly also covered by the open government licence... which allows their use in books etc so long as you follow its terms , but to say that they arent copyrighted is wholly false and the OGL is not a blanket permission to use all crown copyright works... see a lawyer

    The Magna carta is not subject to crown copyright - principally due to its age.

    In regard of the US - you are correct that supreme court decisions (and since the Georgia decision ,annotations) are not copyright since the supreme court ruled that judges are not authors and thus the copyright protection that the copyright act extends to 'original acts of authorship' do not apply... likewise US legislative documents prepared by federal empoyees are not copyright, in the united state... however the USG does assert its right o international copyright on its legislation (Meaning I think that you could sell your book in the US but not elsewhere)... see a lawyer.

    All that not withstanding, if you are going to combine the information from multiple PDFs into an ebook the most sensible solution is links to those pdfs.. if you are deadset on not doing that the second most sensible solution is to create your own text as a PDF and then use a PDF creator to combine all the necessary PDFs together before using a file converter to take that combined PDF into epub... typing or pasting all the info out of the PDFs into word is likely to introduce errors and omissions
     
  10. SapereAude

    SapereAude Member

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    I know you mean to be helpful, but I have done my homework on this:

     
  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Okay

    back on topic... in terms of an epub converter that won't mangle your legal layout... two things occur to me

    a)Most epub converters work better if there is less/no formatting in the source document... the more styles and tabs etc there are in the source docx the worse they screw things up (that goes for nearly all converters including vellum)

    b) You can pay a formatting service.. but you tend to get what you pay for so don't use a very cheap,one as all they'll do is shove it through vellum... I've heard good things about polgarus studio... although I've not used them myself. Its generally not worth it with a fiction book that is just words but with a complicated non fiction project it might be a better bet.. make sure they know what sort of service you want when getting a quote
     
  12. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    I made a mistake. I said DOC when in fact it's RTF. Calibre works with RTF, it doesn't accept DOC format.
    It accepts DOCX but I don't use that format so I can't comment on that.
     
  13. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Its not surprising that they don't accept doc, given that its the format for pre 2007 versions of word... 14 years later you could reasonably expect most people to have documents in docx as standard... word generates it, so do open/libre and other such, so does scrivener
     

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