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Reviews of software programs that read ePub files
Where to get books in ePub format
Now we make the .epub container that all these files go in.
* The specification recommends that the books files go in an "OEBPS" folder inside the zip file. If you put them in another spot, be sure that container.xml in the META-INF folder points to the correct location of the *.opf file. Note also that some readers won't open the book if the content files are not in the OEBPS folder.
The zip file layout should look something like this:
- mimetype META-INF - container.xml OEBPS images - sample.jpg - content.opf - toc.ncx - stylesheet.css - content.xhtml
You should now be able to open your eBook in Adobe Digital Editions, or any other reader that supports the .epub format.
One thing to note is that the ePub specification calls the mimetype file to
be the first file in the container. If you are using a GUI zip program, this is
done by making a blank zip file, then copying just the mimetype file into the
zip file, then the rest of the files.
If you are using a command line zip utility, then you can either add the mimetype file first, or if your zip program of choice supports adding multiple files/folders at a time, make sure the mimetype file is the first one in the list.
If you want to cheat, download the file below. It's a zip file that has empty chapter pages,
and the content and toc files pre filled out, so all you have to do is copy and paste your content
into the empty files, and modify the OPF and NCX files.
Blank Sample file
Below are detailed steps to get your content into a zip file and turn it into an ePub book. (I only have instructions for XP because that's the version of Windows I have. Other versions should be similar.)
Sometimes Windows doesn't show the extensions for files. I think it's trying to be "helpful". Here's how to get it to show them to you:
The way the built-in zip support in OS X works makes the process a tad different than on Windows or Linux.
The problem with this method is that the mimetype file isn't necessarily
added to the zip folder first.
A user at the mobileread forums has created a script file that will do the zipping for you, in the right order. You can get it here: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55681
I have heard reports of OS X copying metadata files into the container. It's not supposed to do that, but if it does you can do through and delete any folder or file with a period in front of the name.
So you've made a sample ePub book, and it won't open, or it opens with an error, or looks funky. What now?
epubcheck is a program that will scan your ePub file and display any errors it finds in the book.
You can download it here
You can also go to threepress's website to have it scanned online.
If you use Sigil to make your ePubs, it has validation built-in.
For a program to automate of lot of this for you, and that makes creating and editing ePub books a lot easier, and dare I say, fun, check out Sigil. A tutorial on how it works is also on this site, here.
You can also follow my blog for updates on books I write, and also some ePub content: http://aarondemott.blogspot.com
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Download this guide as an ePub file (Note: You might have to right-click the link, and select either "Save Link as..." or "Save Target As..."
If you have any comments, notice any bugs, or have any questions on any of the steps here, please e-mail me at: yoda47 (at) jedisaber (dot) com