Friday, 20 June 2014

Easy Way of Creating EPUB: Why the Self Published Write Cannot do Without Callibre

Not so long ago, I did not know what an Epub was, and did not know how to create an Epub of a book. Epub is now widely used in epublishing and has become a vital part of formatting files for indie writers.

What is an Epub?

EPUB stands for Electronic Publication. The International Digital Published Forum (IDPF) demands that e-books are created to this format. The file will possess the extension, ‘.epub.’ For example, mynovel.EPUB. Epubs possess particular characteristics in that:

The text is free-flowing meaning that the text will fit on the screen of any device, unlike PDF, which is a static document. Epubs can possess metadata about the book, a book cover and a live table of contents that can be displayed alongside your book (known as NCX explained in a moment). Epub books can also contain raster and vector images within the book.

The Best Format for Uploading Books

Books can be uploaded via various formats, such as web page filtered and inserted in a zip file (I use JZIP). It can also be uploaded as a simple Word document (as in the case of Smashwords) or as a Mobi file (the format for Kindle). However, Epub can be read by most publishing platforms, including Google Books and KDP Amazon.

How to Create an Epub of your Book

Using Callibre to Creat EPUB
Creating an EPUB file is easy if you know how. First you will need to install Callibre E-book Management, a free book conversion software.

Once this publishing software has been installed, you will be presented with a screenshot like the one shown. As can be seen, you can add books to a library, add book covers, author name, metadata, tags and a table of contents.

How to Create an Book Epub File

Once installed, you will have to add your book file to Callibre. Callibre doesn’t read Word docs, so I had to convert my book into Webpage filtered first. Webpage filtered can be found when clicking ‘Save as’ and Word will present a number of file formats you can save your file as. The original file will remain intact. A second file will be created. If the book contains images, webpage filtered will automatically create a second file containing the images.

In order to insert the images into the file, you will need to create a zip file. JZip is a free file compression software, great for compressing files and inserting images into folders. Once the webpage filtered file (or Zip file) has been created, simply add to Callibre by clicking on ‘add books’.

Creating Books for Epub

Add Book Cover and Metadata to your Book
Once the book has been added to Callibre, you have the choice of converting the book into a number of formats, as can be seen on the image. This includes MOBI, EPUB, HTML and PDF. Click EPUB.

Once the book has been converted, you will have prompts to add the book cover (browse and add from Pictures, if you have created a book cover.) More about creating book covers has been covered in another article on this blog. You can also add book title, author name, blurb and tags. Incidentally, it is pointless to add a cover image if the EPUB is to be uploaded onto Smashwords or KDP Amazon, as the cover image will be added via these publishing platforms. The result might be 2 duplicate book covers.

The Metadata of Your Book in Epub

Metadata simply means any information about your book. This can include book title, author name, the blurb, the price and tags that help customers find your book. Tags can be proper nouns, genre, situations or anything that describes your book. The second screenshot shows my book cover, blurb, tags and other info on my book.

Look and Feel of the Book in EPUB

Callibre Creates Table of Contents
Known as NCX
In Callibre, you have a number of options where you can tweak the look and feel of the book, but I do this on Word before uploading onto Callibre. I also create a table of contents by creating internal links and bookmarking them on Word. More about creating a ToC in your book is covered in another article. Here, we can see the Callibre has detected a contents page and created live links to chapters within the book. The live links are arranged as a list to the left of the book, for ease of navigation.

This element of an EPUB is known as NCX (which stands for Navigation Control File) and is covered in another article on this blog.

Create an Epub Easily for Publishing

Once the book is complete, save the Epub file. Callibre will save the EPUB file under downloads of your computer. You can then browse to your Epub book when ready to be uploaded onto KDP Amazon, Google Books or elsewhere.

Articles on Creating EPUB File for Epublishing

JZIP a free compression software for your books
How to design great books covers for free
Help my book won't format properly

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