For the next few weeks, I’m going to do posts on how to convert ebooks into formats that work on dedicated and multi function devices. First up is the eReader format. Both Stanza and eReader on the iPhone allow uploading of personal content but only in the eReader format. Making an eReader book isn’t hard but it does require some software and depending on your system, maybe an outlay of money. The following works with both Macs and Windows BUT! you need to have MS Word on your computer.
You need to start with an html file. Most ebooks from epublishers come in html format which is comprised of the book file and an additional folder that contains images and styling information.
If your book is in another format, these instructions won’t work. This week will address the conversion using two free programs: Publish eBook and Drop Book.
Step 1: Download Conversion Programs: Publish eBook and Drop Book:
If you have Microsoft Word, download the program “publish ebook.” This is essentially a Word macro that turns any Word doc into a PDB file. PDB is the extension that eReader will view. Once you download the Publish eBook to your computer, open the files and make sure “Drop Book” is included. If not, you’ll need to download “Drop Book” from eReader.com. Make sure that DropBook is placed in the “Publishe eBook” folder. You can place the “Publish eBook” folder anywhere you like, but put it where you will be able to locate the following file whenever you want to do a conversion.
Step 2: Create a MS Word document from the HTML file.
The above program only works with MS Word files so you’ll need to create a MS Word file from the HTML file you downloaded. Navigate to your ebook file.
- Highlight the ebook file.
- Right click and choose Open with. . .
- Choose MS Word.
MS Word will open and there should be the book with cover. Go to File, “Properties” and then fill in the title of the book and author of the book.
Close out of those dialog boxes and choose Save As and choose MS Word doc.
You should now have a MS Word doc in the folder along with the hmtl file and the images.
Step 3: Open Publish eBook and create PDB file.
Go to the Publish eBook.doc. Open it. You may have to “Enable Macros”. Click on the “Publish eBook”. Navigate to the MS Word document you just created. Doubleclicking on the MS Word document will trigger the macro and the Publish eBook document will close and your file will be created and saved in the folder where the “doc” existed.
Step 4: Upload your PDB file to your Personal Bookshelf.
Congratulations. You have created a simple PDB of your book and can upload that to your Fictionwise.com or Stanza.Fictionwise.com Personal Bookshelf area.
Step 5: Further customization using PML.
If you want to pretty up your eReader ebooks, you can hand edit the PML file. To generate a PML file, uncheck this box in the Publish eBook.doc:
Now when you create a PDB, you will get both a PML file and a PDB file:
Open the PML file with Notepad.exe or Wordpad.exe. From here you can add images or chapter marks and any other further PML markup as found here. Adding images, though, is a huge pain in the ass because the images must be in png format that is not filtered or interlaced, must be put in the folder “bookfolder_img” where “bookfolder’ is the name of the folder, and must be less than or equal to 65505 bytes in size.
Next week: Using Open Office Writer (free).