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Using ePub Split to create individual books from your collection of...

The 99c price tag for these epic box sets of 8, 10, and 14 sets of novels is awesome. However, reading them on a digital device is suboptimal. You don’t get a very good idea of where you are in the novel based on page count or percentage or locations. Further, it’s hard to catalog these books since there are multiple authors for the box set.

I mentioned on Twitter that I’d love an easy way to break these box sets up and Mikaela Lind recommended I check out the Calibre plugin called ePubSplit.  Essentially, the plugin does exactly what the name implies. It takes an existing ePub and can create other ePubs based on the current contents.

To begin you’ll need Calibre + the ePubSplit plugin. You can read how to install a plugin here.

Ready? Let’s begin.

1. Start with an ePub (hence the name “ePubSplit”).  If you want to work with your Kindle purchases, then  you’ll need to convert to ePub. Simply highlight the book in Calibre and press “convert” and choose “epub.”

2. Get familiar with the structure of the Box Set. Highlight the box set and click on the ePubSplit icon.  If formatted correctly, the Table of Contents of the ePub will guide what sections you will need to select in order to create a new book. In Epic Love, the first story Off Chance starts with part008.html and ends with part0042.html.  You can double check this by right clicking and selecting “Edit Ebook”. This will allow you to preview each section.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 18.54.42

 

But what if your book looks like this? Then use the “Edit Book” to check out what those unnamed files mean.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.58.06

 

Edit Book has a Preview Pane that allows you to see what those extra files contain. Using Edit Book I see that file _022.html is the end of Lexi Blake’s book and _023.html is the start of the Olivia Cunning book.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 16.18.08

Use the Edit Book Preview Pane to guide where you should start and stop your section selections. Using the Preview Pane, I know that the first book by Lexi Blake starts at 002.html and ends at 022.html.

If you open the “Edit Book” function and then press on the ePub Split button, you can have both windows open at the same time and toggle back and forth. If you open the ePub Split window first, it doesn’t allow you to open any other windows.

3. Highlight the sections. Highlight by shift clicking from part008.html to part0042.html. Shift clicking is highlighting the first file and then holding down the shift key and then clicking on end file. If you’ve done this right, part008.html to part0042.html should be highlighted.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.33.20

4. Click New Book button. Once all the pertinent parts of the new book are highlighted, press the “New Book” button. You will get a warning dialog box which you can choose to ignore in the future by unchecking the box next to “Show this warning again.”

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.33.56

5. New Metadata. The Calibre metadata box pops up. Here’s where you change the title, author, add a new cover and even a new back cover description. I just add the title and author and let Calibre fetch me the rest of the information. If you forget the title or author, on the bigger box sets you can use the cover image as a guide. Just note that the books on the box set cover might be in a different order than how they appear in the file.

You cannot skip this step.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.39.25

Once you’ve added the metadata, you’re done. You have a separate new ePub. That’s it! Continue steps 3-5 to create the rest of your ePubs from the box set. If you want you can delete the box set or you can keep it for your records.

Table of Contents. You don’t have to do this step but when you create the ePub from EpubSplit, it does not create a table of contents. Calibre has some built in tools to help with this. Highlight the book you want to create a new TOC. Right click and choose “Edit Book”. Click on the little “T” button:

Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 1.38.38 PM

This is the Table of Contents button.  Here you can generate the TOC a number of different ways. If formatted correctly, the easiest thing to do is select either “Generate ToC from major headings” or “Generate ToC from files”.

Screenshot_2014-04-13_13_39_29

Once the TOC is generated, press save. You can also create a TOC when you convert. Simply highlight the ePub and then click “convert books”.

Look for “Table of Contents” on the left hand side and click the box next to “Force use of auto-generated Table of Contents”.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.53.35

My recommendation is to do one and if it works, then highlight all of them and do a bulk convert back to Mobi. If you prefer ePub, just convert to ePub and it will make a new ePub with the TOC.

Another way to do this is to use Sigil. Open the ePub in Sigil. Under “Tools” select “Generate Table of Contents”. It will then create a Table of Contents. Magical, right? Simply save and your newly saved ePub folder will have the TOC.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.50.59

 

You can check to see if the TOC created properly by going to “view” in Calibre. When the E-book Viewer opens, click on the three blue lines (that’s the icon for TOC).  Then…look. :) Not bad.

Screenshot 2014-04-12 15.51.34

Now you’ve got a complete book or novella extracted from the box set making it easier to read and keep track of.  Let me know if you have any questions or need more screenshots.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

30 Comments

  1. Willa
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 06:50:28

    I love the epub split function . I have taken all the short stories by one author from the anthologies and then used the epub merge to give me a single book of short stories by my fave authors! :D

  2. Willa
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 06:58:30

    @Willa: Ooops clicked reply too soon. So I now have a single book with all my Nalini Singh short stories and a single book with all my Laura Griffin short stories in it etc, etc . .

  3. Willa
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 07:01:33

    Jane in #1 you have put ‘If you want to work with your Kindle purchases, then you’ll need to convert to ePub. Simply highlight the book in Calibre and press “convert” and choose “mobi.

    It should be ‘choose epub, not mobi’

  4. cleo
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 07:17:49

    This may be the function that finally convinces me to set up Calibre. I’ve been kinda meaning to get into Calibre but not making the time for ages. But I have wanted to be able to split anthologies and recombine them FOREVER.

  5. Christine
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 07:59:51

    Thanks Jane, really appreciate this post. Funnily enough, I am also splitting the same collection :-)

  6. Jane
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 08:33:46

    @Willa – thanks. I changed.

  7. Lostshadows
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 09:01:27

    This sounds really useful.

    Now if I can just figure up what’s taking up all the hd space on this thing.

  8. Brianna (The Book Vixen)
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 09:16:41

    Thanks for this! I’m going to give it a try.

  9. Sophia
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 09:20:16

    Thank you for this. I will be more likely to take advantage of the great boxed set deals and actually read them now.

  10. library addict
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 10:18:22

    You can skipSiglil and use Calibre’s Edit Book function. It works better than Sigil IMO plus it is built in. There’s also the TOC tool (forgetting the name and I’m not home to check) which allows you to to add, delete, and edit the TOC without reconverting the book.

  11. AH@badassbookreviews
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 10:36:52

    Thanks for this. I’ve been using Calibre for a long time now but I have never tried to use all of its functionality. This is really great. Thanks again.

  12. Becky
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 13:16:02

    Does this work for Nook books? I’ve tried a few so far and keep getting DRM and error messages. Am I missing a step?

  13. Amir
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 13:23:31

    This is awesome, thank you for this tutorial, Jane! I have so many box sets of different books that I forget I have, this will help cross them out on my TBR.

  14. Jane
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 13:45:51

    @library addict – Thanks. I updated the post to reflect the built in tools.

  15. nasanta
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 22:12:08

    @Becky: Have you stripped the DRM from the Nookbooks? If not, you may have to do so first. I believe Jane put up a tutorial for that some time ago. If not, you can find it using a search engine.

  16. Ray
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 22:46:25

    Also, books need to be without DRM if you want to split them.

  17. Alison
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 02:11:47

    How odd, I used this facility last night for the first time to split a trilogy into the component books (after ordering two of the books online before I realised my mistake!)

  18. Using ePub Split to create individual books from your collection of box sets | WasOut
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 07:42:06

    […] The 99c price tag for these epic box sets of 8, 10, and 14 sets of novels is awesome. However, reading them on a digital device is suboptimal. You don’t get a very good idea of where you are in the novel based on page count or percentage or locations. Further, it’s hard to catalog these books since there are multiple authors for the box set.I mentioned on Twitter that I’d love an easy way to break these box sets up and Mikaela Lind recommended I check out the Calibre plugin called ePubSplit.  Essentially, the plugin does exactly what the name implies. It takes an existing ePub and can create other ePubs based on the current contents. Read full article […]

  19. Liz H
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 12:27:49

    @library addict: That’s how I do it too.

    They’ve really expanded the Edit Book function in the last year, and it’s fantastic, and really user friendly now. It’s also easy to use when you get errors converting from one format to another (ex. old pdfs to epub).

    I love these tech/instructional posts. Thanks Jane.

  20. Nicole H.
    Apr 14, 2014 @ 14:01:10

    Ah. I love you. I know what I’m doing next time I have some free time.

  21. Kaetrin
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 00:43:22

    Thx Jane. Just installing the plugin now. I have a few series which I’ve bought as boxed sets and I’d like to split them out – I have the Jaran series by Kate Elliott and The Moorehawke Trilogy by Celine Kiernan. It seems unlikely I will be able to read those all at once and having them split into their component books will help me not get overwhelmed by it all.

  22. AH@badassbookreviews
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 09:31:32

    Thanks for this. I always learn so much from your instructional posts. I am wondering with the current rage for serial novels, is there a way to combine them in Calibre using a similar method?

  23. Kaetrin
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 20:04:07

    @AH@badassbookreviews: Not Jane but I can answer this one. There is! I saw it on the list when I went to add the plugin in Calibre. It was right around where the Epub Split one was. It was called something like “epub joiner”. I haven’t installed/used it so I don’t know how it works but I imagine it’s a similar thing to the split plugin but in reverse.

  24. AH@badassbookreviews
    Apr 18, 2014 @ 20:34:46

    @Kaetrin:
    Awesome. It’s called EpubMerge and it worked. I just have to figure out how to tweak it (it would help if I followed the instructions above) but so cool. I now can have those pesky serials as one book.

  25. Iris
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 11:46:35

    Thank you so much for this useful tip. I might eventually have found out about this but this was so much simpler!

  26. SusanS
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 20:23:20

    @Jane: Did I miss something basic? I have the Epic Love box set but when I try to convert it to ePub it tells me it can’t do that because it is locked by DRM. Aren’t most Kindle books locked? Should I have downloaded it in a different format somehow?

  27. Jane
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 20:30:59

    @SusanS: Every box set is different. Some have DRM on it and others don’t. There’s a calibre plugin that can help with the DRM.

  28. SusanS
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 21:18:52

    @Jane: OK, I’m an idiot. Say no more.

  29. Stacy (StacyHgg)
    May 09, 2014 @ 14:11:52

    Thanks so much! With box sets all the rave now this is great!

  30. Toni Ponzo
    May 10, 2014 @ 02:10:09

    Jane,
    thank you so much for this and other posts. I love calibre but know I have not been taking advantage of a lot of its functionality. The folks at mobilereads are awesome but sometimes the “tech talk” can be a little intimidating. Your posts make things so easy and I have discovered some things I can’t wait to try. Please keep up the great work.
    Toni P.

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