Using ePub Split to create individual books from your collection of box sets

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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:

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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”.

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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”.

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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.

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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.

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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.