Mobileread
Tutorial - How to Create a MobiPocket eBook
#1  HarryT 12-23-2007, 09:24 AM
The attached file is a detailed tutorial showing how to create a MobiPocket eBook using the freely available tools of Book Designer and MobiPocket Creator. It starts off with the assumption that you've already created and edited the book in Book Designer, and shows you how to go from the BD book to a properly-formatted MobiPocket book with large images, a functioning "Table of Contents" menu item, and so on.

Comments or suggestions for improvements are of course welcome.

There are two attachments: the tutorial itself in Word format, and a file "sample.zip" containing the sample files used in the tutorial, so you can "follow along" with it.

Hope that this is useful to people.

EDIT: Proofread the document and corrected a dozen or so minor typos. Uploaded v1.02.
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[zip] sample.zip (443.6 KB, 7631 views)
[zip] HarryT's MobiPocket Tutorial.zip (832.6 KB, 12580 views)
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#2  Sparrow 12-23-2007, 11:09 AM
Thanks Harry - the tutorial worked perfectly - I'm looking forward to doing it for 'real'.

The only typos I spotted were:

you’ll see that the Creator was created a new folder
you’ll see that the Creator has created a new folder

you’ll see the “Build completed” screen
you’ll see the “Build finished” screen


Also, should there be an instruction to click the Build icon in:
"Again, click the Update button. This takes us to the “Build publication” page:" ?
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#3  HarryT 12-23-2007, 12:08 PM
Quote Sparrow
Thanks Harry - the tutorial worked perfectly - I'm looking forward to doing it for 'real'.

The only typos I spotted were:

you’ll see that the Creator was created a new folder
you’ll see that the Creator has created a new folder

you’ll see the “Build completed” screen
you’ll see the “Build finished” screen
Thanks! I've corrected these errors and uploaded a new v1.01.

Quote
Also, should there be an instruction to click the Build icon in:
"Again, click the Update button. This takes us to the “Build publication” page:" ?
No. Clicking "Update" from the "Settings" page takes you straight to the "Build" screen.
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#4  HarryT 12-23-2007, 12:22 PM
I should add, by the way, that there's considerable room for "shortcuts" in the process described.

If you've worked through the tutorial I'm sure you've realise that the "Mobi Creator" program is basically a tool for creating and editing the ".opf" file. This is an XML file which describes the contents and layout of the book "package".

If you stick with calling the book file "book.html", all you have to do to create a new book is:

1. Create a folder.
2. Copy the HTML file and any image files into the folder.
3. Copy the "book.opf" from your last book into the folder.
4. Double click the "book.opf" file to open it in Mobi Creator.
5. Edit the metadata - title, author, etc.
6. Build the book.

This is because everything in the opf file except the book's metadata is the same from book to book, provided you stick with the same naming for the book HTML file and its tags.

The tutorial mentions only one of the "custom tags" that you can put into your HTML document - the "<mbpagebreak/>" which forces a pagebreak. There are lots of other tags you can use to provide more detailed control over the formatting of your document - they are documented on the MobiPocket developer web site at the link below:

http://www.mobipocket.com/dev/article.asp?BaseFolder=prcgen
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#5  PeterT 12-23-2007, 12:50 PM
Thanks I'm delighted to see this. I had looked at BD for making Mobipocket's and my main issue was the formatting. I really HATE fully justified documents; much preferring the use of non justified text.

Now it's time to sit down and really figure out HOW to use BD and I'm all set to go
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#6  Strether 12-23-2007, 12:55 PM
Harry, what would happen if you didn't add the "start reading" tag? At first blush, it seems like you could get to the text just by clicking on Chapter 1 of the TOC?

I know that you say it's useful in the Mobipocket Reader, but if you're viewing the file in, say, a Kindle, is that tag necessary?

Jim
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#7  HarryT 12-23-2007, 01:05 PM
Quote Strether
Harry, what would happen if you didn't add the "start reading" tag? At first blush, it seems like you could get to the text just by clicking on Chapter 1 of the TOC?

I know that you say it's useful in the Mobipocket Reader, but if you're viewing the file in, say, a Kindle, is that tag necessary?

Jim
The "Guide" items add entries to a navigation menu on MobiPocket Reader, and the CyBook Gen3, and enable navigation icons on the iLiad. The "Table of Contents" and "Start Reading" items are standard ones, but if you don't have them all that happens is that those items don't appear on the navigation menu on the Gen3, and the corresponding buttons remain disabled on the iLiad.

I don't know what use the Kindle makes of them or otherwise. You are absolutely right - "Start Reading" does seem a little pointless, but it does appear to be a "standard" item, and it's no real work to add it.

"Table of Contents" is genuinely useful - I would certainly always add that one.

In case I didn't make it clear in the tutorial, you can add any extra items you want in "Guide Items" - they are just links to specific places in the book defined by anchor tags, so if you had a book which had some special places you wanted to be able to quickly jump to, you could add additional guide items to enable the user to jump directly to those places.
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#8  Strether 12-23-2007, 01:18 PM
The Kindle menu doesn't have a "start reading" option, but just " go to toc" and "start at beginning." When I opened your new edition of Bleak House it opened at Chapter 1, which confused me. I had to backtrack to the book title, author's picture (which was what I was looking for to see how that had turned out), and toc. I'm guessing now it was responding to your second tag.

Since I don't especially want a book to open at the beginning text, I think the first one I try I'm going to omit that tag and see how it turns out. I'll try something without a picture, too.

Bleak House, by the way, looks terrific. I haven't read it in a while and I'll schedule it for an early re-read.

Jim
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#9  HarryT 12-23-2007, 01:29 PM
Quote Strether
The Kindle menu doesn't have a "start reading" option, but just " go to toc" and "start at beginning." When I opened your new edition of Bleak House it opened at Chapter 1, which confused me. I had to backtrack to the book title, author's picture (which was what I was looking for to see how that had turned out), and toc. I'm guessing now it was responding to your second tag.
That's interesting, and does appear to be something that's specific to the Kindle. When you open a book for the first time on the Gen3, it displays the cover image and then starts from the beginning of the book; it's only by selecting the "Start Reading" menu item that you get taken to the Preface, which is the point defined to be the start of the "text proper" in that particular book.

I've followed the "documented procedure" for creating Guide items, so forgive me if I carry on creating books this way.
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#10  Strether 12-23-2007, 10:24 PM
Harry,

I used note pad as a text editor, not being up to speed yet with PFE. I didn't do anything to change the fully justified appearance of the text because as far as I know, there isn't any way with the Kindle of choosing to turn the justification on or off. And I added the tag that would result in the Kindle recognizing the toc of the book. Here's what that looked like after I'd finished:

Code
<mbp:pagebreak/><SPAN id=BCONTENTS><A name=toc><DIV align=justify>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV align=center><B><FONT color=#0000ff>Table of Contents</FONT></B></DIV></A>
Can you tell from looking at that whether that seems OK?

I ended up with some problems.

The book didn't show up in the Kindle by name, but just as "Book". Assume I did something wrong in the making of the book and will look at that again.

Interestingly, despite not using the Start Reading tag, when I opened the book it took me right to the first chapter. I see that the Kindle has another menu option that I hadn't noticed called "Go to Cover" which takes you to the cover page. It did activate the toc menu item, so assume that's the result of my text editing. Other problem, though, is that the first page of the first chapter was all centered -- all of the lines. But only that page; all others were justified. Any thoughts on that?

It may very well be that it'll take someone with some computer smarts who also has a Kindle to solve these kind of problems, but I'd thought I'd report in.

Jim
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