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Calibre won't create indentation for epub?


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#1 Jennie

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 03:27 AM

So, my ebook is looking awesome. Everything is clean, linked, etc.

 

My only problem is that when I convert the Sigil file in Caliber using Cameron's guide, the mobi file has proper indentation with the paragraph breaks removed, but the epub file doesn't. I mean, I guess it works because everything is consistent, but I would prefer for it to look like the mobi file instead of block paragraphs. I'm checking everything I'm supposed to, but it just won't convert.

 

Any ideas? I'm kinda lost. I've googled and I couldn't find anything.

 

The text does not have any leftover formatting because I pasted it all into notepad and then redid all of the italics and scene breaks in Sigil (and boy, was that a pain in the ___).


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#2 AQCrew

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 09:45 AM

There will be members who will be able to address your specific issue, but we just need to chime in:

 

We recently tried to upload a file to Amazon's KDP with a mobi file and they no longer accepted it. 

 

We think this must be a very recent change... by the end of August 2013, they accepted mobi files for upload.  We know for a fact we uploaded a revised manuscript in .mobi, no problem.  By mid-September 2013, we uploaded a new release, and .mobi was no longer an accepted file format.  It's not insignificant that this change coincides with a bunch of other obvious upgrades to the KDP Dashboard.

 

Because of time-constraints, we simply uploaded the MSWord saved as a .htm web-filtered page as our Kindle file, but we want to add this discovery to the overall discussion.

 

Regarding your specific issue with losing paragraph indentations, we had that same problem when we attempted to transfer over our Word doc to epub when wanting to upload directly to Apple's iBooks.  

 

iBooks is very strict and your epub file needs to pass the Universal epub validator.  It looked fine, but in the end, the epubchecker said it had errors, and iBooks would not accept it.  We believe (but can't exactly remember...) that the graph indentation thing was an issue.  We spent a long time testing and re-testing the errors, so it wasn't as if we didn't understand each error code or why the errors were occurring.

 

We do remember trying Sigil and Calibre and all sorts of shenanigans, but for sure, the exports from Calibre were the worst, and had the most errors.

 

In the end, the only thing that worked for uploading directly to Apple was re-importing directly into Mac's "Pages" program and re-formatting every single paragraph indentation. Yes, tedious. Very.

 

We plan to circle back to the Apple graph indentation &formatting/epub upload issue very soon, so this discussion is timely, especially since we believe that Amazon, too, no longer accepts mobi files.  

 

This means to us... that Calibre has become basically useless.  Could be wrong in that assumption; you all will let us know.



#3 RC Lewis

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:20 AM

I've always done epubs through Pages as well and have been happy with the results. Very easy to use. Of course, that means buying the software.

 

Interesting about Amazon no longer taking mobi files. I've heard they now (finally) accept epub files for upload. If that's true, it should make things easier. (As long as the conversion to Kindle format is good.)

 

Sorry I can't be more help, Jennie, but I feel your pain on reformatting. I had to reinsert italics and other formatting several times while working on The Fall for EBP because Smashwords hates me. :humph:


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#4 Jennie

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 04:06 PM

Hmm. I didn't know that Amazon was no longer accepting mobi files. Interesting, and very good to know. Also, a huge bummer since the mobi file was the only one that formatted correctly. :-p 

 

I did run my epub file through the validator and it checks out. It appears that calibre just isn't formatting the paragraphs correctly, but isn't corrupting it.

 

I don't have a Mac, so I can't use Pages. I'll dig around to see if I can find a PC alternative. 

 

Fortunately for me, the reason I'm doing this now is so I can send out copies for early review. So Calibre was still a useful tool in this instance. Since the epub file I have is definitely readable, I might end up using it for the eARCs anyway and just pay somebody to go through the headache of creating the final version. :-p

 

Thanks again for the info!


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#5 Paul Dillon

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 07:44 PM

There will be members who will be able to address your specific issue, but we just need to chime in:

 

We recently tried to upload a file to Amazon's KDP with a mobi file and they no longer accepted it. 

 

We think this must be a very recent change... by the end of August 2013, they accepted mobi files for upload.  We know for a fact we uploaded a revised manuscript in .mobi, no problem.  By mid-September 2013, we uploaded a new release, and .mobi was no longer an accepted file format.  It's not insignificant that this change coincides with a bunch of other obvious upgrades to the KDP Dashboard.

 

Because of time-constraints, we simply uploaded the MSWord saved as a .htm web-filtered page as our Kindle file, but we want to add this discovery to the overall discussion.

 

Regarding your specific issue with losing paragraph indentations, we had that same problem when we attempted to transfer over our Word doc to epub when wanting to upload directly to Apple's iBooks.  

 

iBooks is very strict and your epub file needs to pass the Universal epub validator.  It looked fine, but in the end, the epubchecker said it had errors, and iBooks would not accept it.  We believe (but can't exactly remember...) that the graph indentation thing was an issue.  We spent a long time testing and re-testing the errors, so it wasn't as if we didn't understand each error code or why the errors were occurring.

 

We do remember trying Sigil and Calibre and all sorts of shenanigans, but for sure, the exports from Calibre were the worst, and had the most errors.

 

In the end, the only thing that worked for uploading directly to Apple was re-importing directly into Mac's "Pages" program and re-formatting every single paragraph indentation. Yes, tedious. Very.

 

We plan to circle back to the Apple graph indentation &formatting/epub upload issue very soon, so this discussion is timely, especially since we believe that Amazon, too, no longer accepts mobi files.  

 

This means to us... that Calibre has become basically useless.  Could be wrong in that assumption; you all will let us know.

 

I just tested a prc and mobi file and both uploaded successfully to KDP. Maybe it's a Calibre issue - I didn't use Calibre to create these files. I'm still using mobipocket 



#6 Paul Dillon

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 08:28 PM

Jennie,

 

Maybe it's something specific with your file. I just converted a mobi file to epub with Calibre and it didn't change the paragraph indentation. Were the indents created with the CSS text-indent rule?



#7 AQCrew

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:31 PM

Great info, all.

 

Just to thicken the plot:

 

We went back and attempted to upload a .mobi file to one of our"older" releases through Amazon's KDP.  

 

It accepted/uploaded the .mobi file -- no issues -- on the older release, submitted to Amazon in early 2013.

 

Then, we created a fresh .mobi for our newest release --submitted early Sept 2013 -- and attempted to upload the .mobi file.  No dice.  

 

Instead, we got this error, the same error (same error the first time around we tried it and thought, ugh?  they're not accepting mobi files anymore?:

 

 

We encountered a problem while processing your file. This error is common with MOBI files created by non-Amazon conversion tools. Please upload your book in a different format or use one of our supported conversion tools. Refer to our formatting guide for more information.

 

The version of Calibre that we're using is 0.9.22, which is likely an older version.  But what's interesting is that we seem to be able to upload .mobi revisions to book releases that were originally uploaded as .mobi files to Amazon before the end of August 2013.

 

What does it all mean...? Who knows... but there's some additional info for you all.

 

EDIT: Actually, we have a theory -- we suspect Amazon is attempting to phase out the mobi file format in order to push towards the future, which is going to be HTML5/CSS3 development of ebooks.  So we shall see...



#8 lee debourg

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 11:42 PM

Very timely-I have my manuscript at E-pubLaunch for conversion to mobi and epub.
It just seems like it is taking them forever (two weeks).
They guarantee their work will be accepted to KDP and Smashwords Premium. Perhaps they're experiencing issues.
If there is a glitch at least now I'll know what questions to pose.
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#9 Paul Dillon

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 01:21 PM

 

The version of Calibre that we're using is 0.9.22, which is likely an older version.  But what's interesting is that we seem to be able to upload .mobi revisions to book releases that were originally uploaded as .mobi files to Amazon before the end of August 2013.

 

What does it all mean...? Who knows... but there's some additional info for you all.

 

EDIT: Actually, we have a theory -- we suspect Amazon is attempting to phase out the mobi file format in order to push towards the future, which is going to be HTML5/CSS3 development of ebooks.  So we shall see...

 

Calibre has an option to save in the old and new mobi formats. Perhaps save as both formats and see which gets rejected.



#10 Jennie

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Posted 29 September 2013 - 06:38 PM

Jennie,

 

Maybe it's something specific with your file. I just converted a mobi file to epub with Calibre and it didn't change the paragraph indentation. Were the indents created with the CSS text-indent rule?

 

It might be. I was using an epub file and trying to change some of the features, including the indentation, with calibre. I wasn't using style sheets for the indents. 

 

So I'm guessing this is an issue with Calibre. Maybe it would work if I tried to convert the .mobi that turned out correctly back into epub. 

 

This is all really great information. I did end up hiring someone else to do my final versions, but I'm going to go through this again in a few weeks with my novella and I'd rather do that one myself.


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#11 K_Claremont

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 07:43 PM

Okay, I think I might have some answers in case anyone else needs them.

 

Crack open the .epub.  Here's how:  Make a COPY of the .epub first.  Change the extension of that copy from .epub to .zip.  Unzip said .zip.  Find the .css and open it with a text editor.  (Even if you didn't create one yourself, it's possible one was created upon conversion.)  You can look at the indent rule Paul is talking about there.  Then just open a random chapter in a text editor (not a word processor).  Any chapter.  It's probably, if it's a generated .epub, an .xhtml file in a folder possibly labeled OPS.  What you are looking for is whether or not the paragraphs in your chapters have the proper paragraph class set out in the .css. 

 

In your CSS, it will look like this:

 

p.CLASSNAME

 

(If you're using Calibre, CLASSNAME is probably changed to something like "c#" or "calibre#."  If you didn't make a custom paragraph style in your original document, it might just be labeled "p" with nothing else, not even the period.)

 

(You'll want to see something about an indent here.  I think it's "text-indent," but the code escapes me at the moment.)

 

EDIT:  I just had to crack open a calibre file, and the stylesheet did not use "p" in the code.  It just had the names.  So .body, .calibre, .calibre1, etc.  Still, you should see something with "text-indent" here if the CSS was created for your paragraph style.

 

In your chapter, it will look like this:

 

<p class="CLASSNAME">Content of first paragraph in your chapter.</p>

 

(If your CSS has no class name specified, your code will just start with <p>.)

 

Basically, you are first making sure that you actually have the code in your CSS defined.  It is likely you have two CSS files if you used Calibre.  But if you have it in there, then you need to make sure that your actual story knows to look for it.  If your normal paragraphs aren't commanded via code to look at the CSS, then your problem is there.

 

Also, if you indented using paragraph styles, then the converter probably caught onto that and turned it into code.  If you made a custom style, but didn't actually define it by saving it to the document, then maybe the code was attached to the body itself.  In which case, you'll have a string of code after your <p> tag, but won't have "class" in there.

 

You should probably use CSS if there is no CSS available.  I am not entirely sure of why myself, but when I was out and about looking at ebook formats, I discovered that certain software/readers would ignore a lot of code in the body of a novel, and so it was good to have a CSS reference as a back-up to account for those instances.  Maybe that is what happened here.  There is no stylesheeet, and the epub wants one, but the mobi didn't care because it could read what was in the body of your novel.  (When I say "body," I mean in code terms.  Anything that is between the opening and closing <body> tags is your novel.)  Maybe the block paragraphs are the default of whatever software you are using, and the software is overriding the code in the body.  CSS would be the only way to get around that.

 

You can fix it manually.  This can get tricky, because after you code, you rezip the package a specific way, then turn that .zip file back into an .epub file before making sure it still passes the validator.  There can be problems, depending on the OS and the method used.  Simply renaming the .zip to .epub can toss up errors in ereading software if you have a specific OS.  But you'll have to look that up.  It's good to know where the problem lies though.  If you insist on using your word processor to fix it, then make sure your styles are saved to the document (they should show up as a style to select).  That should at least force the code into your .css.

 

Additionally, and this is just pure speculation on the other issue with .mobis - but is it possible that Amazon is looking for Calibre as a contributor and just rejecting the files?   Anytime software is used to convert, the software name tends to get added into the meta somewhere as a contributor.  Has anyone checked code between the working .mobis and non-working .mobis?


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#12 Jennie

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Posted 13 November 2013 - 08:36 PM

Thanks K :)

 

I probably should have updated this a while ago, but I discovered that if I took the .mobi file that had indented correctly and then converted it BACK into epub, it worked like magic and all of the paragraphs were suddenly correct.

 

I have no idea why. Maybe when I ran the conversion, calibre was like, "Oh, this is already an epub so I'll just ignore it!" Anyway, thought that might help.


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#13 K_Claremont

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 05:04 PM

I am not familiar with how to crack open a .mobi and code it from scratch (I upload zipped HTML to Amazon, which is basically an .epub anyway).  I just did some searching, and it looks like .mobi, at least at some point in the past, did/does not use CSS.  So it probably enjoyed your CSS-less file, and maybe Calibre knew this about .mobi and accounted for it when making your .epub.


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#14 Mark Friedlander

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 07:12 PM

We recently tried to upload a file to Amazon's KDP with a mobi file and they no longer accepted it. 

I have to admit that when I read this, it seemed clear that AQCrew was navigating the same self-pubbed waters as some of us mere mortals. I also have to admit I became curious as to which books AQCrew had published but like Jim Croce sang, "You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger."

 

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