html for ebooks

I’m starting to get really frustrated with Calibre, so I thought I’d look up how to format an ebook in HTML. This looks dead easy. And Mobipocket has free HTML-Mobipocket conversion tools; it looks like you can do epub conversion just by editing the HTML file.

Has anyone tried digging into this stuff? Honestly, I feel like an idiot for messing around with Calibre to convert from Word and LaTeX when it seems like it should be easy to create a clean HTML version of a book and go from there. I guess the Mobipocket conversion is probably the most important for most people, so if that tool can’t even do good work with clean HTML, maybe Calibre is still the best free tool for the job. I suppose I should try this out in my copious free time. (It also makes me think that maybe I should do my writing in HTML rather than LaTeX. I bet converting HTML to Word is enormously easier than LaTeX to Word. Plus no compiling. Hmm.)


8 thoughts on “html for ebooks

  1. I’m tackling this issue now. I’ve decided that the beat approach is to learn adobe InDesign so as to code them perfectly from the page up. It requires an initial 10 hr investment on, but then I should be good to go.

    • Hmm. I’m not even a little bit familiar with InDesign, but judging from the link, it looks like it should be pretty easy to hand-code a book, at least if you’re sparing with italics. So it seems like InDesign might be overkill. But, as I said, I haven’t actually tried my hand at this, so maybe it’s harder than I give it credit for.

      • No, I think you’re right. It’s overkill. But I want my books to appear as absolutely professional as I can make them, and I’m tired of hand-coding. So I’ve decided to err on the side of overkill.

  2. Overkill indeed! Write the book and do all the editing and proofreading in Microsoft Word, ‘Save as’ web page. Open Mobipocket import the web page file into a new publication add the title and click ‘Build’. I have the process down to a few minutes and if you’e done the inital work properly you are ready to publish an e-book in Kindle for example.

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