Mac20Q Podcast 90 Creating eBooks for the iPad

Seeing as the iPad is out I thought it would be a good time to check out some methods of creating Epub ebooks. Firstly because it could be another way to get the Mac20Q Web & podcast out to the fans. Lots of different folks out there so lots of different preferred ways of getting the digital content on the digital door step.

I am still pondering on the usefulness of the e book, Could see a case for it on a device like the iPad or other ebook reader. The schools market is going to get a big shake up thats for sure. Would not see a use on a desktop or a laptop – We open up web pages if we want to get information that way

Or theres the PDF – except that the PDF format from Adobe is not always that safe to use – so some people would decline to open such a file. That is those people that don’t want to leave themselves open to what Bart Buschotts would call Arbitrary code execution on the computer

The ebook readers & creators I have looked at on the OSX platform so far leave me totally cold as far as the reading experience is concerned. I tried out Stanza, Calibre & Sigil & had a look at Indesign also. Some apps are more readers & organisers of e books than creation tools.

Looking in Calibre it seems that it should be able to send an e book to the iPhone but I have not managed to make it do so yet. I thought it Could be that I would have to have the iPhone USB tethered where I am expecting it to work like Stanza, In which you click on share & then you get to opportunity to download the ebook in the iPhone app via wifi.

I was able to download the UK Guardian News paper into Calibre & then I open it in Stanza to push to the mobile device. Not a good reading experience for the Guardian ebook on the iPhone though, There is a poor quality image of the front page & then pages which have a header with a link & a short part of the story below that.

When you get it in the iPhone in Stanza – you can’t click on any link because the whole screen is taken over by controls of the book, Left side to go back, Right to go forward & the centre is for getting to the interface of the app. So none of the links will take you anywhere – When reading it in the Calibre reader the links do work, & take you to the Guardian web site. This example helps to make the case I think for Newspapers & Magazines to have an app rather than ebook distribution for E readers

There is quite a variety in terms of quality interface & feature sets in the ebook apps I looked at. Stanza is a reader & convertor which also has an app to sync with on the mobile device it isn’t at all a creator of epub books & it recommends using Calibre for creation of the e books.


Calibre is more full featured but confusing at first look because of having such an ugly interface
Obviously started life as an open source or Windows program, It fell out of top of the ugly tree & hit every branch on the way down.

Sigil is more of the creation tool & is pretty enough. Still needs work in terms of ease of use but does the job of creating the epub format e books. All you need to do is to drop in some text & images & the job is nearly done