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Old 01-29-2022, 08:26 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 480
Default Epub frustration

I have now self-published four books, with three of them having digital versions in addition to the printed versions. For the digital versions, I relied on the built-in conversion on the Amazon KDP web site to generate the Kindle version, and I relied on the built-in converter on the Barnes and Noble Press web site to generate the EPUB version. The digital versions are ... okay, but they're not great looking e-books, and I would very much like to up my game.

The problem is that I don't know what I'm doing. The EPUB file format is basically HTML, and I can't even spell HTML. Delving into a file and trying to add some formatting (such as drop caps, and/or small caps) is waaaaay beyond my capabilities.

I have tried EPUB utilities built into LibreOffice Writer, Softmaker Textmaker, a stand-along EPUB converter from Microsoft, and (finally) importing the Word manuscript into Apple Pages (the free on-line version) and then saving it as an EPUB. The Microsoft converter is too horrible for words. Both LibreOffice and SoftMaker Office have issues -- one loses boldface type but retains italics, the other loses italics but retains boldface, and a couple of other glitches.

And then there's Pages. I only just experimented with that a couple of days ago, and initially I was ecstatic. After saving the file as an EPUB, it automatically opened the file in some app called E-Book Reader, and it looked GREAT! I thought I had found the solution.

And then I opened the same file in:
  • Calibre
  • Cool Reader
  • Sumatra Reader
  • Nook Reader
And, of course, the exact same file displayed differently in every one of them. And I don't know what the E-Book Reader app was that the file initially opened in -- it doesn't seem to be on my computer, and yet it wasn't running in a browser window.

I'm totally baffled. Why do all these EPUB readers display the same file differently? How can I get a clean EPUB file that will display nicely on Nooks and other EPUB reading devices?
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