Poetry formatting in epubs

Is there any way to preserve indentation and other special spacing used in poetry when making an EPUB?  I'm pretty sure that you can't, based on the eBook Creator Guide, but I thought I would ask to make sure.

 

Or could you save it as a .jpg and put it in the EPUB that way?  I think I just answered my own question, but I wouldn't mind confirmation on it!

Comments

  • Hello Mona,

    If you insert all your poetry as JPEGs your text will not be clear.

    Yes, you can use indents moderately in poetry ebooks, say, a slight indent in second line of poem. But unless they're absolutely necessary for the poem, keep all your text left justified. In this way your lines won't be broken if someone uses a larger font or page view.

  • Hello. I am currently formatting a poety book for epub, and I have the same query. However I am not sure I understand your answer. Could you please clarify? In the print version, I would hard return for each new line of the poem. How am I to do this for epub? Do all the lines run into one? Many thanks for your help.

  • Hi Maggie

     

    I've formatted my poetry book centre-justified as I like to build visual cues into the text blocks plus I prefer the more balanced way it looks on the page. Having read the epub creator guide and your comments, however, it seems clear that that is a luxury I will have to reserve for the hard copy.

     

    To be clear then, the only real formatting options I have are with regard to the use of styles. As an example, Title page would be Header 1, Introduction, Acknowledgements etc would be Header 2 and the title of each poem header 3 (which would then automatically become the Table of Contents). 

     

    How, though, if hard returns are removed, do I preserve verse-structure? And also, I don't have Word - can I use Pages as long as I convert to a .ODT or .RTF file before uploading?

     

    Hope that's not too many questions ...:-/ 

  • I've formatted my poetry book centre-justified as I like to build visual cues into the text blocks plus I prefer the more balanced way it looks on the page.

    Having read the epub creator guide and your comments, however, it seems clear that that is a luxury I will have to reserve for the hard copy.

     

    All Justification types can be used for ePubs. For chapter headings etc., I use Centre Justified. For Bodytext I use full Justify (edge to margin edge.)

     

    To be clear then, the only real formatting options I have are with regard to the use of styles.

     

    Those are Styles  Smiley Happy Styles are just preset options you can adjust to apply when required, although you can do such things manually every time you need to, Styles save time..

     

    As an example, Title page would be Header 1, Introduction, Acknowledgements etc would be Header 2 and the title of each poem header 3 (which would then automatically become the Table of Contents). 

     

    No, not for an ePub, because Lulu's Wizard uses three specific Styles to create a TOC from, but not in the way you think. Heading Style1 is the main one to use. HS 2 is for a sub-TOC for HS 1 and HS 3 is for a sub-TOC for HS 2, then HS 1 has to be used again. For a basic TOC only use HS 1.

    Don't mix those up with Headers and Footers, which ePubs do not have.

     

    How, though, if hard returns are removed,

     

    They are not. They are simply carriage returns (enter) and writing would be a mess if they were removed. What is removed is extra spacing between paragraphs, and never use many of them to create a new page. HS 1 sort of also creates that.

     

    do I preserve verse-structure?

     

    Most normal formatting is maintained. First-line indent for example.

     

    And also, I don't have Word - can I use Pages as long as I convert to a .ODT or .RTF file before uploading?

     

    What are you using? Does it have Heading styles?

  • Ah, right, you are using Mac Pages. Silly me. Unless it has, and you can keep Heading styles, it may not work. Does ODT and RTF keep them tagged in a way that the Wizard will know it's supposed to be the TOC?

     

    This may help >>   http://connect.lulu.com/t5/eBook-Formatting-Publishing/EPUB-Conversion-Supported-File-Types/ta-p/206709

     

    As that suggests, it would be best to get MS Word, but even then there are people come on here who say they have trouble with Word for Mac files in Lulu's Wizards.

  • What is removed is extra spacing between paragraphs, and never use many of them to create a new page. HS 1 sort of also creates that.

     

    See, that, right there, is the problem, because in poetry, each verse is single-spaced separated by a blank .line.

     

    If a) extra spaces are removed, than all the verses merge into one, and b), if each carriage return is treated like a new paragragh, then there will be blank lines between each line of the poem.

     

    ... In either case, the poem's structural integrity is broken.

     

    Also, as is standard in printed verse, when a line of poetry exceeds the width of the page, the overflowing line is given a hanging indent.

     

    Is there anyway for Lulu's epub converter to handle these formats (which have been standard in English language poetry for centuries)?

     

    Are any of the poetry books for sale on Lulu available in epub format, or are they all PDF?  Because if they're all PDF, I may as well not bother with conversion (I need my book to be accessible to those who use screen readers for the blind).

  • Preserving formatting is a challenge when the file is designed to be viewed on a wide range of devices. The epub formatting isn't something built into our system, its just the way epubs are coded in general. And unlike a print book, the structure for a reflowable epub has to be fluid.

    For example: you can use a single hard return to create a line of space, but the indent for an overflow line wont work because the eReader can adjust font size and screen size, so what appears as a single line on one screen, may fill two lines on another. This is just the nature of epub files.

    There is a bit you can do with justification and soft returns to control the line structure to some degree. It is unlikely that you would be able to retain the exact formatting your print book uses, but as this is a different format, there has to be some allowances.

    You can find a variety of successful epub poetry books on our site (https://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/books/poetry/cUS_LULU_BOOKS-cUS_LULU_BOOKS_POETRY-p1.html). Sadly, I don't see any FREE ones jumping out that I can point you too as a good example.
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