ebook, problems with Pages app and more

I’ve just made my second attempt at publishing an ebook, the second volume of a quartet that I am writing, using Mac Pages app.

 

For the first attempt I used Pages 5.6.2, the current version but one for 2017 for my 2009 iMac.

This version of Pages produces a version 3 epub doc. I got this warning:

 

WARNING: Validating the EPUB against version 2.0 but detected version 3.0. in OPS/epb.opf

Contrarily, the error response said:

• Did not pass epubcheck-3.0.1 validation. (the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble)

 

I had assumed that an epub V 3 was needed but then wrongly assumed that maybe it should be version 2. I then went back to Pages 9 and produced a version 2 epub doc, which of course was rejected:

 

  • Did not pass epubcheck-3.0.1 validation. (the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble)

 

So by this stage I realised that the pub should unquestionably be V 3. Duh.

 

Both versions btw worked in iBooks. But I realise that they have to comply with other vendor requirements, i.e. Barnes and Noble, Amazon etc.

 

I refuse to use Word to produce this ebook, as Hugh Howie, author of the Dust series says, it’s bloatware with a mind of its own.

A previous attempt at using Word to produce the first volume ebook of the quartet 5 years ago resulted in a dozen rejections at which point I abandoned Word, put the story into Pages 9 and the resultant epub was immediately accepted by Lulu at that time.

 

I am about to attempt to make this book in Sigil which involves some HTML, I do have some experience with HTML, a bit rusty since my last experience was in my Masters in Digital Media degree 17 years ago, but will give it a go. I have to say at this point that I think I could produce a better looking ebook using HTML for a web page than the current epub standard allows in ebook production.

 

Look and feel.

I did a quick survey of ebooks to see how the publishers have handled layout and there is an awful lot of fudging involved just to get a minimal layout that doesn’t look like a dogs breakfast (this is nothing like the certainties of print production). One might as well be using a ticker-tape machine to publish a book.

 

This has all taken many hours of work.

 

 

I have produced the print version of this book in InDesign CS5 which has been accepted by Lulu, many thanks, and I may attempt, if all else fails, to produce the ePub in InDesign, this will again involve hours of layout adjustment (trial and error) to prep the book for ePub production.

 

Comments

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I use Word 97 (on Ubuntu) for print formatting. Then I distill the file.

     

    I use Open Office or Libre Office Writer for Epub formatting and upload in Word 97 format.

     

    I typically don't have issues.

     

    Best of luck.


    Crowdpleaser wrote:

    I’ve just made my second attempt at publishing an ebook, the second volume of a quartet that I am writing, using Mac Pages app.

     

    For the first attempt I used Pages 5.6.2, the current version but one for 2017 for my 2009 iMac.

    This version of Pages produces a version 3 epub doc. I got this warning:

     

    WARNING: Validating the EPUB against version 2.0 but detected version 3.0. in OPS/epb.opf

    Contrarily, the error response said:

    • Did not pass epubcheck-3.0.1 validation. (the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble)

     

    I had assumed that an epub V 3 was needed but then wrongly assumed that maybe it should be version 2. I then went back to Pages 9 and produced a version 2 epub doc, which of course was rejected:

     

      • Did not pass epubcheck-3.0.1 validation. (the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble)

     

    So by this stage I realised that the pub should unquestionably be V 3. Duh.

     

    Both versions btw worked in iBooks. But I realise that they have to comply with other vendor requirements, i.e. Barnes and Noble, Amazon etc.

     

    I refuse to use Word to produce this ebook, as Hugh Howie, author of the Dust series says, it’s bloatware with a mind of its own.

    A previous attempt at using Word to produce the first volume ebook of the quartet 5 years ago resulted in a dozen rejections at which point I abandoned Word, put the story into Pages 9 and the resultant epub was immediately accepted by Lulu at that time.

     

    I am about to attempt to make this book in Sigil which involves some HTML, I do have some experience with HTML, a bit rusty since my last experience was in my Masters in Digital Media degree 17 years ago, but will give it a go. I have to say at this point that I think I could produce a better looking ebook using HTML for a web page than the current epub standard allows in ebook production.

     

    Look and feel.

    I did a quick survey of ebooks to see how the publishers have handled layout and there is an awful lot of fudging involved just to get a minimal layout that doesn’t look like a dogs breakfast (this is nothing like the certainties of print production). One might as well be using a ticker-tape machine to publish a book.

     

    This has all taken many hours of work.

     

     

    I have produced the print version of this book in InDesign CS5 which has been accepted by Lulu, many thanks, and I may attempt, if all else fails, to produce the ePub in InDesign, this will again involve hours of layout adjustment (trial and error) to prep the book for ePub production.

     


     

  • TY SphinxCameron,

     

    I'm pretty much comitted to Mac and have no wish to get into a new OS or the cloud.

     

    Converting to Word 97 sounds interesting.

     

    Thanks for the reply.

     

    Barrie

  • Long time Mac user. You could use LibreOffice (it's free) and upload its native ODT file. I've used it for all my ebooks. I see the suggestion for using Libre or Open Office and then saving as a Word doc, but I never quite undersood the logic behind that, it's unnecessary, at least for a text only book (and when has MS ever been friendly to the Mac platform?)  For Kindle, I import the ODT to Calibre to create an EPUB.

     

    Whichever method you choose, good luck.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Some people have had issues uploading odt format for conversion to Epub.

     

    As for MS, there aren't many programs for that platform that I still use, apart from Word 97 and an antique flavor of Distiller.


    HJ_Peterson wrote:

    Long time Mac user. You could use LibreOffice (it's free) and upload its native ODT file. I've used it for all my ebooks. I see the suggestion for using Libre or Open Office and then saving as a Word doc, but I never quite undersood the logic behind that, it's unnecessary, at least for a text only book (and when has MS ever been friendly to the Mac platform?)  For Kindle, I import the ODT to Calibre to create an EPUB.

     

    Whichever method you choose, good luck.


     

  • If you're committed to avoiding Word (which I respect and largely agree with) the best option is using Libre Office to make an ODT file with the right Heading styles for our epub tool.

    Your epub may well be functional, but our check runs against all retailer requirements, and there are some issues with validating an epub that should work. It's a combination of our converter being old (we're developing a new one) and the range of retail requirements we check against.

    You could continue to fiddle with the epub and eventually, it is likely you'll get it accepted, but using an ODT file is quicker and easier.
  • Thank you Paul, thats great advice, I'll try Libre Office and investigate the ODT format.

     

    I've done a bit of research to see what other retailers are doing and what they offer, quite a range out there, but am unlikely to abandon Lulu, you've been good so far.

    There are lists on Apple's website:

    https://itunespartner.apple.com/en/books/partnersearch 

    and on Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_self-publishing_companies 

    but a lot of them are fairly specialised and don't offer a full range of services.

     

    Good to hear that you are developing a new converter/validator, I still have 2 volumes to go with my quartet so hopefully will get to use the new one.

    I also think eReaders and the ePub standard need a radical update.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie

     

  • Hi Paul,

     

    I've downloaded LibreOffice and after a bit of a struggle with verification etc managed to get it working.

     

    You suggest creating a ODT file to make my epub.

    Does Lulu's epub verifyer accept ODT files?

     

    Barrie

  • It should. If you see an error uploading the ODT, let us know!
  • Hello Paul and others.

     

    OK so Iv'e downloaded LibreOffice and worked up my ebook in that software as suggested.

    Then created an odt file and uploaded it to Lulu.

     

    Initially the ODT file for my ePub has been passed by Lulu.

    However, after checking I found 3 problems.

     

    1. The cover doesn't appear in the thumbnail view in iBooks, how do I designate or define my cover image in LibreOffice as the cover for the ePub? 

    It does appear WITHIN the ePub however.

     

    2. When the ODT file is passed by Lulu and the TOC is displayed there is a 'chapter' at the top of the TOC list that doesn't exist, entitled 'untitled', the text is blue whereas the TOC text is the normal black and the rest of the chapter headings are OK. 

    I've searched for and not found a 'untitled' with a TOC heading style

     

    3. Spaces seem to be largely ignored by the Lulu converter so that the front matter is all jammed up, blurb, copyright, title etc with very little space between them, spaces separating them in the ODT file have been removed.

  • Hey Crowdpleaser,

    I'll try to give some advice for each, but you might be at a point where you should contact our support team so they can look at the file in detail.

    1. This is definitely one to check with our support team on. iBooks should pull the cover directly from the epub, so it could simply be that they didn't grab the file when creating the listing. I think we usually just resend the files to correct this.

    2. "Untitled" appears if the title is not on the first line of the first page, set in Heading 1.

    3. When a document is converted to epub, all but one line spacing is removed from all instances where multiple line spaces are present. I'm not sure why, but I know it happens. This too might be something our support team can better advise you on.

    I hope that's helpful!
  • I've just made 3 more attempts to submit my ebook .ODT file.

     

    While the most recent .ODT file has been accepted by Lulu there are still problems, specifically with the cover and the TOC.

     

    The cover:

    Viewed in Adobe Digital Editions the cover is visible in Library view but shows only top left of cover image, the rest is missing. This truncated view of the cover is also what appears in opened book view.

    In iBooks the cover is missing in library view but appears in opened book view.

     

    As well, its hard to find any reference for how to scale or fit the cover image on the first page of the LibreOffice story document, I've simply scaled the image manually to the edges of the document page.

     

    The TOC:

    I still get a 'untitled' item at the top of the TOC.

    I did as suggested and made the first heading, for the blurb, on the first text page, the 'Heading 1' style.

    But when I click 'untitled' in the TOC the document jumps to the cover image in the story which suggests that there is a hidden text entry point/location on that page?

     

    Some notes re layout:

    I note that page breaks created in LibreOffice don't work to force a new page in ereaders like iBooks, so have removed them.

    Centring of text and graphic objects works.

    Control over fonts is minimal so if a sans font is needed for a title then its best to create a graphic for that text as I've done for dedication and main title. Graphic objects must be centred inline, which I've done.

    Using returns with a single space (ret+space character-repeat) multiple times works to create vertical space between front matter items like the blurb, copyright text, dedication etc. I've used this sparingly.

     

    Thanks for your attention and help Paul et al.

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Try saving the file for upload as a word doc, 97 to 2007 format.

     

    Default font to arial or something similar, as ereaders tend to allow the reader to change both font and font size.

     

    If you uploaded the cover as part of the doc file, this is likely the untitled item in the TOC. Cover images are uploaded at a different step in the project, separately from the doc file.

     

    The blurb does not need to be included as part of the upload file, as you can add that at the end of the project.

     

    With an epub, you don't need to have a lot of white/vertical space, as the converter will strip the excess out. You can use the heading style on title page, copyright page, dedication page, preface page, and so on.


    Crowdpleaser wrote:

    I've just made 3 more attempts to submit my ebook .ODT file.

     

    While the most recent .ODT file has been accepted by Lulu there are still problems, specifically with the cover and the TOC.

     

    The cover:

    Viewed in Adobe Digital Editions the cover is visible in Library view but shows only top left of cover image, the rest is missing. This truncated view of the cover is also what appears in opened book view.

    In iBooks the cover is missing in library view but appears in opened book view.

     

    As well, its hard to find any reference for how to scale or fit the cover image on the first page of the LibreOffice story document, I've simply scaled the image manually to the edges of the document page.

     

    The TOC:

    I still get a 'untitled' item at the top of the TOC.

    I did as suggested and made the first heading, for the blurb, on the first text page, the 'Heading 1' style.

    But when I click 'untitled' in the TOC the document jumps to the cover image in the story which suggests that there is a hidden text entry point/location on that page?

     

    Some notes re layout:

    I note that page breaks created in LibreOffice don't work to force a new page in ereaders like iBooks, so have removed them.

    Centring of text and graphic objects works.

    Control over fonts is minimal so if a sans font is needed for a title then its best to create a graphic for that text as I've done for dedication and main title. Graphic objects must be centred inline, which I've done.

    Using returns with a single space (ret+space character-repeat) multiple times works to create vertical space between front matter items like the blurb, copyright text, dedication etc. I've used this sparingly.

     

    Thanks for your attention and help Paul et al.


     

  • For the cover specifically, you won't need to include this in the epub we create at this point. Add the cover on the cover step, and once the ebook is published, they'll be properly associated. That should clear up all viewing problems on various ereader software.
  • Hi Paul,

     

    You suggested that I add my cover at the cover step, but this isn't allowed: 

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    Where to next?

     

    I don't want to use the Lulu cover creator as I have a cover design of my own.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie

  • Hi Paul,

     

    You suggested that I add my cover at the cover step, but this isn't allowed: 

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    Where to next?

     

    I don't want to use the Lulu cover creator as I have a cover design of my own.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie

  • Apologies Barrie, I misunderstood your aim with adding the cover.

    The size of an image for an ebook shouldn't exceed 500 x 500 pixels, so I would center the image on the page at that size.

    Unfortunately, you're going to keep running into the "untitled" error because the cover image is appearing before the H1 title text, and because you're using a word processor to set up the file, the epub converter is not recognizing the cover text as an H1.

    You can add H1 title text before the image on the first page, you can take the converted epub and edit it using Calibre (free epub design software) to add the cover and H1 correctly.

    For the actual marketing image cover, you can upload your own image, just select the thumbnail and use the 'browse' function to upload your image.
  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    One aspect of the Lulu Cover Creator is it allows you to upload a cover you already have.


    Crowdpleaser wrote:

    Hi Paul,

     

    You suggested that I add my cover at the cover step, but this isn't allowed: 

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    Where to next?

     

    I don't want to use the Lulu cover creator as I have a cover design of my own.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie


     

  • No it doesn't.

     

    The text quoted from the cover creator stage clearly states:

     

    "This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file."

     

    The full quote is as follows:

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    Funny, I uploaded my cover. My cover is part of the Epub without my having inserted it in the doc I uploaded.

     

    I just did a test run with a previous release, no issues. The cover image in question is the one I also used on the print version.

     

    I've downloaded the epub in question (both as epub and the mobi version I did on KDP), loaded it into Calibre, and the cover shows up.

     

    I must be doing something wrong.

     

    Screenshot from 2017-10-25 19-30-12.png

    Screenshot from 2017-10-25 19-30-59.png


    Crowdpleaser wrote:

    No it doesn't.

     

    The text quoted from the cover creator stage clearly states:

     

    "This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file."

     

    The full quote is as follows:

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    Cheers

    Barrie


     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I looked at my example epub using Calibre.

     

    Consider, a customer buys and downloads your book.

     

    They get the cover (marketing) image, metadata file, and the epub file. Think of it similarly to HTML acting like a zip file.

     

    The cover isn't pasted into the epub file, just like the cover isn't part of the interior in a print book.

     

    The cuatomer loads your book on their device or imports it into their reader. When the customer looks at your title, they see the cover first. They open the file, they see the print.

     

    Technically the cover creator is correct in saying it doesn't place the cover inside the text part of the book, but the image does go with the book when someone buys and downloads it.

     

    Otherwise a miracle has occurred on my computer, my almost-4-y-o's Kindle Fire, my Wife's cell, and elsewhere.


  • SphinxCameron wrote:

    I looked at my example epub using Calibre.

     

    Consider, a customer buys and downloads your book.

     

    They get the cover (marketing) image, metadata file, and the epub file. Think of it similarly to HTML acting like a zip file.

     

    The cover isn't pasted into the epub file, just like the cover isn't part of the interior in a print book.

     

    The cuatomer loads your book on their device or imports it into their reader. When the customer looks at your title, they see the cover first. They open the file, they see the print.

     

    Technically the cover creator is correct in saying it doesn't place the cover inside the text part of the book, but the image does go with the book when someone buys and downloads it.

     

    Otherwise a miracle has occurred on my computer, my almost-4-y-o's Kindle Fire, my Wife's cell, and elsewhere.


    This is exactly right. The cover is associated with the final EPUB file, but does not appear on the "first page" once the EPUB is opened for reading. Much in the same way the cover isn't printed on the interior pages of a print book. 

  • Q. How do I associate my cover with the text part of my epub document.

     

    The story so far.

     

    I decided to upload a text only epub file to test the suggestion that my cover would be created and added later.

     

    After I’d successfully uploaded my text only file to Lulu and downloaded and checked it the next step was to create my marketing image. (At this point, with no associated cover image on the first page of my doc the ‘untitled’ toc entry didn’t appear)

     

    However, when I got to the marketing image page on Lulu’s site there is no option to upload my own cover image.

    Instead, when I click the (?) next to the text 'Design Your Marketing Image' the following message appears,

     

    Quote:

     

    Create a thumbnail image to market your book. This image is displayed as the book cover on your product page and in search and browse results. This image is used for marketing only, and will not be inserted into your eBook file. To include this image as the first page of your eBook, you must add it to your source document offline, then re-upload and replace your source file for this project.

     

    End of Quote.

    Please note esp the bold text above.

     

    And yet, previously, when I have included my own-designed cover image on the first page of the file that I upload I get the ‘untitled’ toc entry/cover image conflict (the inclusion of my cover image in the file generates the ‘untitled’ toc entry).

     

    At this point I’ve been using, as suggested by Paul, LibreOffice to create my epub document.

     

    Catch 22?

     

  • SphinxCameronSphinxCameron Southern Escarpment Hill Country ✭✭

    I believe Paul suggested you open a support ticket a while back.

     

    If there is something wrong with your computer that prevents the system from doing what it does for others, it's not our issue.

  • Dear Sphinx,

     

    There is nothing wrong with my computer or software.

    I hold a Masters Degree in digital media (WSU) and have 2 years training in writing at a well know writer's workshop (Varuna in the Blue Mountains, NSW Australia)

    I think I'd know if there is anything wrong with my setup.

     

    I am not blaming Lulu for anything.

     

    I'm just trying to solve a problem.

    And you are right, I should open a support ticket.

     

    BTW I've just created a marketing image for my book and finished the process of publishing the ebook on Lulu, however, this doesn't result in the ebook itself aquiring a cover that shows up in the Library view of iBooks, I just see a generic cover with title and author.

    I will probably have to delete this as I need to see the ebook with its original cover, the one I designed, in the iBooks library view.

     

    Please feel free to comment,

    Cheers

    Barrie

Sign In or Register to comment.