Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Sigil, Calibre, and Jutoh, part of Ebook Foundations.
- [Instructor] I think whenever you're talking about creating e-books, you have to pay some attention to at least some of the more popular e-book creation programs that are out there other than the big InDesign and QuarkXPress, those kind of things and I've seen them come and go and some have been abandoned and then picked up by other developers but three that have stood the test of time and that I've heard e-book developers talk about a lot of the ones that I want to look at in this video. First we have Calibre and yes, that's how it's pronounced, it's not Caliber, it even if it has a post here about it's pronounced Calibre and why.
The second one I want to talk about is Sigil which has been around since I believe 2009 and then the third one is called Jutoh, Jutoh. Just say Jutoh and what's interesting about all three of these is that they were all initially developed by people who just had a passion for e-books and they wanted something simple to open them and edit them and there was nothing there on the market. Let's look at all three in turn and again, this is just a brief overview. There could probably be an entire title here in the online training library about each one of these.
Calibre says it's the one-stop solution to all of your e-book needs and if you go to download you'll see it's available on just about any kind of platform out there. Calibre is free and its main thing that it does, let me jump over to it where I have it loaded is that I collects all of the e-books on your computer into one library. That's mainly what it is is that it's an e-book management program. It's not really an e-book creation program and I hear a lot of confusion among users on e-book forums about this because with Calibre you are able to edit an EPUB that you open but it's not really for uploading to a reseller, it's just for your own enjoyment.
If you don't like the title, you don't like the cover, you can edit it here. And it does have a built-in e-reader, so could double click this one, EnglishCottageGardens and it opens up in an e-book viewer and I can move from page to page and do all sorts of fun stuff to the cover and so on. I'm just clicking the next page and previous page though I don't know that many people who use Calibre to read e-books. Again, it has some facilities to just scan your entire hard drive and collect all the e-books that it finds into this library and it can also go to get books and it can search for e-books that are on the internet on all of these different sites if you wanted it to.
Another useful thing though that it does for e-book developers is that it does convert books, so it can convert books from EPUB to a mobi file for example, so if you have an EPUB e-book and you want to read it on your Kindle, Calibre can do that for you but it is not for converting to mobi to upload to the Kindle store. Kindle in their publisher guidelines specifically says only use Kindle Gen and Kindle Previewer which we looked at in a previous chapter.
Let's take a look at Sigil. Now, Sigil, in one of my first courses on InDesign to EPUB here in the online training library I use Sigil a lot and then I stopped using it and people asked me why and I said because the developers stopped developing it and we had moved onto EPUB 3 and Sigil was still EPUB 2. In fact by default it is set to EPUB 2 so if you install Sigil and I do recommend that you install it because it's been picked up and kept up to date once again by volunteer developers, again like Calibre it's a free program, anyway go to Sigil, go to Preferences and make sure that's crete new or empty EPUBs is set to version three by default.
Sigil lets you create an EPUB from scratch. As you can see I can just start typing if I wanted to and it has some weird styles here but on the left in the book browser panel it's showing me all the contents of the EPUB as though I had cracked it open. You can also force it go through your document looking for headlines and create a table of contents and if you want, you can start your manuscript in Word, save it out as a filtered HTML file as I showed in a previous video and then copy and paste it into Sigil.
There are formatting commands going across the top and then there are really useful commands up here to insert a link to add an ID around an object, to insert special characters, bring in images and split the document into chapters. It even has a built-in validity checker so if you want to make sure that your EPUB is valid before saving it out to EPUB, you can do so from Sigil. It's a really cool program and the last one I want to look at is I think the progenitor of all of these.
This is called Jutoh and it has been around for a while. It is created by Dr. Julian Smart who's based in Edinburgh and he's still very much involved with this. Let me show you the website. So, Jutoh is here at jutoh.com and I'll have all these links in the PDF resources. Digital publishing for everyone. It's available on lots of different platforms. Now, unlike Calibre and Sigil, Jutoh costs $39 US but it is well worth it. You only have to buy it once and then you get free updates and it has such a huge list of features that I just went to his online manual.
He offers the manual of course as EPUB, mobi and PPF but also online as an HTML file and look at all these things that you can do under editing and formatting content, pictures, bookmarks, links, footnotes, comments using styles, drop caps, heading, editing the metadata, creating your cover design and then you can essentially create one configuration and then tweak it to export one that's primed for the Kobo publishing guidelines to export an EPUB that's primed for the Kindle conversion so that you don't have to keep having separate stand-alone files for each one.
It's pretty cool that way. Now, both Sigil and Calibre have wonderful support forums. If you go to mobileread.com and click forums, and I've talked about this before in my other EPUB titles, this is one of the best places to go if you're working with e-books or creating them yourself and scroll down here and you can see that Calibre has a huge and very busy forum. Again, this is mostly about people trying to manage their e-books, not create them but this is also home to Sigil, this is where you can get support from other Sigil users.
If you're working with e-books, it behooves you to install one, two or all three of these programs because you'll find them useful in many ways.
- Finding, downloading, and reading free ebooks
- Choosing the right format for your ebook
- Building reflowable EPUBs and fixed-layout EPUBs
- Using tools like Word, Sigil, calibre, Jutoh, Pages, PubCoder, and InDesign
- Adding animation and interactivity such as clickable buttons
- Creating ebooks for the Kindle
- Learning the pros and cons of PDF ebooks
- Creating reflowable and multitouch ebooks with iBooks Author