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Richard S

Question: How Best to Create ePub / Kindle from Publisher?

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I've created a booklet using Publisher 1.7.1 by assembling text from several sources direct into Publisher, and then tweaking the result. So the text in Publisher is now the only "master."

I now want also to create a Kindle version, with flowing text. I have PagePlus X9, Sigil, Libre Office, and various Amazon tools. If possible, I do not want to install / buy yet more software.

Recently, I've published other books from PagePlus X9 in flowing ePub3, then used Amazon's tools to convert into Kindle formats. This has worked well: Amazon has reported no problems.

Questions:

  1. What is the best way to convert a Publisher document into a flowing Kindle eBook?
  2. What is the best way to extract the story text from a Publisher document, for use elsewhere?
  3. Do I really have to recreate this document in PagePlus X9 (or another program) before exporting it as a flowing ePub?
  4. Are there other tools which would make any of this easier?

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Probably best to collect text to a text file (Word, Libre or Sigil) and use dedicated tool to produce epub and KPF. Sigil, Jutoh, PPX9 (I have heard), Kindle's own tool.

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3 hours ago, Fixx said:

Probably best to collect text to a text file (Word, Libre or Sigil) and use dedicated tool to produce epub and KPF. Sigil, Jutoh, PPX9 (I have heard), Kindle's own tool.

Thanks. Obviously, Publisher has only recently been released, but I wonder anyone has experience of using it to produce the same publication in both printed and ePub / Kindle formats?

Do I really have to rebuild the document from scratch, for each different format?

While using Publisher to format the printed version, I needed to tweak the text so it fitted the physical space available on particular pages. That's one reason why the text in Publisher is different to its original sources. But as far as I can see, the only way to extract text from Publisher at present is via copy / paste?

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6 hours ago, Richard S said:

But as far as I can see, the only way to extract text from Publisher at present is via copy / paste?

You could export a PDF, and use one of the free tools that will convert PDF to ePub or Kindle formats, such as Calibre.

I know you said you don't want additional software, but if you're working in Publisher I think you have no choice.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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7 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

You could export a PDF, and use one of the free tools that will convert PDF to ePub or Kindle formats, such as Calibre.

I know you said you don't want additional software, but if you're working in Publisher I think you have no choice.

Thanks. But we are told that PDFs often do not convert into "clean" code in ePubs. In this respect, is one of the PDF formats less likely to give problems?

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2 hours ago, Richard S said:

In this respect, is one of the PDF formats less likely to give problems?

Sorry, I don't have enough experience in that area to say. If no one here knows, and you investigate that approach further, you might check with the developers of whatever tool you are considering to get their advice on that.


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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59 minutes ago, walt.farrell said:

Sorry, I don't have enough experience in that area to say. If no one here knows, and you investigate that approach further, you might check with the developers of whatever tool you are considering to get their advice on that.

Thanks again. It looks as if I'll have to use tedious repeated copy / paste to extract my text from Publisher, and then rebuild the document from scratch using a different tool. Disappointing.

Perhaps there's a reason why the example in Affinity's tutorial videos is just a glossy leaflet advertising a car?

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55 minutes ago, Richard S said:

It looks as if I'll have to use tedious repeated copy / paste to extract my text from Publisher, and then rebuild the document from scratch using a different tool. Disappointing.

Perhaps there's a reason why the example in Affinity's tutorial videos is just a glossy leaflet advertising a car?

Personally, I would start by trying some PDF conversions using Calibre. If it works for you it's much simpler.

Publisher is intended for PDF and Print output when considering publications. The Publisher Feature List makes that quite clear:

Quote

Export

  • PDF
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • GIF
  • TIFF
  • Adobe® Photoshop® PSD
  • SVG
  • EPS
  • EXR (Open EXR)
  • HDR (Radiance)

PDF and PDF/X compatible

  • Save designs as PDF for sharing
  • Edit and save PDFs for round-trip app compatibility

Desktop Printing/Save as PDF

  • Tiled
  • N-up (ganged)
  • Book printing
  • Booklet printing

Professional Printing

  • Full CMYK handling and ICC profiles
  • Spot colors
  • Overprint controls
  • Trim, bleed and crop marks
  • Bleed preview with bleed setup directly from new document
  • K-only grayscale images on CMYK output
  • Create CMYK PDF/X files for pro printing
  • Compatible with PDF/X-1a, PDF/X-3, and PDF/X-4

 


-- Walt

Windows 10 Home, version 2004 (19041.388),
   Desktop: 16GB memory, Intel Core i7-6700K @ 4.00GHz, GeForce GTX 970
   Laptop:  8GB memory, Intel Core i7-3625QM @ 2.30GHz, Intel HD Graphics 4000 or NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
Affinity Photo 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta   / Affinity Designer 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.734 Beta  / Affinity Publisher 1.8.5.703 and 1.9.0.742 Beta.

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3 hours ago, walt.farrell said:

Personally, I would start by trying some PDF conversions using Calibre. If it works for you it's much simpler.

Publisher is intended for PDF and Print output when considering publications. The Publisher Feature List makes that quite clear:

 

Thanks again. I had been hoping just to follow in other people's footsteps, but perhaps I'll have to investigate Calibre again myself. (I used it a few years ago, when it was rather different.)

Producing well-formatted eBooks is rather like the problem of producing webpages when all web browsers were different and worked to different standards: With the ePub output from PagePlus, I have used a code editor to inspect the output coding, line by line, in order to understand & overcome problems: A badly encoded eBook may well work OK with some eReaders & eReading software, but fail badly with others.

If I did use the PDF / Calibre route, I'd need to repeat that laborious line-by-line examination of the output encoding.

I realise that Publisher is currently aimed at people designing for glossy print publications. Elsewhere, you'll see the serious glitch I've reported with its PDF (for Web) output.

I am hoping gradually to replace my Serif PagePlus. Already I mostly use Affinity Photo instead of Serif PhotoPlus, although I'm not yet confident with some of the tools which greatly changed in version 1.7. I've not yet made friends with Affinity Designer: For a recent task, I had to revert to using a mixture of Serif DrawPlus and Inkscape... simply to change some text on SVG maps. Also, the PNG output seemed disappointing.

Perhaps partly because I'm writing about the history of a site spanning a couple of thousand years, I expect to reuse my old material in new projects, and to publish it in different ways: eg. Print, eBooks, audio files, websites, etc. etc. Much of the material for this current booklet, including the main diagram, is from the 1980s; extended and updated where necessary.

BTW. My initial attempts to copy / paste from Publisher did not go well: The pasted text had no spaces between paragraphs, so was hard to read. I also discovered that different parts of my booklet had slightly different paragraph styles, but that unlike in PagePlus, Publisher does not seem to provide an easy way to select all paragraphs which use a particular style so that they can all be changed to the correct style.

I have much still to learn.

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8 hours ago, Richard S said:

But we are told that PDFs often do not convert into "clean" code in ePubs. In this respect, is one of the PDF formats less likely to give problems?

Conversion is quite mechanical and includes usually page numbers and gaps in page breaks. Code quality may be good enough but probably needs some touch up.

Getting raw text out of PDF may have similar problems, line ends behave oddly etc.

57 minutes ago, Richard S said:

I realise that Publisher is currently aimed at people designing for glossy print publications

They do not have to be glossy...

59 minutes ago, Richard S said:

copy / paste from Publisher did not go well: The pasted text had no spaces between paragraphs,

Copy/paste to Word works quite well. No problems.

1 hour ago, Richard S said:

different parts of my booklet had slightly different paragraph styles

There is room for improvement. In InDesign you can just delete a style you think is unnecessary, and if it is used in layout ID asks to replace it with existing style.

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5 hours ago, Fixx said:

Conversion is quite mechanical and includes usually page numbers and gaps in page breaks. Code quality may be good enough but probably needs some touch up.

Getting raw text out of PDF may have similar problems, line ends behave oddly etc.

They do not have to be glossy...

Copy/paste to Word works quite well. No problems.

There is room for improvement. In InDesign you can just delete a style you think is unnecessary, and if it is used in layout ID asks to replace it with existing style.

Thanks, but I thought that car advert had always to be glossy...?  When I was looking for a car, many manufacturers offered their brochures as downloadable PDF files. But these were very frustrating to read: They were the PDF as sent to the printing company, sometimes even including crop marks etc. So were not designed for easy reading on a screen: I had to keep zooming in in order to read text, then scroll / pan looking for the next page. Many government leaflets suffer from the same problem: The downloadable PDF is designed for sending to the printer; not for easy reading on screen.  </rant>

For my type of booklets & books which have very simple formatting, it sounds as if it will be more sensible to:

  1. Extract the text from Publisher using copy / paste
  2. Clean up this text
  3. Keep this as the "master" copy
  4. Rebuild the booklet / book in other software which is able to export in ePub / Kindle formats

I hope that Affinity Publisher does have suitable features, one day.

BTW. Pasting the text into Libre Office Writer can also preserve spaced between paragraphs. However, I had wanted to remove all formatting initially, so that nothing was left lurking in the text. Previously I've has problems with "split styles" where the styling code tags change within words.

 

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Thanks everyone. I have now published a Kindle version as well as a printed version.

My method was roundabout and probably not ideal, but used the tools I'm familiar with. It also seems to produce cleaner ePub encoding:

  1. Prepared the printed version using Affinity Publisher, exported this as PDF-x1a, sent it to the online printing service: Printed version looks good. :)
  2. Tried copy/paste of text from Affinity Publisher and from Adobe Reader, but found that the resulting unformatted text needed too much work. :(
  3. Imported the PDF-x1a into Serif PagePlus X9, in "flow" mode. This resulted in a separate "story" for each page, and put each page number into a separate story.
  4. Used "Edit Story" in PagePlus X9 to export each text story as a separate RTF file. Then re-assembled these using LibreOffice to produce a clean .ODT master file.
  5. In PagePlus X9, created a new iPad mini document, inserted the .ODT text file. Inserted the images. Tweaked & cleaned the text and formatting.
  6. "Published" the document from PagePlus X9 as a Flowing ePub3, adding a hyperlinked ToC. Previewed this using MS Edge. Made changes, then repeated this...
  7. Uploaded the ePub3 to Amazon KDP, uploaded the cover image, previewed the converted result using Amazon's online previewer, also downloaded the converted .mobi file and checked this using Amazon's offline Kindle Previewer software.

The Amazon KDP service happily accepted the flowing ePub3 file created using PagePlus X9. I clicked the final "submit" button at about 10pm... by the early hours next morning, my new book was live for sale on Amazon Kindle. :)

I have also exported the final text using "edit story" in PagePlus X9 as an RTF file, to update my master text file in LibreOffice.

Serif PagePlus X9 can also publish documents as ePub2 or as .MOBI files, reliably. But I now prefer to use the newer features provided by Amazon's newer tools.

Obviously I would like Affinity Publisher (very soon) to provide:

A. Text export feature. Even just a basic feature; ideally something like PagePlus's "edit story" / WritePlus feature.

B. ePub export mode. For creating eBooks directly, or more likely in a format which is compatible with eBook creation services & programs.

BTW. I have much to learn about how to publicise & market Kindle eBooks. :(

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Hi @Richard S ,

I just discovered this thread.

It was a fine decision to avoid using a PDF and Calibre. If the process is improved today, and need less work than in the past, it's the same as opening a PDF in APub: no informations about styles, text "au kilomètre" (flowing endlessly or by pages, meaning page numbers and chapter headers can be in you main text, etc.). In the end, it's a lot of cleaning and re-formatting: too much work when we had cleaner text from the beginning.

I usually work on clean HTML files that I later import in Calibre, but since it's only for my personnal use, there's nothing important involved in this process. I would use Sigil or some other app or process if needed.

Some sites will give advices, and Word templates to use with their process. But mainly it's about using styles and a work flow you already understand.

 

Being able to export from APub to RTF, DOCX and HTML would be usefull. 

About advice for marketing, Kindle, writing and such, here's an autor and her followers or friends, authors ring (if this notion is still accurate or in use) that you can find usefull to read. At least it was for me, I know better the paper version of books work flow, than the digital one where I'm only mainly a customer :) 

And bravo for wanting well formatted epub/HTML code. A lot of them are a mess (even from main editors), and it's a pain to correct if you want something clean that'll flow nicely while reading.

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8 minutes ago, Wosven said:

I usually work on clean HTML files that I later import in Calibre, but since it's only for my personal use, there's nothing important involved in this process. I would use Sigil or some other app or process if needed.

…..

Being able to export from APub to RTF, DOCX and HTML would be usefull. 

About advice for marketing, Kindle, writing and such, here's an autor and her followers or friends, authors ring (if this notion is still accurate or in use) that you can find usefull to read. At least it was for me, I know better the paper version of books work flow, than the digital one where I'm only mainly a customer :) 

And bravo for wanting well formatted epub/HTML code. A lot of them are a mess (even from main editors), and it's a pain to correct if you want something clean that'll flow nicely while reading.

Thanks. Although I also publish webpages, I've never tried converting them to eBooks; probably because I started publishing eBooks only after getting Serif PagePlus. In fact I needed also to copy/paste text to update some of my webpages while creating these books.

I've also updated Sigil, but chose not to use it this time.

PagePlus (or Affinity Publisher) are way over the top for producing simple eBooks; especially the flowing ePubs I prefer. But, when you have a hammer...

I needed to publish this project as a printed booklet, as a Kindle eBook, and on webpages: I value flexible import & export options from programs, to avoid the need for recreating text. Also, some of my text and images were originally created decades ago using long lost tools: I value programs which can export material in "industry standard" formats so that the material can be imported into other or newer programs.

BTW. For similar reasons, I do not use Amazon Kindle's DRM: I prefer to trust people who buy my books and not to leave the material "locked" within one company's software. There is some "leakage," some of it via "sharing" websites, but probably to people who would never have paid for a copy.

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22 minutes ago, Richard S said:

For similar reasons, I do not use Amazon Kindle's DRM: I prefer to trust people who buy my books and not to leave the material "locked" within one company's software. There is some "leakage," some of it via "sharing" websites, but probably to people who would never have paid for a copy.

Thanks for authors like you. I'm testing ways to avoid Amazon since the authors gain more selling from their site, Patreon or other means. My choice depends of the difference between the selling price on Amazon and the other options (I can accept a difference of few euros or double price, but I can't see the logic of thrice or more the price).

There's interesting new ways to sell and buy books to test today.

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On 7/3/2019 at 4:21 PM, Richard S said:

Thanks again. It looks as if I'll have to use tedious repeated copy / paste to extract my text from Publisher, and then rebuild the document from scratch using a different tool. Disappointing.

Perhaps there's a reason why the example in Affinity's tutorial videos is just a glossy leaflet advertising a car?

Same problem here and disappointing indeed. I am left to export to PDF and then maybe use Kindle Create to convert. Calibre doesn't convert flawlessly. What was Affinity thinking, not including support for ePublishing.

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4 hours ago, Deshy said:

not including support for ePublishing

Perhaps they're on the 1 version and need more time and full capabilities for this app to manage all the needed options in a regular document before working on different export options while the code isn't finished?

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While a reader may think that a book is a book whether it is printed or e-book, they are actually very different things. Publisher excels in creating typographically high quality printed matter using features that mostly would have to be jettisoned when creating e-book version. And e-book, while feature set is very limited, needs to have its programming rules followed very strictly, not a simple task itself. Thus it is at the moment best to use tools developed specially for e-book publishing to get acceptable results. 

Publisher will probably get e-book export capabilities at some point, but adding such a module is not a trivial task. And it is totally different and separate from core typography engine.

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Scrivener is wonderful, despite the learning curve for export. I haven't tried it for an illustrated book though. @pomme27, have you tried your workflow with a heavily illustrated work?

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