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The Standard Ebooks toolset for producing our ebook files


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A collection of tools Standard Ebooks uses to produce its ebooks, including basic setup of ebooks, text processing, and build tools.


Ubuntu 16.04 users

# Install some pre-flight dependencies
# lxml requires the following packages for its pip build process: python3-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev zlib1g-dev
sudo apt install -y python3-pip python3-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev zlib1g-dev libxml2-utils librsvg2-bin libimage-exiftool-perl imagemagick epubcheck default-jre inkscape calibre curl git

# Clone the tools repo
git clone

# Install required fonts
mkdir -p ~/.fonts/
curl -s -o ~/.fonts/LeagueSpartan-Bold.otf ""
curl -s -o ~/.fonts/OFLGoudyStM.otf ""
curl -s -o ~/.fonts/OFLGoudyStM-Italic.otf ""

# Refresh the local font cache
sudo fc-cache -fv

# Install python dependencies
pip3 install -r ./tools/requirements.txt

# Install hyphenation dictionaries for the pyhyphen library
python3 -c "exec(\"from hyphen import dictools\\ndictools.install('en_GB')\\ndictools.install('en_US')\")"

macOS users

These instructions were tested on macOS 10.12 and 10.13. Your mileage may vary. Corrections and fixes to these steps are welcomed, as the SE maintainers don't have access to Macs.

  1. Install the Homebrew package manager. Or, if you already have it installed, make sure it's up to date:

    brew update
  2. Install dependencies:

    # Install some pre-flight dependencies
    brew install python epubcheck imagemagick librsvg exiftool git
    # Clone the tools repo
    git clone
    # Install required applications
    brew cask install java calibre xquartz inkscape
    # Install required fonts
    curl -s -o ~/Library/Fonts/LeagueSpartan-Bold.otf ""
    curl -s -o ~/Library/Fonts/OFLGoudyStM.otf ""
    curl -s -o ~/Library/Fonts/OFLGoudyStM-Italic.otf ""
    # Install python dependencies
    # *********IMPORTANT NOTE*********: PyHyphen currently fails to install on Mac OS when you run this command.
    # Don't worry, you can safely ignore PyHyphen's failure, as long as all the other pip packages install correctly.
    pip3 install -r ./tools/requirements.txt


Help and pull requests are welcomed!

  • Move some legacy scripts like hyphenate into appropriate libraries/scripts.

  • Some tool functionality should be moved into the SeEpub class. Suggestions on how to better organize SE code into packages/classes are welcome.

Tool descriptions

  • british2american

    Try to convert British quote style to American quote style in DIRECTORY/src/epub/text/.

    Quotes must already be "typogrified"--i.e. curly.

    This script isn't perfect; proofreading is required, especially near closing quotes near to em-dashes.

  • build

    Build an ebook from a Standard Ebook source directory.

  • build-images

    Build ebook cover and titlepage images in a Standard Ebook source directory and place the output in DIRECTORY/src/epub/images/.

  • clean

    Prettify and canonicalize individual XHTML or SVG files, or all XHTML and SVG files in a source directory. Note that this only prettifies the source code; it doesn't perform typography changes.

  • create-draft

    Create a skeleton of a new Standard Ebook.

  • dec2roman

    Convert a decimal number to a Roman numeral.

  • extract-ebook

    Extract an EPUB, MOBI, or AZW3 ebook into ./FILENAME.extracted/ or a target directory.

  • find-mismatched-diacritics

    Find words with mismatched diacritics in Standard Ebook source directories. For example, 'cafe' in one file and 'café' in another.

  • hyphenate

    Insert soft hyphens at syllable breaks in an XHTML file.

  • interactive-sr

    A macro for calling Vim to interactively search and replace a regex on a list of files.

  • lint

    Check for various Standard Ebooks style errors.

  • make-url-safe

    Make a string URL-safe.

  • modernize-spelling

    Modernize spelling of some archaic words, and replace words that may be archaically compounded with a dash to a more modern spelling. For example, replace "ash-tray" with "ashtray".

  • prepare-release

    Calculate work word count, insert release date if not yet set, and update modified date and revision number.

  • print-manifest-and-spine

    Create a <manifest> and <spine> tag for content.opf based on the passed Standard Ebooks source directory and print to standard output.

  • reading-ease

    Calculate the Flesch reading ease for a Standard Ebooks source directory.

  • recompose-epub

    Recompose a Standard Ebooks source directory into a single HTML5 file, and print to standard output.

  • reorder-endnotes

    Increment the specified endnote and all following endnotes by 1.

  • roman2dec

    Convert a Roman numeral to a decimal number.

  • semanticate

    Apply some scriptable semantics rules from the Standard Ebooks semantics manual to a Standard Ebook source directory.

  • split-file

    Split an XHTML file into many files at all instances of <!--se:split-->, and include a header template for each file.

  • titlecase

    Convert a string to titlecase.

  • typogrify

    Apply some scriptable typography rules from the Standard Ebooks typography manual to a Standard Ebook source directory.

  • unicode-names

    Display Unicode code points, descriptions, and links to more details for each character in a string. Useful for differentiating between different flavors of spaces, dashes, and invisible characters like word joiners.

  • word-count

    Count the number of words in an HTML file and optionally categorize by length.

What a Standard Ebooks source directory looks like

Many of these tools act on Standard Ebooks source directories. Such directories have a consistent minimal structure:


./images/ contains source images for the cover and titlepages, as well as ebook-specific source images. Source images should be in their maximum available resolution, then compressed and placed in ./src/epub/images/ for distribution.

./src/epub/ contains the actual epub files.


The Standard Ebooks toolset for producing our ebook files







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