Examples of various ways to make an ebook
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eBook Toolchain Templates

This is a simple test of various open-source or otherwise freely available toolchains for producing ebooks.

This is by no means a comprehensive survey. Tools that are demonstrated here probably share all of the following qualities:

  • open-source or public domain

  • source files may be stored in a non-proprietary text format

  • entire ebook project is suited to version control (i.e. no reliance on binaries that would need to be merged or regenerated)

Calibre: generating EPUB

Calibre is a free and open source e-book library management application developed by users of e-books for users of e-books.

Key Software Requirements

Install the Calibre application on your system, including command-line tools. Additional software for converting markdown source files are installed as ruby gems. See calibre/Gemfile and install with bundler by running `bundle`.

Sample Template

The ./calibre folder contains the sample book project setup to build with Calibre.

pandoc: generating EPUB or PDF

pandoc is the open-source swiss-army knife for convert files from one markup format into another. Amongst the many formats supported are the ones we're interseted in: EPUB and PDF.

Key Software Requirements

Install the pandoc binaries on your system. Note that additional LaTeX software may be required for your platform for PDF production.

Sample Template

The ./pandoc folder contains the sample book project setup to build with pandoc.

epubbery: generating EPUB

epubbery converts plain text files into EPUB books.

Key Software Requirements

All software is installed as ruby gems. See epubbery/Gemfile and install with bundler by running `bundle`.

Sample Template

The ./epubbery folder contains the sample book project setup to build with epubbery. This is a very bare example right now.

kindlegen: generating Mobi from EPUB

KindleGen is a command line tool provided by Amazon which can produce KF8 and Mobi format files from a variety of source formats including HTML, XHTML or EPUB.

Live Examples Found in the Wild

There's a growing number of authors who write in public. Sometimes that even means we get to see the mechanics of how books are made! Here are some live examples that are interesting studies of how to put together a complex ebook project:

Other Tools

  • Apple iBook Author - if you want to just publish to iTunes bookstore.

  • Sigil EPUB Editor - a great little tool for directly creating and editing EPUB files.

  • Scrivener 2 - a complete writing studio, including ebook export. It's a commercial tool, but the small license fee is probably well worth it if you are a serious professional writer.

Software reviews:

Contributing to eBook Toolchains

Contributions are most welcome! If you have examples of using other tools, or improvements to the existing examples, please do think about adding to this collection.

Simply fork the repository, make your changes and send a pull-request.


Copyright © 2012 Paul Gallagher. See LICENSE for further details.