Create eBooks with markdown
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Author Gem Version

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ATTN: Everything should be working, however, I am keeping the gem in alpha for a little while longer. The first official release should be coming soon.

*[imho]: In my humble opinion

A simple tool to help you write your next ebook.

I had a major itch and this is what I used to scratch it. I wanted to write an ebook, but couldn't find a toolset that had everything I wanted. Leanpub was too limited on the styling of the book. Kitabu drove me nuts with the hoops I had to jump through with nokogiri. Wordsmith didn't do it for me either.

What was I looking for?

  • A simple way to write my chapters in Markdown
  • Generate PDFs and ePubs that were pretty to look at
  • Have better looking code blocks
  • Not have to do a ton of configuration!!!!

Thus, Author was born.


$ gem install author --pre


$ author new mybook
$ cd mybook

Add your chapters to the chapters/ folder. Name them whatever you want. Then, in the outline.txt file, simply list the chapters in the order you want them to appear in the finished book. Here's an example of what outline.txt should look like:

In order to create ePubs, you will need to specify a few things. Open up config.yml and modify the settings that are listed.

When you're ready to build your ebook, just run one of the following commands:

author build xhtml
author build pdf
author build epub
author build mobi
author build all   # Builds everything in one go

That's it!


Table of Contents

One of the nice things about using Kramdown is that it provides a way to generate a table of contents [TOC]. If you would like to add a TOC to your book, simply add a file to the chapters/ folder - might I suggest - and include the following:

## Table of Contents

* this will be replaced

Then, in the outline.txt file, just make sure the file with that information is the first one listed.


For anyone wanting to write books that involve a lot of code, I have built a plugin called awesome_codeblock. You can specify quite a few options that will make your codeblocks, well, more awesome. Check out lib/author/plugins/awesome_codeblock.rb for all the details.


If you have a need for a sidebar, there is a Liquid plugin I created called sidebar. It takes an optional argument called type which can be anything you want and will be a class added to the resulting code.

There are 3 types which come with predefined styles though. They are info, warning, and tip. info is the default and will be used if the type is not set. Here is an example:

{% sidebar type:tip %}
#### I am a sidebar!

You can put any code supported by Kramdown in this block. Yippee!
{% endsidebar %}


There are a couple of executables that Author requires to do its job.

  • Prince XML: This is the tool used to create PDFs of your book. The free version of Prince XML is fully functional and adds a small icon to the first page of your PDF. I've looked at other solutions and this - imho - is the best one.
  • KindleGen: This is a tool from Amazon that will generate a .mobi file. As a note, it is a violation of the Kindle Terms of Service to sell files generated by Kindelgen outside of the Kindle store. You have been notified.

You can run author check to find out if you have these dependencies installed on your system.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request