[scribus] What about E-PUB format?

John Culleton john at wexfordpress.com
Thu Dec 30 15:28:29 CET 2010

On Thursday 30 December 2010 00:43:49 Bill208 wrote:
> John Jason Jordan-2 wrote:
> > So my big question is, can I export from Scribus in E-PUB format?
> > Assuming not, is there a workaround, like exporting to PDF or
> > something else and then converting the output to E-PUB? Has
> > anyone here published anything in E-PUB format?
> John,
> I've created epub files, but unfortunately not with Scribus. I've
> used OpenOffice plus an extension for OpenOffice that will convert
> OO text files to epub. From epub I use Calibre to convert to mobi
> for my Kindle. Kindle will not read epub files.
> Even though the epub standard incorporates CSS and XHTML formatting
> is lost or scrambled through the conversion process and I’ve yet to
> develop a satisfactory workflow starting with Scribus.
> I would hope that at some point in the not too distant future
> Scribus will be able to convert to epub. For an in-depth discussion
> on the epub format, along with sample files for download and
> reference links, start with this link:
> http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/tutorials/x-epubtut/index.htm
> Bill
EPub and the Kindle language are subsets of the xhtml language. EPub 
also has a three file structure for each document that is unique (and 
IMO more or less useless).  Both of these languages limit severely the 
kinds of things we do with printed documents insofar as typesetting of 
text and placing of objects precisely on a page. This lack of 
specificity allows the document to be read on different readers with 
different screen widths etc.  

Many decades ago Grace Murray Hopper stated that she didn't expect 
COBOL (her invention) to do the work of FORTRAN and vice versa.  IBM 
violated her principle and touted PL/I which was a horrid mishmash of 
both. Despite much institutional support it died an early death.  You 
could look it up. I lived through it.

I don't see the mission of Scribus as expanding beyond printed output 
to e-book formats. The two missions are incompatible.  MSWord and Open 
Office Writer provide multiple output formats. Both of them do many 
things, and do most of them badly. InDesign provides e-book formats, 
but the results are not widely praised. 

(IMO e-books did not need a special format, let alone two. E-Books can 
be formatted as html or xhtml or as pdf. In fact my one e-book 
"Creating Book Covers with Scribus" is in pdf format. I began  setting 
it up in Scribus itself, but the file grew beyond the size limit 
imposed by the e-book host. So I rewrote it in pdftex, more work but 
smaller output. )

We can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. We are stuck with the 
two popular e-book formats. Their capabilities and limitations are 
quite different from the capabilities and limitations of printed 
documents. So be it.  Let Scribus become the best at one thing, and 
let other programs produce e-books as defined by Kindle and EPub. 

For printed documents we need PDF X/1-a formatting, currently only 
available on Scribus 1.5.0. A quality indexing system is needed, along 
with paragraph at a time justification. We have enough on our plate. 
Let someone else create the universal formatter. Given the history of 
PL/I, OO Writer and so on I wish them luck. 
John Culleton
Create Book Covers with Scribus:
Typesetting and indexing http://wexfordpress.com
book sales http://wexfordpress.net
Free  barcode: http://www.tux.org/~milgram/bookland/

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