Friday, 26 September 2014

Almost instant ebook production

For reasons described elsewhere I was searching for pictures of Louise Bryant - who was a witness to some of the events following the 1917 revolution in Russia and was married to John Reed - best known for Ten days that shook the world but with a pedigree in left wing journalism and agitation in the US in the years before the first world war.
However, this post is only tangentially about my interest in the history of the Bolshevik revolution and subsequent civil war. While searching for pictures of Louise Bryant I came across an unpublished biography at (unsurprisingly), which I thought might be worth reading.
The biography is published as a set of long html pages - as if it was a set of blog posts, and I really wanted to read it offline using either a tablet or an ebook reader. So I decided to make it into an epub file for personal use.
It turned out to be really easy to so and as there’s quite a few other books and texts out there that have been transcribed and published as a set of web pages, so I thought I’d publish my recipe …
  • Using firefox download and save each of the web pages in the document
    as a file - choose web page as the format - this will save the html
    and also save any embedded images in a subdirectorynamed after the
    web file, eg if the first section of the book is called part_one it
    will save a file called part_one.html and create a directory called
    part_one_files containing the embedded images.
  • Then create a new blank document in libre office and using the insert command select and insert each of the files in turn into the document. This will give you a document containing the entire text.
    • Automagically the images will also be embedded in more or less the
      correct place.
  • Save the file as somefile.odt onto your dropbox
  • Go to CloudConvert and connect it to your
    dropbox account.
  • Select somefile.odt as your import document and choose either epub (for most generic ebook readers) or mobi (for kindle) as the output format.
  • Select save to dropbox as your output target, click convert and it
    will write the output file out to ~/dropbox/apps/cloudconvert/somefile.epub
    • (Under windows it will be in the apps\cloudconvert directory in My
    • If you chose mobi as the output format the output file will be
At that point you can then transfer your file to your chosen device such as either sideloading it or emailing it to your kindle, or opening the file on your tablet by using an ebook reader application and opening the file on dropbox.
The whole exercise took me about ten minutes.
I see no reason why this solution should not work equally well for other texts transcribed and published as web pages.

> Written with [StackEdit](

No comments: