Gulliver’s Travels EPUB eBook

Back in September I wrote about my epubBooks development; a project to convert the .TXT ebooks from Project Gutenberg into the IDPF’s EPUB format. After many months of hard work I’e finally finished the conversion tools and I’m now preparing development of the website itself, which will allow anyone to download my EPUB books, and all for free.

Although I’m happy with the current formatting in the EPUB files, I wanted to turn to you, the ebook community and ask for your feedback, in the hope that the improvements you submit will make these EPUB ebooks even better.

EPUB Book Features

  • Linked Footnotes – each footnote number is a link, click on this to see the footnote (I’ve actually made them all endnotes). Clicking on the notes number takes you back to the original page.
  • Images – Some titles will include images.
  • Nicely formatted titles, subtitles, etc.
  • Paragraph indents – Except on first paragraph of a chapter/section – as is usual in paper books
  • Block Indents – Small left/right indents on block quotes, letters of correspondence, songs, etc.

This is just a small selection for some of the formatting features I’ve implemented.

Please Note: As certain systems enforce their own stlying by defaults, various features will display differently. UPDATE (2011): This isn’t as prolific as it used to be.

Test the EPUB

The title I’m making available as a pre-release download is Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift – this has many features which show off my conversion. As this eBook contains images it is quite large, weighing in at over 5MB.

The test book has now been removed as you can find the final release here;

Gulliver’s Travels (Final)

All comments, on both the frontend formatting (indents, italics, etc) and the underlying code (OPF, NCX, HTML markup) is very much appreciated.

This ebook can be read using Adobe Digital Editions, Stanza (desktop and iPhone version), Sony Reader (PRS-505 and PRS-700), BeBook and the FBReader.


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13 thoughts on “Gulliver’s Travels EPUB eBook”

  1. FYI, Stanza will render styles, but only if you enable them in the settings. Styles are not enabled by default.

  2. Works great! Looks amazing. Checked a bunch of links and they were all good. Footnote 2 wouldn’t work on the Large setting for a PRS-505, but worked on the others.


  3. @Marc. Thanks. I’ve just tried it now the styles turned on and it looks much better. One or two things need fixing though, which I will do that later today.

    @joe. :-D many thanks! I don’t know if there is anything I can do to fix the footnote problem – sounds more like a quirk with the Sony – but I will certainly take a look.

  4. The author should be “Jonathan Swift” not “Swift, Jonathan”. The latter is correct for the sort order in the opf:file-as parameter for the creator tag, but the data for the creator tag should be the canonical name of the author. The comma will cause some ebook software to interpret the book as having two authors separated by commas.

    See the specification for an example:

  5. @Matt. I was hoping someone would comment on this! I must admit that I did not think about the comma issue.

    I’ve been in two minds on how to deal with the author names. The reason for using the last name first was to aid in author search when a user has dozens, if not hundreds of books in their library. If reading systems used the opf:file-as attribute for sorting then there would be no argument.

    I would really like to get other users feedback on this. If anyone has thoughts, or even just a preference, then please do leave a comment.

  6. When creating footnotes I recommend that the id is placed on an element which contains all of the footnote, not only the number of the footnote. In this case you could put the id on the “li” element (in cases where the footnotes aren’t in a list you should enclose the footnote in a “div” element with an id).

    If you don’t do this then it’s harder for the reading system to make a guess how long the footnote is. A reading system that wants to do something creative with the footnote, like showing it in a pop-up window, needs to have a clue where it ends. For example, if you view epub-test-20081202.epub using Lucidor 0.5 and move the mouse pointer over a footnote link only the number of the footnote will be shown in the pop-up window.

    The same applies to all kinds of links, by the way, not only links to “footnotes”. For example, if you have a link to a specific section of a text, then the link should point to an element which encloses all text of the section, not to an element which only encloses the header or the first paragraph of the section.

    Another thing you may want to consider is to include an alternative style sheet more suitable for viewing the document on a large screen. The side margins look a bit narrow when viewing it on a computer screen, but I guess small margins makes sense for portable ebook readers.

  7. How footnotes are handled is definitely worth looking into a little more. Reading systems will certainly be more creative in the future so if possible it’s worth trying to accommodate.

    Making the margins narrower was a concious decision. I will take another look at the IDPF specs to see what options there are for loading alternate style sheets.

    Many thanks for your insights!

  8. I have a question about an effect that was in the test version of GT.

    When one clicks on a footnote, the transition to the footnote.html is a zoom transition. And the same when one clicks to return to the chapter.html. I don’t see how you do this! It seems to happen only on the iPad 2 itself. Not in Firefox or ADE. Could you discuss how you do this?


  9. The thing is, it doesn’t happen for my footnotes, and I think I used the same anchor callout that you did. I cannot make it happen!

  10. Diane, I really can’t think what it might be. What I do in my EPUB’s is very straightforward; no fancy code, no Javascript, or anything like that. If your footnotes are held within a separate HTML within the EPUB container, then I don’t see why it should not be the same.

  11. The solution to the footnote problem is that the footnote file must be the last file in the spine. I had a colophon which I put last and that seemed to prevent normal footnote anchor behavior.

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