Easy ebooks with eCub EPUB creator

Recently the TeleRead blog discussed the need for an ePub desktop word processor application that would allow authors and non-techies to easily (and cheaply) write and save their work in the EPUB format. There are a number of OpenOffice proponents but otherwise there is no solution yet.

So what are your options?

One possible sollution could be the free eCub EPUB creator, “a simple .epub creation tool” written by Julian Smart that allows you to import XHTML or text files and export these into an EPUB formatted file. Okay, so you won’t get any nice WYSIWYG editing tools but the basic editing (notepad style) is enough to make basic adjustments from within the programme.

Versions are available for Windows, Mac, Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris – there is even a portable version for use on USB devices.

I tried a quick test project which had 13 HTML, 2 images and a CSS file. I filled in all the appropriate fields from within eCub, used the built-in Cover Designer, changed a couple of options here and there then hit Compile. Done and Dusted!

Here are the basic features of eCub EPUB Creator;

  • Creates unencrypted EPUB files from text or XHTML files
  • Edit text or XHTML files with its simple internal editor
  • Built-in (simple) cover image designer
  • Optionally creates title, content and cover pages
  • Command line execution options
  • Portable Mode (data and settings are stored locally)

When the eCub created EPUB file is opened in Adobe Digital Editions it views just fine, however, when trying to open the same file on my Sony Reader and iPod Touch it failed with, according to Stanza, an OPF error. I will need to do some digging around to find out why it fails on these two devices, but I’m sure there is a simple explanation.

It’s been just over a year since the official release of the EPUB spec and we are now starting to see some great tools released in aiding the creation, conversion and viewing of EPUB formatted books. This is certainly what the ePub community needs and I have a feeling we will only see more tools like eCub being created during 2009.