For some time I have wanted to publish some ebook in epub format with compilations of my courses, so I got down to work and started to investigate the EPUB format and places to publish them.
When publishing a book the first thing that came to mind was Amazon, I was looking at how to publish on Amazon and I saw it a bit complicated.
I found the site lulu.com almost by chance and saw that although it may not have as much traffic as Amazon or Apple’s iBooks store it seemed like a good option to publish my courses.
I did a first test passing my Step by Step Web Programming course to PDF format, I published it following the steps indicated on the same website.
On this website you have the possibility to also publish on Amazon, Apple’s IBooks store, Kobo and Nook, that is if they take a more or less large commission depending on the platform.
For these platforms you can only publish in English and in EPUB format.
So, since I had finished my Web Scraping Project for SEO with Python, I decided to publish it on epub and in English.
The steps I followed were
1.- I had the course in Google Document format which is the one I use to be able to have my documents in the cloud and be able to modify them from a PC or from the ipad.
2.- I gathered all the documents of the course in one and I translated it into English.
3.- Google has an option to export a document directly to EPUB, so I exported it to this format and reviewed it with an epub reader and it looked pretty good.
4.- I went to lulu.com and uploaded the epub but the test they do to validate the publication did not pass and it showed me a lot of errors.
5.- Investigating if there was and some editor of epubs I found two that seemed that I could use to modify them properly.
First I tried Caliber and I was able to solve many of the errors it gave me but others I did not know how to solve them.
6.- I tried another approach and instead of exporting my document to epub I converted it to HTML. I downloaded a program called Sigil and saw what it looked like.
7.- The problem is that the epub generated by Google, although it looks good, apparently puts a lot of “garbage” and there are things that have to be removed and put information on metadata such as the publisher, date of creation … otherwise it does not pass the filters.
8.- Investigating on the EPUB format I was surprised to see that this format consists of a file in compressed Zip format with the content in HTML!
So by uploading the HTML document to Sigil I was able to see more clearly what needed to be fixed.
9.- With Sigil I split the HTML document into chapters so that each one was seen on a different page.
Then in the metadata option I put the ones that lulu.com asked for and that were not there, such as publication or editorial date.
I created an index page linking to the pages that I had previously created.
In the HTML code you can embed CSS code or have a separate style file, so I did some styling tweaks to make some paragraphs look better.
Save the generated epub and upload it to lulu.com and now it was accepted.
10.- Since I already had an epub and in English, I published it on all the indicated platforms.
If you want to see the result you can visit the link
I hope this post has been helpful to you and you are encouraged to publish your own ebooks, they are sure to be very interesting.