Can Everton Jones find out how his father stole Emperor Bokassa’s diamonds and, more importantly, where he hid them; before the world and his brother get there first?
Click on the picture link in the sidebar to read an extract of my first novel, which was published by Paradise Press in August 2012.

Friday, 28 February 2014

How to ‘unpack’ an epub file to edit the contents and see what’s inside

*The first in a series of posts about techincal matters relating to e-books. This series was prompted by difficulties linking a table of contents for a Kindle e-book. That post is to follow. Logically there need to be some preliminaries. A growing index will appear at the bottom of each post.

An .epub file is really just a .zip archive in disguise. Inside are all the necessary files needed by the epub reader to display the e-book correctly. If you need to edit these files using an html editor, or are just curious to see what’s in there, you will need to ‘unpack’ the epub. To do this, first change the extension FROM .epub:
TO .zip:
And IGNORE the warning:
Its icon changes into that for a zipped archive:

Select the file and right-click on it. Then select ‘Extract All...’ from the pop-up menu:
Click ‘Extract’ in the next dialog:
Notice that the filenames in the path to the file are all single text strings:
This is important, as Kindlegen won’t like it if there are spaces in any of them. Likewise all the filenames within your epub should be single text strings because epubcheck doen’t like that either!
The extracted folder will appear on your computer. Inside you will find the files for the ebook:
The only bits you need to take account of are inside the folder called ‘OEBPS’:
See my post ‘How to understand what is inside an epub’ for an explanation of what these items are. You are now ready to edit the epub so that it converts properly to Kindle. See my forthcoming post ‘How to repack an epub ready for conversion to Kindle’ for instructions on how to restore the epub file.

Important note for MacOs users:

MacOs stores extra information along with the files in a .zip archive. Unfortunately the archive utility built in to OsX does NOT pack/unpack an epub file properly. You will have to buy an inexpensive utility such as BetterZip to pack/unpack your epubs properly. To do so select the ‘save without Mac stuff’ option.

Index to ‘how to …’ posts:

How to ‘unpack’ an epub file to edit the contents and see what’s inside.
How to understand what is inside an epub
How to link the html table of Contents in a Kindle e-book
How to restructure the html table of contents for a Kindle
How to delete the html cover for a Kindle ebook
How to link the cover IMAGE in a Kindle e-book
How to clean up your MS Word file before your get started
How to markup an MS Word file to identify the formats before importing it into an epub
How to create a new blank e-pub using Sigil
How to import your marked-up MS Word file into your ebook using Sigil
How to create and link a CSS stylesheet in an e-book using Sigil
How to replace the markup with CSS styles in your ebook using Sigil
How to style an e-book so it works with the limited CSS styling available to Kindle e-readers
How to understand the syntax of CSS
How to style Small Caps in an e-book
How to split your ebook up into chapters using Sigil
How to sequence your e-book
How to phrase the copyright declarations etc. in an e-book
How to generate the logical table of contents using Sigil
How to understand toc.ncx in an e-book
How to generate the html table of contents in an e-pub
How to style the html table of contents using CSS
How to create an html cover for your epub using Sigil
How to present references and notes in a book
How to use Mark Up to link notes in your e-book
How to present a bibliography in a book
How to use markup to link entries in a bibliography with the notes section
How to index an e-book
How to use the tools in MS Word to create an index
How to alphabetise an index or bibliography
How to adapt the print index in your MS Word file for an e-book using markup
How to adapt cross-references in your print index for e-book and how to use markup to make the links
How to understand content.opf
How to understand and edit the Metadata of an ebook using Sigil
How to understand the manifest in content.opf
How to understand the spine and guide in content.opf
How to test your e-pub using flightCrew in Sigil
How to test your e-pub using epubcheck
How to convert an e-pub to Kindle using kindlegen

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