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External cover images must have the ISBN in the filename ex. GIF files are not supported for covers. The suggested optimal ratio for covers on Kobo is width:height.
The average size and dimensions for ebook covers in the Kobo store are px width:height. However covers in all dimensions will be rendered consistently across platforms.
Content creators are advised to keep their cover images under 3MB. Larger covers will still render but will not improve the display of their content. Covers should also be listed in the OPF metadata section. The metadata indicates the cover by pointing to the ID of the cover file in the manifest. Kobo uses this tag to identify which image to display as a thumbnail within user's libraries across platforms.
The user will be unable to resize the text and some of the content may not display on the screen at all. The CSS background-image method is not supported by the automatic cover extraction process. Books that do use the CSS method will require separate covers to be submitted in order for covers to appear in the store and in customer libraries.
Kobo advises against placing links in covers. This can create a poor reading experience when attempting to page forward and a link is triggered instead. Scaling images may prevent them from displaying on eInk and Desktop. Some ePubs will rotate and shrink images down to the size of a single pixel and then blow them back up to the intended view size.
This will work on Android, iOS and Windows but on Desktop it results in the image either not displaying at all or only displaying as a single pixel. The content creator can name the file as they choose i.
However, please note the general file naming suggestions provided in the OPF section. When an OPF spine item is not listed in the NCX, Kobo will create a listing for it using the filename or the opening words from the section. This listing will be displayed to the user in the TOC Menu across all reading platforms. This process may be removed in a future release.
Epub3 files, which use the epub navigation document, will not be impacted. For epub3 Kobo platforms populate the table of contents with the items listed in the toc nav element of the epub navigation document.
The toc nav element is a nav element with an epub:type attribute that has been assigned the value toc. If a page-list nav is not available either, the TOC will appear blank, but will still function as a list of links to each file listed in the epub's OPF spine.
Android falls back to the next available nav element in the order in which they occur: either a page-list nav or a landmarks nav. If neither a page-list nav element nor a landmarks nav element exists, the TOC will be empty. The OPF spine is not used as a fallback on Android. Please note: If an NCX is included in an epub3, it will be ignored. It will not used as a TOC fallback on any Kobo platforms. Landmarks will display as TOC items but will not trigger behaviour on the apps. So most fields in the metadata section of the OPF file are not read.
The one exception is the dc:identifier. Content creators are also advised that the dc:identifier in the OPF should be identical to the identifier in the.
Kobo uses external metadata files to populate the various metadata fields on the Kobo website. The OPF file can be named however the content creator chooses [filename]. Content creators are advised to use tags for manifest items , specifically the cover tag. Special characters and spaces should not be used for file names within an ePub. This can result in naming inconsistencies with the items listed in the OPF manifest.
File names containing non-alphanumeric characters are not fully supported, and their use may lead to undefined behaviour, which may be inconsistent across clients. Background colors may make the content difficult to read when the user has selected the sepia or night modes or when reading on eInk devices.
The impact is particularly noticeable when the value used for this property is set to x-small or small. Content creators are also advised to embed a font that contains Small Caps glyphs for optimal rendering.
Style locations Kobo strongly advises against the use of inline styling for all content types reflowable and Fixed Layout. Inline style elements may not be rendered as intended across Kobo's reading platforms. Styles should instead be contained in a linked stylesheet. Choosing Selectors Kobo advises against applying styles to type selectors alone, like the div or span selectors. It is safer to style and easier to debug CSS that is as specific as possible.
Increase specificity by selecting for type and class, or by selecting for nesting structure. In addition, Kobo inserts div and span tags during processing to enable user functionality ex. As a result, any content contained within the added tags will inherit the styling applied in the CSS.
On the Kobo iOS platform, this may result in the background image overlapping with the text. When users on mobile devices select a large font-size, it will also increase margins set in ems.
This can make the content nearly unreadable as the margins increase on each side.
Instead, use a fixed unit like px for margins. In this example the margins will always be 4x the size of the font selected and each line will only fit a few letters or words. Creating a new file is the best way to establish page breaks across all Kobo apps.
Support for other page-break methods is not consistent. Sample container. These topics are not covered in this tutorial. See the OCF specification for more information. The mimetype and container files are the only two whose location in the EPUB archive are strictly controlled.
As recommended although not required , store the remaining files in the EPUB in a sub-directory. The following section of this tutorial covers the files that go into OEBPS—the real meat of the digital book: its metadata and its pages.
Open Packaging Format metadata file Although this file can be named anything, the OPF file is conventionally called content. It specifies the location of all the content of the book, from its text to other media such as images. Listing 3.
Metadata Dublin Core defines a set of common metadata terms that you can use to describe a wide variety of digital materials; it's not part of the EPUB specification itself. Any of these terms are allowed in the OPF metadata section. When you build an EPUB for distribution, include as much detail as you can here, although the extract provided in Listing 4 is sufficient to start.
Listing 4. Extract of OPF metadata The two required terms are title and identifier.
According to the EPUB specification, the identifier must be a unique value, although it's up to the digital book creator to define that unique value. Note that the value of the attribute unique-identifier must match the ID attribute of the dc:identifier element. Other metadata to consider adding, if it's relevant to your content, include: Language as dc:language. Publication date as dc:date. Publisher as dc:publisher. This can be your company or individual name. Copyright information as dc:rights.
Including a meta element with the name attribute containing cover is not part of the EPUB specification directly, but is a recommended way to make cover pages and images more portable. This example shows both forms. The value of the meta element's content attribute should be the ID of the book's cover image in the manifest, which is the next part of the OPF file.
This usually means a list of XHTML files that make up the text of the eBook plus some number of related media such as images. Every file that goes into your digital book must be listed in the manifest.
Listing 5 shows the extracted manifest section. Listing 5. Extract of OPF manifest You must include the first item, toc. You can include non-supported file types if you provide a fall-back to a core type. See the OPF specification for more information on fall-back items. This is easy to confuse with the reference to the OPF file in the container.
Spine Although the manifest tells the EPUB reader which files are part of the archive, the spine indicates the order in which they appear, or—in EPUB terms—the linear reading order of the digital book. One way to think of the OPF spine is that it defines the order of the "pages" of the book. The spine is read in document order, from top to bottom. Listing 6 shows an extract from the OPF file.
Listing 6. Extract of OPF spine Each itemref element has a required attribute idref, which must match one of the IDs in the manifest. The toc attribute is also required. The linear attribute in the spine indicates whether the item is considered part of the linear reading order versus being extraneous front- or end-matter. Guide The last part of the OPF content file is the guide. This section is optional but recommended. Listing 7 shows an extract from a guide file. Listing 7. Extract of an OPF guide The guide is a way of providing semantic information to an EPUB reading system.
While the manifest defines the physical resources in the EPUB and the spine provides information about their order, the guide explains what the sections mean. Here's a partial list of the values that are allowed in the OPF guide: cover: The book cover title-page: A page with author and publisher information toc: The table of contents For a complete list, see the OPF 2. This is rarely a problem when you generate EPUBs programmatically, where the same code can output to two different files.
Take care to put the same information in both places, as different EPUB readers might use the values from one or the other. Although the OCF file is defined as part of EPUB itself, the last major metadata file is borrowed from a different digital book standard.
DAISY is a consortium that develops data formats for readers who are unable to use traditional books, often because of visual impairments or the inability to manipulate printed works.
The NCX defines the table of contents of the digital book. In complex books, it is typically hierarchical, containing nested parts, chapters, and sections. Listing 8. This element should match the dc:identifier in the OPF file. This example has only one level, so this value is 1.
It's okay to be confused, as both files describe the order and contents of the document. The easiest way to explain the difference is through analogy with a printed book: The OPF spine describes how the sections of the book are physically bound together, such that turning a page at the end of one chapter reveals the first page of the second chapter. The NCX describes the table of contents at the beginning of the book. The table of contents always includes all the major sections of the book, but it might also list sub-sections that don't occur on their own pages.
The navMap is the most important part of the NCX file, as it defines the table of contents for the actual book. The navMap contains one or more navPoint elements. Each navPoint must contain the following elements: A playOrder attribute, which reflects the reading order of the document. This follows the same order as the list of itemref elements in the OPF spine. This is typically a chapter title or number, such as "Chapter One," or—as in this example—"Cover page. This will be a file declared in the OPF manifest.
It is also acceptable to use fragment identifiers here to point to anchors within XHTML content—for example, content. Optionally, one or more child navPoint elements. Nested points are how hierarchical documents are expressed in the NCX. The structure of the sample book is simple: It has only two pages, and they are not nested. That means that you'll have two navPoint elements with ascending playOrder values, starting at 1. In the NCX, you have the opportunity to name these sections, allowing readers to jump into different parts of the eBook.
Adding the final content Now you know all the metadata required in EPUB, so it's time to put in the actual book content. You can use the sample content provided in Downloadable resources or create your own, as long as the file names match the metadata. Next, create these files and folder: title. This file can contain any CSS declarations you like, such as setting the font-face or text color. See Listing 10 for an example of such a CSS file. Use this sample for your title page title.
Listing 9. Sample title page title. Use IDs to refer to anchors within content.