Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Have Seen the Enemy, and He Is .Mobi

Like Captain Ahab, I spent last weekend in search of Mobi. No, that's not a misspelling. (I work at a library, I can spell Moby Dick.) Mobi with an I is one of the e-book formats for Kindle.

First, can I get a cheer that I'm actually to the formatting stage? Thank you.

Now for the saga. I started Saturday with a pretty easy to follow set of instructions. I breezed through the first few steps, and then I hit a problem: The program recommended to create the mobi book is PC only. I switched to Mac at the beginning of the month.

No problem! I work at a library, I can do research! I searched for "formatting a Kindle book on a Mac." The top recommendation was for a program called Kindle Gen... and that's where I hit the second road block. I will spare you my deep and abiding hatred of this program and only say that it Is. Not. Easy.

Not easy, as in I spent hours wrestling with it.

Now, I had a really nice program on my PC called Calibre that is all about converting e-books to different formats. I did some searching and yes! Calibre works on a Mac!

So... first I saved the file as a PDF and uploaded it to Calibre, and then I converted the format. Eh, a few formatting errors, and I'm paying my Oops Detector $1/oops.

And this is where I made my fatal error. Instead of just trying again through Calibre, I went back to The Evil of Kindle Gen. More tears follow, more wailing and gnashing of teeth. I swore I would never format another one of my books, ever.

Finally, around 11:00, I decided to give Calibre one more shot. This time, I saved the file as an .RTF first and then converted. Beautiful! Perfect! As far as I can tell, anyway...

I'm calling this a victory. If it comes back from the Oops Detector with no formatting errors, I will write a step-by-step instruction sheet for Mac owners. There's really not a good one out there. (By which I mean, there's not one that doesn't include Kindle Gen.)

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