If you use iBooks on your iPad or iPhone, you can only read books in EPUB format. If you have books in text or PDF format you may want to convert them to EPUB so you can read them in iBooks. You can do this with Calibre, a free open-source e-book library application.
Hi. This is Gary From MacMost Now. On today’s episode let’s convert text and PDF files into EPUB format. So the Ibook app on both the iPad and the iPhone uses the format called EPUB, which is this open format that is great for e-book readers. Now it makes them different than PDF files, PDF lay out everything precisely so they look exactly the same no matter where you view them. EPUB is a different animal, what it does it allows the text to flow depending on the size of the text, size of the page and all sorts of different factors. So you can actually adjust how you read a book and you can read it on different size screen devices. so how do you get one of your files, say you have a text file or a PDF file, you get it into EPUB format so you can view it using iBooks. Well you have to use a conversion program.
Let’s go and take a look at one.
So there are many programs which can do this, the one i am going to use is called Calibre. You can get it at calibre-e-book.com
So lets now import a book. I am going to do it in a text file format, to be the simplest. Just drag and drop in there and it will add it to your library then if i select the file you can see things are off or unknown and its got no information because it is simply a text file.
I can see at the bottom I’ve got the format its simply TXT. Now i can edit the information of the book and give it a title.
Now it makes a little more sense there.
now to convert it to EPUB format I can select “Convert e-books”, “Convert Individually”. and i can choose on the left the input format as TXT. On the right EPUB. I can change the title and author and things like that and give it some more specific EPUB format field here. Select ok. And it will work for a minute and when it’s done. You see i got it selected and there is 2 formats EPUB and TXT.
So now to get it to my iPad, i choose “Save to disk” and i can choose ” save only EPUB format to disk”.
It will ask me to choose a destination directory. I’ll just save it to the desktop and it will save it out and what I’ve got is a folder here. and inside the folder is the name of the book and in there is the EPUB formatted file. I can drag and drop that into itunes and sync with my iPad or iPhone. And i will have the book available in iBooks.
Now you can also convert PDF files. So here is a PDF file of a book that you may have purchased as a PDF document. Drag it in to Calibre and it will bring it in and then you got the same thing here where it’s just unknown author and you can set the meta information. Let’s just quickly convert it into an e-book. So we will convert it individually. it will show us convert from pdf format to EPUB format. Give us a chance to change the information here . We click ok. It will take a little longer to convert this much larger book with graphics in it. and when it’s done we will have both a PDF and EPUB format in our Calibre library. so now that we are done. We can select “View” and we can view in a specific format. We can choose the EPUB format. We can see its differs greatly from the PDF format. This is a Calibre e-book viewer and if we go through this we can see that the text is reformatted to fit in a page and you can change the font size for instance to make it easier to read. Where as we view the PDF version of the file. You’ll simply launch it in preview and we actually have it well formatted exactly as you would see it in the printed version of the book.
So if you have a PDF version of a book, you may consider not reading it iBooks at all on your iPad or iPhone but use Good Reader or any PDF viewer and viewing it in that. But if you do want to convert it to EPUB just keep in mind you will lose some of the formatting although all the text will be there.
Now for something like a textbook or something you downloaded from Gutenberg then you can convert it to EPUB format and it works great. Course it also works great if you have something that’s not a traditionally published book. Like say a research paper, maybe something you wrote , maybe a report from work. You can convert it to the EPUB format and use iBooks to read it.
Hope you found this useful. Til Next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.