Call for e-books, electronic publications and related projects @ Off the Press

Off the Press – Electronic Publishing in the Arts: Call for e-books, electronic publications and related projects on Friday 23rd of May, from 16.30 – 17.30

To illustrate the scope and potential of electronic publishing we would like to invite artists, designers, publishers and other practitioners in the field of electronic publishing to showcase their e-books, electronic publications and related projects in an informal setting to the public during the Bazaar we organize at the event Off the Press.

Off the Press will take place on the 22nd and 23rd of May 2014 at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and WORM in Rotterdam. It consists of a two-day conference with speakers such as Alessandro Ludovico, Elizabeth Castro, Adam Hyde, Badlands Unlimited and Florian Cramer, an arts & Crafts session, workshops, and a Bazaar with Drinks. The following questions will be addressed: How can arts publishers make their own e-publications and use the medium in a conceptually and aesthetically interesting way? How do new forms of digital publishing change the role of the designer? What change is needed in your production workflow, from manuscript to publication, if you want to switch to hybrid electronic and paper publishing?

If you would like to showcase your work or project at the Bazaar on Friday the 23rd please forward your proposal (Max 1 A4, max 4 visuals, and please indicate what technical equipment you would need) to The deadline for proposals is the 22nd of April 2014.

Please note that contributions from abroad are welcomed. However, we cannot offer any accommodations or travel expenses.

Off the Press: Electronic Publishing in the Arts is part of the research project Digital Publishing Toolkit initiated by INC. It is a network of two applied universities and art school research departments, four Dutch art and design publishers and several graphic and media design bureaus, which are  working on an accessible “how-to” guide for electronic publishing in the arts along with a collection of open source software tools for editing and designing electronic books.

Converting a Docx directly to EPUB using Calibre

Recently the software Calibre added Docx to its converter as a possible input format. Thus it’s allowed to convert directly from Docx to Epub. The procedure is quite simple. We’ll use the test Docx document provided by the Calibre team.

Add the docx file by drag-and-dropping it into calibre. In this way it’ll be added to your library.

Click on Convert Books in the top bar.

Select “DOCX” as input format and “EPUB” as output, add metadata and click OK.

You should now be able to see EPUB on the right. Click on it to open the epub with the Calibre viewer, right click on it to see the option to save the file to your disk.

Now let’s have a look to the output Epub.

Calibre added a default cover (with generated author and title) because we didn’t specified any.

Besides some minor glitches, all the features of the Docx document are preserved.

Let’s have a look now into the Epub. To do so we need to unzip it. We can either change the extension to “.zip” or use the Epub UnZip tool.

The nice thing is that the conversion keeps (or create) a table of contents, splitting the document in several HTML files. From the document itself:

There are two approaches that calibre takes when generating a Table of Contents. The first is if the Word document has a Table of Contents itself. Provided that the Table of Contents uses hyperlinks, calibre will automatically use it […] If no Table of Contents is found in the document, then a table of contents is automatically generated from the headings in the document. A heading is identified as something that has the Heading 1 or Heading 2, etc. style applied to it. These headings are turned into a Table of Contents with Heading 1 being the topmost level, Heading 2 the second level and so on.

This means that by merging several Docx in a single one, it is possible to obtain an Epub containing multiple chapters, therefore an entire book.

The Epub obtained passes validation and it wouldn’t be too intensive to clean its code, especially if not many styles are expressed.

Metadata should be added or modified in the content.opf file.

Why E-book Distribution Is Completely and Utterly Broken (and How to Fix It)

Already written in November 2012, but still very relevant: A post by  on the politics involved with e-book distribution. Read the full article here

A recent incident involving Amazon and a Norwegian reader has highlighted the sad state of e-book distribution on many levels. For those new to the story, which was broken on Martin Bekkelund’s blog late last month, a Norwegian woman named Linn (described as a friend of Bekkelund’s) reportedly found her Amazon account closed and all the e-books she had purchased via Amazon wiped from her Kindle with no explanation.


Megan Hoogenboom: You and the Book

Megan Hoogenboom (Rotterdam) is a graphic designer who explores the possibilities of digital reading, using the ePub format. In this interview Megan gives us her view on the challenges and possibilities of ePub. Megan wil be one of the guests of our upcoming conference.


You and the book; some thoughts on the practice and future of ePub from network cultures on Vimeo.

Out now: The Unbound Book by Adriaan van der Weel & Joost Kircz

ImageDisplayThe Unbound Book
What might the digital revolution we’re currently living through mean for conventional paper books? Is there a future for the long-form text at all? At the onset of the digital deluge, books had evolved into the perfect reading machine. In the screen era, technology increasingly and emphatically foregrounds itself in the digital reading experience. It is one thing to identify what we lose in the process (which is a natural human tendency), but quite another and, it might be argued, an ultimately more fruitful one, to identify how that screen technology might shape the activities for which we always used to use paper. Screen technology is likely to determine our learning and entertainment habits. Indeed, the ‘industrial’ forms of reading that may be performed by the computer have a very tenuous relationship to what we have always understood by the term. Awareness of the issues, and eventually new insights, are essential if we want screen technology to offer a digital future to the long-form text.

Published by Amsterdam University Press. Order a copy at your local bookshop or online.