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I'd like to create e-book files in the .epub format. I already have the text with some formatting (as .html, .doc, .rtf etc.), and I need an editor (preferably WYSIWYG) in which I can make these changes: fix formatting, fix spelling of some words, add chapters and sections, add a table of contents, add .epub metadata (e.g. title, author) etc. I'd like to save the final output as an .epub.

I know about the writer2epub LibreOffice extension (and I've heard about similar ones). My primary problem with it that in LibreOffice (and OpenOffice) it's possible to make formatting changes which would be ignored in the .epub export. So at the moment I change something I have no idea if it would affect the final .epub, and how I should make my change to have the desired effect on the final .epub. I'd prefer a software which shows the .epub version in a WYSIWYG way after each change.

I'd also like to edit existing .epub files to fix formatting and spelling errors, reduce the resolution of the images etc. I'd like to keep the original structure of the book, but make some local changes, keeping everything I don't change intact.

Which software do you recommend?

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3 Answers 3

Sigil is available for Linux, too, though I have used it on Windows only. It’s free, simple to use, and can be used both in Wysiwyg mode and in HTML mode, though the wysiwyg mode is rather limited in functionality. It would probably be sufficient for your purposes.

Sigil does not read .doc or .rtf files, but you can open such files in your word processor and save as HTML, then open the HTML file in Sigil.

Caveat: What Sigil shows in wysiwyg view is just one view. Different e-book readers display .epub files differently. But Sigil gives a reasonably realistic view.

(I’m somewhat biased. I’ve provided the localization data for Finnish in Sigil, and I’ve written an e-book, in Finnish, about writing e-books in Sigil.)

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Calibre can convert to and from a large number of text and ebook formats in a very easy way, and do this job well.

Furthermore, the most recent version includes a tool called E-Book Tweak, that has an user interface rather similar to Sigil and that can be used to perform the tweaking that you need to do, and maybe even more.

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Sigil and Calibre, already mentioned are very good.

Another, an online utility called OxGarage may be an option for you. That won't require an install of software.

All three will produce slightly different outputs, so you may want to try each and see which one you like best.

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