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Sausage & Laws; or, Making P+E books with CSS & HTML

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A talk at Books in Browsers 2013, about making print books (& ebooks) with HTML & CSS using PressBooks.

A talk at Books in Browsers 2013, about making print books (& ebooks) with HTML & CSS using PressBooks.

Published in: Education, Technology, Business

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  • 1. Sausage & Laws
  • 2. or...
  • 3. In the trenches building print books & ebooks using HTML + CSS
  • 4. @hughmguire @pressbooks pressbooks.com
  • 5. PressBooks is a: content management system & export system for books.
  • 6. Input your book once, we output: * * * * * PDF (typeset) EPUB (for iBooks, Nook etc) MOBI (for Kindle) Web other XML
  • 7. For every book, customizable template ebook & PDF output: ibooks kindle print (pdf)
  • 8. Some things that I think are really interesting about PressBooks:
  • 9. 1. All PressBooks books have a native web version, out of the box.
  • 10. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  • 11. 2. PressBooks is open source.
  • 12. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  • 13. 3. With an online system like PressBooks it’s easy to make an API for books.
  • 14. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  • 15. except...
  • 16. 4. PressBooks is a single-source book production system that produces PDF, EPUB & MOBI...
  • 17. !!interesting!!
  • 18. publishers, authors want to hear more!! (readers don’t care)
  • 19. ... using HTML + CSS!!
  • 20. (publishers, authors and readers don’t care)
  • 21. Conclusion:
  • 22. Publishers and authors are interested in ways to: a) save money b) make money
  • 23. "If you like laws and sausages, you should never watch either one being made." -- (mis)attributed to Otto van Bismarck
  • 24. A couple of PDFs built with CSS + HTML
  • 25. Another one...
  • 26. The Power of Stylesheets & a CMS
  • 27. The Catch.
  • 28. CSS doesn’t handle fine-tuned typography vey well.
  • 29. ... widows ... orphans ... bottom-balancing(!) ... bad breaks ... flowing text around strange stuff.
  • 30. ... widows & orphans can be controlled with: p { widows: 2; orphans: 2; }
  • 31. ... but the penalty is bad bottom-balancing:
  • 32. .loose { letter-spacing: 0.25px; word-spacing: 0.075em; }
  • 33. .tight { letter-spacing: -0.25px; word-spacing: -0.075em; }
  • 34. If the W3C (et al) can figure out how to solve/address bottom-balancing with CSS... CSS will become an obvious choice for typesetting print/pages.
  • 35. It might happen anyway.
  • 36. @hughmguire @pressbooks pressbooks.com