Some news on the EPUB creation front:
Google Docs just enabled a feature to export as EPUB! To use it, simply open the doc and look under File > Download as > EPUB Publication.
This is a handy and very easy method to create an ebook. However, the consistency and quality isn’t good. The markup it creates is down right bizarre with tons of unnecessary <span> tags and strange CSS. It also does not create a cover. In theory you could open this Google Doc EPUB with Sigil and do some polishing up, but given how unnecessarily complex the markup is, it would be more work than starting fresh.
The current theme of ebook typography and font families at Digital Aladore happens to coincide with some digital typography current events…
Both Google Books and Amazon Kindle announced new efforts in fonts and typesetting for ereading apps this month. Oh the excitement!
Of course, I am not that fond of these efforts– they are the opposite direction of the Digital Aladore project. Rather than hand crafted ebooks with love, Google and Amazon are striving for One Font To Rule Them All. Part of the charm of physical books is their distinctive character and idiosyncrasies. Why don’t ebook readers deserve that uniqueness as well?
The beauty of ereaders is that we can have it both ways: writers and publishers can encode the information about how they intend the work to be presented, but we readers can choose to view it that way OR change it to suit our particular needs. Unfortunately Google and Amazon treat books as only text, adding their own styling and layout as if these elements are completely meaningless. It is great to create better rendering engines and screen optimized fonts and layout, but these innovations should be used to enable authors’ and readers’ creativity, not lock text design into commercial ecosystems.
p.s. you might also be amused by the typographical take down of the Jeb! campaign