Easy eBook Creation with Pandoc and Sigil

Recently, I had a rather lengthy Word document that I wanted to convert into an eBook. I love the EPUB format. Whenever I can, that's the format I prefer to buy my books in. When I can't, as long as there's no draconian DRM involved, I'm happy to use Calibre to convert them.

Unfortunately, authoring an EPUB by hand is a royal pain. It's much easier to put together your document in a nice WYSIWYG editor like Word. The problem is that Word produces absolutely atrocious HTML on export. I spent some time over the last couple of days looking for a solution to get easily from Word to EPUB without a lot of fuss.

Enter Pandoc. Written in Haskell (which is impressive by itself), Pandoc bills itself as "a universal document converter". Hit the link to see everything that it can do.

After downloading and installing Pandoc, I fired up a CMD window (sorry, no GUI for you!). This one line turned my DOCX file into a beautiful EPUB:

pandoc -f docx -t epub3 -o output.epub input.docx

When it was done processing, I opened it up in Sigil and was amazed at what I saw! The only edit I made was to add a cover. The table of contents worked perfectly and Pandoc had divided my document into chapters at each Heading 1 section.

Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage


UPDATE: I just noticed today that the full text (with audio!) is now available as part of the LDS Gospel Library app. At least it is on Android. Don't have any Apple devices, so I can't confirm that the iOS version does as well, but I'm guessing it does. Just look under "Family". 

I've put together an eBook of James E. Talmage's classic work Jesus the Christ. I wanted to add it to my digital library, but couldn't find a good eBook (in ePub format). During my search, I discovered that the copyright had expired and the text had fallen into the public domain (at least in the US). So, I did what any person of my sanity would do and I set about compiling an ePub myself.

This is the result. I created the cover art myself (I know, it's impressive!). A link follows. Feel free to download it yourself, because I'm releasing it to the world absolutely free!

Download Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage (ePub)

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Books I Want My Daughter to Read


I'm not a huge science fiction or fantasy fan, but there are some books that have left their collective mark on me. This is a list of books that I loved both growing up and as a grown-up. I've read many of them more than once.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King

Seaward by Susan Cooper

The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper

Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark is Rising
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Life, the Universe and Everything
So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Mostly Harmless
And Another Thing... (by Eoin Colfer)

The Harry Potter Series by J. K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Young Wizards Series by Diane Duane

So You Want to be a Wizard
Deep Wizardry
High Wizardry
A Wizard Abroad
The Wizard's Dilemma
A Wizard Alone
Wizard's Holiday
Wizards at War
A Wizard of Mars

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Prince Caspian
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Silver Chair
The Horse and His Boy
The Magician's Nephew
The Last Battle

Incidentally, a set of three books is a trilogy, four is a tetralogy, and pentalogyhexalogyheptalogyoctalogyennealogy, and decalogy are used for five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten, respectively.