Fun With Mobipocket Creator

So it seemed very important to me that the Textaments be available on There were just a few hangups, some of which I found out later rather than sooner. I signed up for a Mobipocket account and downloaded the Mobipocket Creator software, then took the Textament .PDF files and imported them in the software. PDF files are not Mobipocket’s favorite way to go, however I decided to give it a try rather than import the Microsoft Word files one at a time. What could go wrong, I figured. Unfortunately, I was not able to create tables of contents and the program would hang when I tried to finalize a file. After a couple of days of frustration I discovered on Mobipocket’s forums that Mobipocket Creator isn’t compatible with Windows Vista. Luckily, all I have to do in a circumstance like that is turn around and use an older XP box that is sitting right behind me. But because of other duties it took me a couple of days to get around to downloading the software onto that machine and getting to work on the files over there.

A second headache that presented itself was Microsoft Word’s messy way of making HTML files. Believe it or not the files wound up back in Microsoft Word for editing before being finalized in Mobipocket Creator, though they were in HTML and not native Word files at that point. Mobipocket uses HTML as the basis for the files that ultimately wind up in the .PRC format, and for Mobipocket’s purposes the cleaner the better–without styles and CSS. Although Microsoft Word doesn’t use CSS, it does make extensive use of defined styles, as well as throwing in metadata and a lot of random tags with nothing in between them.

Fortunately, a user named JVOG had posted a fix to the Mobipocket Forum in the form of a VisualBasic script and even described how to use it. Unfortunately, it was cut off in mid sentence and lacked the handful of commands needed to close it out and write the final output file (chance are it was also missing a lot of the commands that clean up the HTML, but I wasn’t too worried about that). I needed the script to work. I don’t know any Visual Basic, but because the program created, saved (and then destroyed) two temporary files in the course of doing its work, there was just enough information there for me to dope out what VisualBasic needed in order to close out the loops and write the final file.

I had also downloaded the ConText text editor, so between Microsoft Word, Context, and the Mobipocket authoring software I was ultimately able to convert the Textaments into Mobipocket format and upload them to the Mobipocket site and activate them for sale to customers.  You can download them here if you would like:

One user on the Mobipocket forums described uploading revised versions of his books numerous times, and that’s what I will have to do as well. For instance, there is still no table of contents yet.

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