Throughout this section BookDesigner will often be referred to as BD.
BookDesigner is a Windows-only program to convert text content into various e-book formats. It has been tested with MS Windows XP; it's also known to work with Windows Vista if you have the latest BD update applied. BD does not require .NET 2.0 or any other additional library apart from what is already included with its distribution. However certain conversions do rely on pieces of Microsoft Word 2000 or later.
Two steps are required to install BookDesigner:
- Download and install the base release of BookDesigner 4.
- Download the latest BD full release update -- it contains all of the files that have been updated since the base release (i.e. there's no need to run earlier updates). Unzip this file to its own directory, then copy the full content of this directory (and its subdirectories) to the BD directory located in "Program Files", ensuring that the new content overwrites the original files.
 Installing BD in Vista - Best Practices
1. Be sure to follow above two steps correctly installing the latest full release update on top of the base release.
2a. To circumvent Rights Issues you can install BD outside of Program Files
2b. If you install into Program Files/Book Designer select the Book Designer Folder, right click and select PROPERTIES, click on the SECURITY tab, then EDIT the permissions for the entire folder to FULL CONTROL for your user group or yourself.
3. Some have found it important to create two subdirectories in Program Files/Book Designer - these are /Sony Reader and /LastFile (Not sure of exact names... someone pls check and correct) Apparently if there are rights issues they are not creatable. I did not have to do this.
4. In order for BD to work correctly it is important to install the DHTM editing control application that is NOT included in VISTA. The direct download address for this is: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=b769a4b8-48ed-41a1-8095-5a086d1937cb&displaylang=en
5. Finally, there were two command line fixes to get the graphics to insert correctly into BD.
5a. The first fix involves unhooking and rehooking comct232.ocx
Run command line as administrator - Start -> All Programs -> Accessories then Right Click on Command Prompt and Run as Administrator.
You will probably be right in c:\Windows\system32
...if not then type:
(Now to unhook and rehook comct232.ocx type)
regsvr32 /u comct232.ocx
5b. The second fix registers GflAx.dll from your BookDesigner subdirectory
use CD.. and/or CD \ and/or CD <DirectoryName> to navigate to your BookDesigner subdirectory
CD Book Designer
then just type the following (still running CMD as Administrator)
That's what it took to get BD working for me. It was quite a chore to find all the pertinent info in the various threads, so I hope this is helpful.
-- (updated May 11, 2008): I tried these instructions and ran into 1 small glitch. Note I installed to c:\, not c:\Program Files (don't think it makes a difference). After trying to first run BookDesigner, I received a popup, saying "comctl32.ocx or one of its dependencies is not installed correctly." I went to c:\windows\system32 as admin, and did a regsvr32 /u, and regsvr32 with the ocx file, and its seems to be working so far. Note that comctl32.ocx is with an L as in Larry, not a 1 (one).
-- (updated Jan 22 2010): For Windows 7 (64 bit) - follow the above but you can omit registering comct232.ocx. (If you check, the file does not exist but BookDesigner seems to work fine without it.)
 Installation files
- The main installation file can be found here. If that link doesn't work, try this.
- For a local MobileRead copy try this
- The latest full release update file can be found here.
 Testing Update Releases
Please note that these testing releases may have a few bugs left in them. To avoid dealing with the bugs, stick to the above "full release" update. The links below are for the testing updates (new links to be added as they become available):
To clarify, all that is really needed to install BookDesigner is the original install file, and the latest update file which is listed in the Installation Files section above. These other update files are provided for historical reference, and for those who want to help with the testing.
 Related MobileRead Threads
- Discussion of the Updates
- HarryT's Sony Reader book creation tutorial for BookDesigner
- Forum Search for all BookDesigner threads
- BookCleaner files
 BookDesigner's Home Forum
Can be found here (note that it's in Russian)
 Input Files
BookDesigner can process a wide range of formats without requiring any external converter. However, BD does not support DRM technologies nor any graphical content (such as TIFF images stored inside PDF file).
The following input file types are currently supported:
- PDB (some binary types are not supported)
- PDF (text-based only)
- PRC (Mobipocket) (not all are supported, it's best to convert the files first to html with the Mobipocket Tools
 Output Formats
The following output file types are currently supported:
- FB2 (Fiction Book)
- HTML0 (BookDesigner format)
- HTML (ordinary HTML)
- IMP (REB1200, GEB1150, GEB2150, SoftBook)
- KML (Hiebook)
- LIT (MS Reader)
- LRF (Sony Librie, Sony Reader)
- PDB (PalmDOC and eReader formats)
- PRC (MobiPocket)
- RB (REB1100, Rocket eBook)
- TCR (Psion)
- PDF (Adobe)
 Loading Files into BD
Once you start BD you will see the main document area and a secondary area with formatting and other action buttons called "Book Corrector". It's probably best to resist the temptation to expand the main window to maximum, which would otherwise cover the additional windows that are critical to advanced BD operations.
Before any file is loaded, it is recommended to check the program's base settings. Select Configuration|Settings. If the base language is English, it is best to select German to ensure that accented characters display correctly and are not replaced with Russian characters. Also, check that the tables import section is set to either text or HTML to ensure that any tables in your text are not lost.
Click on the Open Book icon or select File|Open Book and select the file to load. After a few moments (depending upon the length and the conversions involved) BD will display the resultant file in the window. In the process of conversion, BD will have made its best guess as to the purpose of each element in the original file. Sometimes it's very accurate, other times it's more far off.
One part of BD is the "Book Cleaner" that will perform certain conversions of text as it is imported to BD. JSWolf has created a set of files that cover known issues such as keeping the em dash in files. The latest version is available here
As with most text editing programs, formatting exists on multiple levels – the book level, the page level, the paragraph level, and the character level. The key to BD is the paragraph level or element. A paragraph may be defined as many things such as Book Title, Author, Verse, or Title (a BD term for Chapter Title.) A single paragraph element may not have multiple definitions.
- The book level is generally specific to the output device. It will usually include such things as the cover and title page.
- The page level will include the margins, the headers, and the footers.
- The paragraph level will include the type of paragraph, its justification, its base font, and the spacing to the next paragraph.
- The character level contains any variation for the selected characters from the base font for that specific paragraph.
 Book Level
There are generally only three options for the book level, to include a cover picture or not, to include a title page or not, and to include a Table of Contents (TOC) or not. To skip making a cover page or a title page is controlled by check boxes in the Options section of the Make eBooks for each specific output device. The TOC is controlled by the Configuration|Settings menu. Even without checking the box, BD will create a Sony Reader TOC from the paragraphs identified as "Title" if the TOC element is checked in the Options section under the Sony Reader in Make eBooks.
For a cover you select the Browse button on the device-specific menu under Make eBooks and select a graphic or picture. This will be the first page you see when you open the book for the first time.
The title page consists of the title of the book and the author. Depending on whether you also have a cover page, this is the second or the first page of the book. In the Options section of Make eBooks for each reader device, there is an option to present the author as normally read or with last name first. The base style of the lettering for each can be set in the Styles section of Make eBooks. The "Swap author and title" button is on the "Corrector" tool palette (the one with all the style names on). It's the 5th button down in the left-most column.
 Page Level
All of the following options are available in Make eBooks for each Reader.
The first section is for setting margins. All measurements are given in pixels and the defaults are 10 on the left, right, and bottom with 0 at the top. This will often leave the page looking like there is a line missing at the bottom.
Next comes the interline spacing. 100 is the equivalent of single line spacing in most word processing programs. Line and a half would be 150. Given the limited space on most readers it's probably best to stick the default (100).
Orientation should be self explanatory.
The Paragraphs separate check box inserts a blank line after each complete paragraph. This is a stylistic judgment for most texts; however, it will wreak havoc with verse.
Headers/Footers insert text on the top and bottom of each page. The default is for the Book Title to be displayed at the top right of each page and the (Chapter) Title and Subtitle in the bottom right. These may or may not be selected and the style chosen. If used, many select only the Chapter Title for the lower position.
The method of display for images may be selected as well as image size. For the Sony Reader gray is the preferred option. Since the images have most likely been sized in the text the best option for size is "as it is".
Under Misc is the option for Page Breaks. This should always be checked as it forces a page break before each chapters change. If additional page breaks are required and entered into the text the “User Page Breaks” can be checked but these page breaks will occur at that exact spot with no regard to the size of the output or reflow position of the document.
 Paragraph Level
Most of the book will be defined as "Paragraph". Each eBook Reader format will have different capabilities for this level in what you can control. The Make eBooks menu selects the format you want to produce and the form that appears provides the things you can change. The Sony section can be used as an example of what things can potentially be changed.
 Sony eBook Reader Styles
On the Styles section of the Make eBooks for the Sony reader is a matrix where you can select the base formatting for each paragraph type. You can select the base font, the style for that font (normal, italic, bold, bold italic), the point size, the alignment (left, right, justified), what percentage of the line the paragraph is shifted from the left, and what percentage of the line the line extends to the right.
You can check the status of paragraphs and find the ones you need by using the "Element Browser" found on the Tools drop down menu. Select the paragraph type you seek and press find.
You can also add additional fonts to the book beyond the three base fonts supplied in the Sony Reader (Dutch, a Times look alike; Swiss, an Ariel look alike; and Courier.) However, adding additional fonts will increase the size of the output file and add greatly to the page turn times when reading.
All of these settings may be overridden by directly formatting the text in the BD editor window.
 Character Level
Character Level allows you to override any of the base setting of characters for each paragraph. For example, you can include a section in italic in the middle of a normal paragraph.
 Best Known Methods
Here are the tips and tricks and the best way people have found to do stuff in Book Designer. Again, most if not all of these were developed for the Sony Reader and may be applicable to other readers as well. Many of these are directly from various posts in the MobileRead forums.
 Basic Level (Quick & Dirty)
At its basic level, all you have to do is:
- Load your RTF file (or whatever) into BD.
- Highlight the title and click the "Book Title" button in the right-hand toolbar.
- Highlight the author and click the "Book Author" button in the right-hand toolbar.
- Click the "Make Sony Reader" button, set the options up the way you want it, and click the "Make" button.
Or, slightly more advanced:
- Load the book.
- Select "Tools/Element Browser" and find all the titles. If there's anything that shouldn't be a title (BD is a bit keen on changing any single word on a line into a title!), change it back to "Paragraph". It's the "Title" styles that end up in the TOC.
- If the book doesn't have one, add a nice cover page and table of contents (I like to have a table of contents at the start of the actual text, as well as the Reader TOC).
- Make sure BD has gotten the styles right for the author and title (it more oten than not gets them back to front - there's a button to swap them around)
- Generate the book.
 Large Books
If you are working on a a bigger-sized book that requires more editing time, it is recommended to keep intermediate versions in BD format (Ctrl+F11).
 Conversion from Project Gutenberg and Other Text Based Sources
Project Gutenberg provides plain text based books with hard returns at the end of each line and a blank line between each paragraph. Many have found it better and more reliable to load the book in Word and run Stingo's Macro to fix the paragraphs and then load the DOC or RTF file to BD. PG also formats italic words and phrases by placing an underscore ("_") before and after the italics. These can be easily found and changed in Word.
Many of the recent book conversions in PG are provided in HTML and these files are easily loaded directly in BD without additional preprocessing.
 External Fonts
BD -> Make eBooks -> Sony Reader -> styles -> external fonts -> add -> choose a font -> add font. If the chosen font can be embedded, it will appear in the "external fonts" list.
 Multilevel TOCs
Using the "Notes and Links" feature of BD, which are very easy to use. A "note" is a place that you want to jump to, a link is a place (perhaps more than one) that you want to jump to the note from.
Go to the "Edit" menu and select "Notes and Links". You get a dialog box - the left column shows the notes, the right column the links for the selected note.
Now all you have to do is select each chapter title (or wherever else you want to jump to) in turn (this is very easy using the "Element Browser"), highlight the text, and click the "Add" button under the left column of the "Notes and Links" dialog. The text appears in the column as a "note", with its page number alongside it. Add all the notes you'll want in your TOC.
Then, what I do is manually type in my table of contents (or book index, or whatever), and then highlight the text of a line in the table of contents, select the note that I want it to "jump" to in the left column of the "Notes and Links" dialog, and click the "Add" button under the right column. This adds the selected text as a "link" to the chosen note. In Reader, the line in the TOC will now appear as a "hyperlink" and, when you select it, you'll jump to the chapter title it links to. It's a two-way link, in fact - click the chapter title link and you end up back at the table of contents.
This is a great facility - it's a general hyperlink system that you can use to do tables of contents, footnotes, endnotes, general "references" from one part of your book to another - really its uses are limited only by your imagination.
This probably sounds rather complicated, but it isn't! The best thing to do is to experiment with it and see how it works - the key thing to remember is that you add the places you want to jump TO in the left hand column, select each one in turn, and add the text that you want to link to it using the right hand column.
 Changing Default Font
File -> Open Empty Book
Configuration -> Fonts - select the new default font and size you prefer. Note that the change will be reflected in the 'Start to type here' line.
Make eBooks -> Book Designer (CTRL+F11) -> name file NewBook
Copy your new NewBook.html0 file (the last position of the file extension is a zero) from your BD subdirectory to the main Book Designer 4.0 directory, overwriting the existing NewBook.html0 file. If you want to be cautious, then first rename the original NewBook.html0 file as a backup.
Thats it. Now everytime you start a new project it will use the font you selected.
 Dashes (short, en, and em)
By default, middle and long dashes are converted to the short ones during the initial book formatting. But if you want to keep them, do as follows
- 1. Tools -> Book Cleaner
- 2. In Book Cleaner at the bottom of the pop up box, in "input file: before formatting": choose "MiddleDashes_before.bcf" and in "input file: after formatting": choose "MiddleDashes_after.bcf"
- 3. Close Book Cleaner
- 4. Load your book
- 5. In "Make Sony Reader file" -> options -> dashes: as it is
 Tips on creating IMP eBooks
eBooks with an IMP extension are support by the eBookwise-1150 and the REB 1200. These two devices need different files since the files are defined for a particular screen resolution which is different on the two devices. This format can be a bit tricky to produce so these tips are designed to help you. There is also a tips section in the forum and a eBook upload section that contains more information on this format. For questions go to the forum but this section should help you get started.
Here are the steps to build an IMP book.
- Create the book in BD that you are satisfied with.
- Select REB1200, GEB1150... from the menu "Make eBooks" or click Make-Imp ebook from the icons.
- You will get a message that the book contains symbols ... Select NO.
Note that selecting yes at this point will build a multi-language book that is an image for each page. It will be 3 to 5 times bigger and you will not be able to zoom the book. (However you will have font control and other features).
- A form will appear that will be used to build the book.
Be sure you select GEB1150 or REB1200 depending on which book you want to build Make sure the title and author are correct. Select the preferences you like for the book.
- click make book and your book will be made and placed in the imp directory.
 Tip #1 font sizes
This tip is from the forum. The default size font is x-small for books you build in BD and they will zoom to medium. The latest file (PubUtil21.dll) can be downloaded from here and unzipped. Place in the BD installation replacing the file that is there. This change will make the default size small and the zoom size large.
 Tip #2 margins
There is no way in BD to change the margins or other CSS items. However it is possible to add this data to the file before converting it. All you need is a text editor and to follow these steps:
- Ensure you have checked the 'load last book at startup' in Configuration/Settings/program settings menu item for this to work better.
- Finish your eBook, save it and exit BD.
- Now with your text editor, open the .html0 file in the 'LastFile' directory (in the BD install directory).
- Just AFTER the <BODY ...> tag, insert the following:
<span style="margin-left: 2%; margin-right: 2%;">
and save the .html0. You can change the % to suit your own preferences (including 0%).
- Restart BD, have it load the last book you were just working with (and inserted that line) and 'make eBook' as usual.
Other items can be modified it in the style statement but BD may not understand all of them.
 Book Designer Hints And Tips
 Graphical Guide to Starting out in Book Designer
If you are Starting out In Book Designer, or Just want to See some of its functions and Screen shots, The Following Should Help You. Book_Designer_Graphical_Guide