I’ve been trying to find a quick and easy way to make epub formatted e-books for a while now. My search is finally over. It’s called Sigil, and like many of my favorite programs, its free and open source. Sigil is an epub creation tool that lets you cut and paste your novel, chapter by chapter, and insert it into an epub formatted structure. It’s fast and easy and yet gives you enough control to tweak your e-book just the way you want it.
Sigil works on Linux, Mac and Windows and works the same on all three platforms. This is not a requirement for me, but it can be quite convenient for households with more than one flavor of computer. What was a requirement for me was the ability to wrap every paragraph into <p> tags so that I didn’t have to write a script to do it myself. When you paste your chapter into a new file in Sigil, it converts it to basic HTML better than anything else that I have found. From there you can format it however you like with whatever embedded font or picture you have.
A few of the epub specific files are not editable in the current version, but if you really need to edit them, just unzip the epub file of your book and hand edit them. Future editions will offer more control over all the files in an epub folder. I used Sigil to make the epub version of my latest book and was very pleased with how quick and painless the process was. I basically did the whole book in a couple of hours. That was including the play time needed to get familiar with how Sigil works.
The project is hosted on Google Code servers and is written in C++ with native look and feel under each OS. You can follow the developers on their blog here. Because this is an Open Source project, you could have a say in future features of the product.