I was working on a eBook conversion workflow for a small publishing house last week, as a favour to the owners. I thought I could get away with a couple hours of work: maybe write a few scripts, chain a couple of existing libraries together, and then email them my code. I was dead wrong. I gave up after two days of work.
. . . .
The problem was with Word. Word’s doc and docx formats are proprietary, clunky to work with, and incredibly hard to convert to ePub and mobi without weird artifacts and edge cases. It doesn’t help that the standard publishing workflow is in Word — many writers, editors, and publishers use Word source files in their daily lives.
. . . .
There are two likely solutions for this:
1) Write a perfect converter from Word to X, where X is any other text-based markup format. This is a technological problem, and is incredibly hard.
2) Get writers to write in non-Word formats. This is a social problem, and is incredibly hard.
. . . .
My point: moving away from Word enables writers and publishers saner publishing workflows. It doesn’t make sense for the writing/editing process to be done in a format separate from the ones used in the publishing process.
Word is a curse on digital publishing workflows. The sooner we move away from it, the better.
Link to the rest at Novelr
Passive Guy has managed to become fairly proficient at using Word to format files that he can then turn into Mobi and Epub files with Jutoh, but he still has a deep-seated dislike of the program, which manages to waste large chunks of his time with sporadic weird formatting problems.
He would jump at an alternative in a heartbeat if he found a good one. He’s been playing with LibreOffice Writer, but isn’t sure that’s the one yet.