Awesome Open Source
Awesome Open Source

This is a book on constructing ebooks using Markdown. No esoteric and complicated formats. No WYSIWYG editors. No PDF hell. Just plaintext.

You'll learn everything from generating a TOC to adding cover images.

It'll teach you the very workflow I used to write this book. A workflow that frees you from the constraints of writing in a complicated format that scarcely resembles text, or writing

You'll learn the following;

  • The differences between various Markdown implementations
  • How to take Markdown and turn it into;
    • epub
    • mobi
    • pdf
    • html
  • How to work with code samples, codeblocks, images, TOC etc
  • How to build custom Markdown extensions using Kramdown. For stuff like;
    • code bubbles
    • notes
    • asides
    • and other nifty little doodads
  • How various html ebook format wrappers (such as ePub, mobi etc) work. No magic!
  • Common markdown pitfalls (I documented all my failures while writing this book)
  • Various techniques for previewing your Markdown output
    • Sublime Text Previewing
    • html previews
    • automatic previews using the guard gem
  • How to mirror the Leanpub workflow using local tools
  • How to customize converters so you have full control of your in-between formats; laTeX (pdf) and HTML (ePub, mobi etc)
  • The minimal laTeX you'll need to get stuff done with PDF

What you need to know already

Some hacker skills are necessary to make full use of this book. To write books using Markdown you'll need to be comfortable getting your hands dirty, breaking things and learning. This book doesn't assume you're skilled in any particular language but it assumes you are skilled in programming. Familiarity with your systems package manager will be necessary.

Can you do this? $ homebrew install

Or if you are on Linux this? $ sudo apt-get install

If this leaves you scratching your head then you are not ready for this book. If you are left feeling comfortable and at ease, not queasy and fearful, then you are ready.

Some rudimentary ability to read and edit Ruby will be necessary. If you are comfortable enough to edit Gemfiles and install gems using bundler then you should be fine.

Table of Contents

  • Hacker meet book. Book meet hacker
  • We are going to need a workflow
    • LaTeX
    • Leanpub
  • Flavors of Markdown
    • Github flavored Markdown
    • MultiMarkdown
    • Markdown Extra
    • You might be tempted
  • Leanpubbin’
    • Leanpub Markdown flavor
    • Previewing Leanpub locally
  • LaTeXing
    • Installing LaTeX
    • Installing LaTeX Packages on Mac
    • Installing LaTeX Packages on Ubuntu (and other Debians)
    • Using Packages
    • LaTeX: A Very Brief Introduction
    • Custom LaTeX Styles
  • Going local
    • All the Markdown in One
    • Creating PDFs
    • Images and Your PDFs
  • Common Customization
    • My God, it’s full of Snippets
    • Including Source Files With Kramdown
    • Including Source Files With Pandoc
    • Including Files via LaTeX
    • Generating a Table of Contents
    • Custom thing a ma bobs
    • A key binding awaits
  • A Sublime Markdown Experience
    • Count my chars, measure my words, tell me the lines, express my worth
    • Getting Sublime
  • Pitfalls
    • Markdown Issues
    • LaTeX to PDF
    • HTML, Epub, Mobi etc
  • Prepping for Publishing
    • Converting to epub
    • From epub to mobi and beyond
    • Cover Images
    • Some brief notes on styling things
  • Wrap Up
    • Notes
    • The End

Planned Chapters

Chapters on the following topics are planned;

  • Using Quarto and PDFKit to generate PDFs from XHTML + CSS
  • Web based books with runnable consoles and code samples

This book is currently in beta

It is considered to be about 90% complete and is still undergoing proofreading, editing and revision. The last 10% can make a big difference in the quality of a work so please be forgiving if it does not meet your expectations.

A quick note on licensing

This book is licensed under a MIT license and is open sourced on Github. This does not mean I want you to read it for free, in fact, I want it to be worth more to you. I recognize that the more permissively licensed the more valuable it becomes. The more free my work is to move the greater the potential impact it can have.

My goal is to make the book as valuable to you as possible. So the less I limit you the better.

Feel free to take my book and use it in whatever way you like, in whatever way furthers your life the most. I only ask that in return, you contribute back to me what I contributed to you.

How much this work is worth to you is up for you to decide. I hope you find it's a lot.

You can purchase this book on Leanpub or if you like you can just drop me some bitcoin: 1csGsaDCFLRPPqugYjX93PEzaStuqXVMu or support me on Gittip


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