3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 20, 2011 7:02 PM by Doug_Pardee

    Help! My Validated ePub "Doesn't Work" on the Nook

      I'm a publisher through PubIt. I first listed "Gods Tomorrow" last October, and now have three books available through the store. Apparently none of those books works.

      Over the last seven months, I've only had a handful of sales through bn.com, but I've gradually received feedback that someone picked up a copy of Gods Tomorrow or Expectation, tried it on their Nook, and "it didn't work." They all said they've gotten in contact with Customer Support, but when I follow up later they consistently say it never got worked out. They might have been offered refunds, but they don't want refunds, they want to read the book.

      As the publisher, I've taken these complaints quite seriously. And I've been astonished that PubIt/Barnes and Noble never contacted me concerning what was apparently a flawed epub upload. I generated a new epub, double-checked it, and uploaded a replacement, but that didn't seem to solve the problem.

      We pride ourselves on building meticulously-formatted epubs. I reviewed PubIt's epub formatting guidelines, which recommend checking all of our epubs with epubcheck. We do that. Our epubs work without problem on iPads and in Calibre, and we're able to generate perfect Kindle mobi files from them. Apparently the only problem is with Nook.

      Unfortunately I can't find any useful description of what the problem might be. When I tried loading the newest document (Colors of Deception, B&N ID 2940012354198, just released, and approved by the newest epubcheck) in the Nook PC software, it showed the cover image, and then crashed when I tried to turn the page from there (error code 013). A web search turned up no useful information beyond that.

      Could you please provide some assistance. We would like to publish our books through PubIt, but we are having an awfully hard time just getting them to work at all.

        • Re: Help! My Validated ePub "Doesn't Work" on the Nook
          Doug_Pardee

          Ah, the infamous "It doesn't work" complaint. Darned hard to troubleshoot, isn't it?

           

          I can tell you this much: NOOK uses Adobe Reader Mobile software for EPUBs, so there shouldn't be anything really specific to NOOK. The same thing should happen on a Sony or a Kobo or any of the other zillion e-reader models that use RM.

           

          And it should be pretty similar to what you'd get in Adobe Digital Editions, which you didn't say you'd tried. It might be worth giving that a spin.

           

          You mentioned the cover art, and I have seen quirkiness on NOOK with oversized cover art. Mainly it presents as weird pagination, where the cover might appear on multiple pages and there might be a blank page or two after the cover. That alone can be enough for some readers to proclaim that "it doesn't work" because they didn't try clicking the page-forward button a bunch of times. (I've been fooled by that myself.) NOOK doesn't provide the entire 800 pixel height for RM to display the e-book in, so your cover art needs to be a bit less than that.

           

          If I remember — at my age that's far from a promise — when I get home tonight I'll try out the samples of those e-books and see if they work OK on my NOOK 3G 1.5.

           

          Oh... one other thing that can cause a general "doesn't work" complaint: if the reader downloads the EPUB from his B&N library to his computer using the Download button, the B&N website gives the file a name like xxxxxx_epub.v2.epub. For reasons known only to the NOOK development team, NOOK 1.5 software no longer accepts EPUB files that have more than one dot in the file name. If the user sideloads that EPUB without changing the file name, he'll get an "unsupported format" error. This will happen on all EPUBs that the user downloads that way, not just yours. (Simply renaming the file before sideloading fixes the problem.)

           

          • Re: Help! My Validated ePub "Doesn't Work" on the Nook
            Doug_Pardee

            Okay, I can confirm that the free samples for all three titles open to the cover art, then after about three seconds the NOOK automatically returns to the library listing. If I attempt to page forward from the library art, it pages the library listing instead. This is on (E-Ink) NOOK 3G version 1.5.

             

            I'm going to investigate a bit further to see if I can find out what's up. I'll post what I find.

             

            Update: This is definitely strange. I've run the sample of Expectation through Sigil, cleaned up the table of contents XHTML file (the sample lists all of the chapters even though they're not all present in the sample), and gotten it to pass Flight Crew with no errors. And still it won't stay open.

             

            I've tried to open that sample in Adobe Digital Editions, and ADE shows the cover page but crashes when I try to go to the next page. This happens both with the original sample and with the cleaned-up sample. It happens if I try to page-forward and if I try to jump to a chapter from the table of contents.

             

            So at least there's something you can work with: use Adobe Digital Editions as your test case.

             

            I'll keep looking, but I sure don't see anything out of whack that should give Adobe's EPUB renderer such heartburn.

             

            Second update: I commented out everything on the spine ahead of the dedication. ADE now shows the dedication page, and crashes when I try to move away from that page. ?????

             

            • Re: Help! My Validated ePub "Doesn't Work" on the Nook
              Doug_Pardee

              Found it. The "font-weight" values in the CSS file are invalid. They currently read:

              font-weight: "Bold";

              They should read:

              font-weight: bold;

              Remove the quote marks, and uncapitalize it. Then you should be ready to go. That made them work in Adobe Digital Editions and on my NOOK.

               

              Be sure to make both corrections: quote marks and capitalization. There are three lines in the CSS files on those samples: for H1, H2, and H3.