epub poetry fix
April 18, 2012 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Is there a way to cut white space out of the margins of purchased epubs?

I have a Sony Reader, which uses the epub format. I've purchased several poetry e-books that I've found to be unusable: they're formatted with very wide left margins that take up almost the whole screen, so lines are forced to wrap after a couple of words, ruining any sense of the intended lineation. (I assume it's due to the print original having lots of white space there in the margin and/or having line numbering separated from the text of the poems by white space.) Is there a way to take a purchased epub and cut white space from the margins?
posted by Paquda to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Calibre should be able to easily change the look and feel of epub books. I've never used it on purchased books, but I've heard that DRM is not an issue.
posted by muddgirl at 2:39 PM on April 18, 2012

Seconding Calibre. I've converted purchased books, but I've had to remove the DRM of a couple of them first.
posted by clearlydemon at 2:43 PM on April 18, 2012

EPUBS are generally HTML with free flowing text. The reader/renderer is usually what determines the margin width. Most likely is the issue with your reader not supporting as small margins as you would like.

For example, Kindle for iPad doesn't allow you to set margin width, yet you can on a Kindle device, but not to the very edges. The PC/Mac app lets you resize the margins to practically nothing.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:09 PM on April 18, 2012

You can try unzipping the EPUB and see if you can modify the html or the style if the margins are hard coded.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:10 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

When I don't like the formatting of an epub, this is what I do (using calibre). I make a backup copy of the epub just in case, first, and put it in another directory. Then I use calibre to convert it to an .rtf file, and I save that outside of where calibre puts it. I save the cover picture if I have it too, and then I delete the book completely from my calibre library. Then I edit the .rtf to my liking, and then I add that to calibre and convert that back to epub. That way the formatting isn't stripped.
posted by lemniskate at 3:43 PM on April 18, 2012 [3 favorites]

Calibre allows you to tweak individual books (right click on the book and select "explode EPUB", then go edit the XML files) or bulk convert them through the toolbar and the conversion dialog has a "Look & Feel" section where you can enter your own CSS, delete all margins, etc. It can be a little confusing until you monkey around with a single exploded book and figure out what styles you need changed.
posted by introp at 6:06 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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