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Subject: re: How to create sidebars for epub3?

Jason, one thing that you should remember is that Amazon recently made
the Kindle 3s support KF8. Kindle 3s were available as early as Fall,
2010, so that did wonders for backward compatibility. Ideally one
would like to support everything, but I think people trade up their
ebook devices a lot more regularly than their laptop for example. The
Kindle 4 (i.e., Kindle Touch) now sells for $70. I just can't imagine
that there are many Kindle 1 and 2 owners who have refused to trade up
to a 70$ device. So I am comfortable igoring the mobi7 for my ebooks
(although I do try to make sure it's not sucky in Kindle Previewer).

I haven't tried sidebars in epub3, but I played around pretty heavily
with them in epub2. I found that when sidebar is outputted to xhtml,
it adds an extra   <div class="titlepage" /> in the output , and for
me at least it caused major difficulties rendering in the browser.
(and probably  in the epub reader). I even filed a bug about it.
(Make sure to expand to read the comments)  I don't know if this bug
report is still relevant though.

It led me to devise workarounds so I didn't need to use a sidebar on
epub files.

I wanted sidebars to do pullquotes and as a container for image +
caption. I ended up making templates for images + captions which did
not suck instead. (i'll be happy to share them, but I put them on my
epub-docbook dump page . It's the first 2 points.

With mobipocket 7, it was impossible to make any kind of floating
sidebars (or floating ANYTHING); the formatting guide said the only
way to approximate a sidebar  was to begin and end it  with an hr. So
you'd have to do major transformations to the mobi7 output to make it

One final thing with regard to sidebars and new ebook readers. Even if
the sidebars render properly (and I think we're finally at the point
where that is indeed possible), the reading devices of 4x6 inches
don't really let you use sidebars very well. Obviously they would look
better in something with the form factor of an ipad (and you can use
media queries in kf8 and epub3 devices to take advantage of them), but
on the smaller 4x6 sidebars don't give you much. The only case I could
think of for sidebars was a small floating image (less than half the
size of the width). The problem is that the body of the text next to
the sidebar would only be half as wide and would look awkward on a

If I were writing css media queries, I would probably hide the
sidebars altogether from the 4x6 devices.

Anyway, those are my thoughts.

Robert Nagle
6121 Winsome Ln #56C, Houston TX 77057-5581
(H) 713 893 3424/ (W) 832-251-7522 Carbon Neutral Since Jan 2010

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