What's an NCX?  Why is that different than the "Table of Contents?"

If you've been researching eBooks at all, whether it's for MOBI (Amazon Kindle) or ePUB, you've probably heard about the "NCX."  You've probably seen people asking about it--how to make one for Amazon, or why it's different than the "TOC," meaning "Table of Contents."  If you're working solely in Word, trying to DIY your eBook, this can be a tough thing to create, and harder to understand. 

If your ePUB version book is viewed in Adobe Digital Editions, which is called “ADE,” yes, you will see a "Table of Contents" pane on the left-hand side. This allows your readers to “click around" to any part of the book that they desire.  In an ePUB, this is not a traditional, "typed" TOC; it's actually normally invisible. You can't page to it, by flipping through pages of an eBook.  It's created in a special file (the NCX), which is invisible until it's called to be displayed by a reading device or software (like Adobe Digital Editions, which is what you see in the image--that pane on the left is the NCX, being displayed for human viewing). The important part of an NCX is that it's not really for the people; it's for the device.  It's how the device knows where it is, in the book; what the "playorder" is (Chapter 1, 2, 3, etc.), and allows the human reader to navigate by clicking on any of the entries, to go wherever they want to go.

Other ePUB readers have different ways of showing the Table of Contents, or making it available to their readers. All are well-known to ePUB readers, and so this should not be something you need to worry about.  Below you can see an ePUB of "The Prince and the Pauper," by Mark Twain, displaying the "TOC ncx" on the left-hand side.  Those entries are clickable links, which enable the reader to navigate around the ebook at will.

 

An ePUB in Adobe Digital Editions with the TOC NCX displayed.

 

“The Prince and The Pauper,” produced digitally by Ignacio Fernández Galván and has been used herein for illustrative purposes with his express permission.

 

 

 

Phone Call Alert! 

(Please read, thanks.) 

Old Timey Switchboard Operator Cartoon

 

Due to the COVID-19 onslaught, we currently cannot take incoming phone calls.  

 

A notification about phone calls:  due to the COVID-19 plague, we've significantly increased our incoming inquiries--nearly double our usual volume--and the number of incoming inquiries by phone has been literally overwhelming.  Although most writers will say that their call "will only take 15 minutes," the truth is, that after 10 years of doing this, most author inquiry calls take an hour.  45 minutes at best. I'm currently receiving 7-10 calls/day, and due to that, I've had to stop accepting incoming phone calls, which my voicemail will tell you. You can leave a message--I can't call you back without one--and if a call is needed, I will of course call you.  But we have very complete and extensive email replies, handouts and our website is very informative. Almost all the questions that I receive during a call are actually already answered on our site, or are, in fact, publishing questions, not questions about our services, what we do, what we offer, or the like.  I already handle between 90-130 emails/day, as it is. I can't handle that many emails and take 7-10 hours of calls each day. I can't. So, in order to be able to answer this huge email volume, to help the greatest number of people, with my time, I've had to stop accepting calls.  I'm sorry, but that's just how it is. I'm in the process of setting up a call-appointment function, for free 15-minute calls to answer questions from new prospective customers and longer paid sessions for folks who generally want consulting on "publishing," generally (and for prospective kids' book publishers, as a special category of paid consulting).  But that functionality isn't yet set up. I hope to get that working the 3rd week of July, sometime.  

Thank you for your understanding.