There Isn't Just One Table of Contents in an eBook

There are two different types of Tables of Content.  We know this is confusing, but stick with it a moment.

  • The first type is the kind you are used to seeing in print books.  It lists the chapter on the left and a page number on the right.  We call this the “inline" or “HTML” TOC, TOC meaning “Table of Contents.” 
  • The second kind is actually usually invisible to the naked human eye.  It's a navigation aid for the device--it tells the device where each chapter or section or piece of content is, what order it goes it, and where it exists in the hierarchy of the book.  This is called the "NCX."  If you've been researching ebooks for a while, you've probably seen tons of questions about "how do I make an NCX?" from folks who are uploading Word files and trying to make those work.  

We make both kinds of TOCs for Amazon.  Amazon requires it.  Users access the first type of TOC by clicking the Kindle device and clicking or tapping “Go to-->Table of Contents.”  In this type of TOC, we create links from the Table to the respective chapters.  When a reader clicks “Chapter 1,” the reader is taken right to Chapter 1.  This is how that type of Table of Contents works.  


The traditional type of TOC, in a Kindle Book.
The traditional type of TOC, in a Kindle Book.


The normally invisible kind of TOC, that guides the device, on a Kindle book.
The normally invisible kind of TOC, that guides the device, on a Kindle book.


As we said earlier, the second kind is called a “toc.ncx.”  It’s a TOC that is actually not typed on a page.  It is invisible inside the ePUB book. However, when a user opens the ePUB book, they can see the full Table of Contents, always available, on the left-hand side, in a reader like ADE (Adobe Digital Editions, pictured below).  In some readers, like the Nook, they tap an icon and the table pops up, ready to be used to navigate wherever the reader wants to go.  



An ePUB displaying the invisible TOC NCX.
An ePUB displaying the invisible TOC NCX.


At Booknook, we make both kinds and put both in every ebook, so that your readers can use whatever type of TOC they prefer.  This meets Amazon's standards, Nook's and Apple's iBooks, as well as others.  



T'was the Night Before Christmas... 

 (With apologies to Clement Clarke Moore, may he forgive my doggerel...)

...and all through the shop,
all we minions were working,
   until ready to drop.

The ebooks were flying,
the covers were spare,
The edits were crazy,
   with "one more thing I must share!"

We waited for Santa,
'Cuz we love old Saint Nick,
But Hitch made us work,
   Waving 'round an old stick!

So slave we all did,
And made all your books,
So that Hitch would say now,
   that we're off the hook.

Come today we're off,
to rest up our fingers,
Our hats we will doff,
   No books they do linger.

But we'll all be back,
Don't give it a thought,
for like all wage slaves,
   we're easily bought.

We'll be back on the fifth,
all eager and fresh,
All ready for you,
   after a well-deserved rest.

So Hitch wants to say,
very strongly and loud,
  you're the best type of crowd.

Indy and Len and Hitch and the gang,
will be back on the 5th,
to do books with a BANG!

In the meantime don't worry,
if you're in a hurry,
'cuz some poor guy got stuck
   sitting here like a duck.

Your emails we'll receive,
so no need to grieve.
We'll be a bit slow,
but we're raring to go.

Your books will be worked on,
your edits still made,
we're just resting a bit,
   before we all fade.

So please excuse the delays;
It won't be for days;
we'll jump on your queries,
   for your wondrous new series.

We waited for Santa,
'Cuz we love old St. Nick,
And sure 'nuff he came,
   It wasn't a trick.

And as he rode off,
into the night,
I could swear I heard Hitch yell,
   "That Edit's Not Right!"


We'll be back on the morning of January 5th; we'll be here parttime between now and then, thanks.