Full Disclosure: I work on Creatavist, a for-profit product run by the makers of The Atavist. Initally I was hesitant to write this post but others in the community have found the docs a helpful resource and have encouraged me to mention it here.
Creatavist is, like a few other products out there in the publishing world, a Create Once Publish Everywhere (COPE) tool. It’s from the Atavist (a team I’m a part of). If you’re interested in publishing books or longform content on the web, apps, and as ebooks it might interest you. I’ll leave that as the sole sales pitch :).
As a part of Creatavist, we have built documentation for our community of story creators. One of the big pieces I’ve worked on since joining the team is our ebook documentation. While some parts of this documentation deal specifically with how Creatavist manages ebooks, there’s a large section that is platform-agnostic and would be beneficial for all ebook creators.
Note: None of this will ever be complete, and I recommend using this as a best-guess guide, not as the gospel truth. Also see my note at the end asking (begging) for help in finding errors.
While a few retailers do document what they do and do not support, its not always right (Amazon!) or exhaustive. As a part of developing the Creatavist ebook outputs I ran into a lot of HTML support issues. I never found a very good resource in one place for all devices or retailers, so I started documenting it myself and made it available on the Creatavist Ebook HTML Support docs page. Maybe you never knew Kindles don’t support the abbr tag (I didn’t), but you could find it out now by looking at this support page.
I also list image format and special character support at the bottom of the page. These are again things I’ve run into that I think others in the ebook world might like to know about.
Just like HTML, I found it frustrating not knowing what CSS was supported by what device. So as I go through each project I document what I find does or doesn’t work. You can check out my findings here. I also provide some helpful hints on getting around annoying device-specific issues at the bottom of the page (many of these workarounds found their way into Creatavist for our community of creators)..
As a part of the process of developing my own books on Creatavist, I’ve found a need to document a couple other things for myself and Creatavist community members.
We help storytellers make their ebook files, but they need to upload the files to retailers themselves, so we added a handy guide of some retailer specs for them here.
Deciphering what font formats are supported where drove me nuts, so I made a test file and documented my results here.
Can’t ever remember what Amazon devices support KF8? Me either, so I put them here.
Asking for Help
You might notice a lot of empty boxes or answers with questions marks in them. That’s because I either didn’t remember to note my findings or wasn’t convinced by the answer I got. So if you see something I got wrong or something I’m missing, I would sincerely appreciate a note saying so. I’ll update it accordingly. The documentation here isn’t just for Creatavist users—I’d love to see everyone find them useful whether you use our product or not.