2023-02-02    Share on: Twitter | Facebook | HackerNews | Reddit

Writing a Book or Ebook in Markdown

General approach

To write a book in Markdown and style the rendered ebook, you can use a combination of the following tools:

  1. A plain text editor, such as Sublime Text or Atom, to write your book in Markdown.
  2. Pandoc, a command-line tool that can convert your Markdown files to various ebook formats, such as EPUB, MOBI, and PDF. It also supports styling the output using a template.
  3. A style sheet written in CSS, which can be used to style the output generated by Pandoc.
  4. Calibre, an open-source ebook management software that can be used to convert and preview your book in different formats. It also includes a built-in editor that supports editing and previewing the book in EPUB, MOBI, and other formats.
  5. Git, a version control system that can help you track changes in your book and collaborate with other authors.

You can use these tools to write, format, and style your book, and then convert it to various ebook formats.

Additionally, you can use tools like Jekyll, Hugo, or Asciidoctor which are static site generators and allow you to write your book in markdown and output a website or ebook with a template and styles.

Pandoc and Gitbook are two popular tools for writing books in markdown format. They allow for easy conversion to various ebook formats, including PDF and ePub, and have support for custom templates and styles. Pandoc uses a markdown syntax that supports formatting, metadata, and the inclusion of external files. Gitbook provides a more feature-rich platform, with support for collaboration, versioning, and integration with other tools like GitHub. Both tools can handle books with multiple chapters in separate files and allow you to control the style of the rendered ebook.

Writing a Book or Ebook Using Gitbook Writing a Book or Ebook Using Pandoc

Python script

import markdown2
import weasyprint
import ebooklib
from ebooklib import epub

# Function to convert markdown to HTML
def markdown_to_html(markdown_file):
    with open(markdown_file, 'r') as file:
        markdown_text = file.read()

    html = markdown2.markdown(markdown_text)
    return html

# Function to generate TOC
def generate_toc(book, chapters):
    # create the Table of Contents
    toc = ebooklib.epub.Link("toc.html", "Table of Contents", "toc")
    book.toc = (toc,)

    # create the first chapter
    toc_chapter = epub.EpubHtml(title="Table of Contents", file_name="toc.html", lang='en')
    toc_chapter.content= '<html><head><title>Table of Contents</title></head><body><h1>Table of Contents</h1><ul>'

    for chapter in chapters:
        toc_chapter.content += '<li><a href="#{0}">{1}</a></li>'.format(chapter[0], chapter[1])
    toc_chapter.content += '</ul></body></html>'

# Main function to generate ebooks
def generate_ebooks(markdown_file, cover_image):
    # Convert markdown to HTML
    html = markdown_to_html(markdown_file)

    # Generate ebooks
    chapters = [("chapter-1", "Chapter 1"), ("chapter-2", "Chapter 2"), ("chapter-3", "Chapter 3")]
    book = epub.EpubBook()

    # Add metadata
    book.set_title("My Book")
    book.add_author("Author Name")

    # Add cover image
    with open(cover_image, 'rb') as cover:
        cover_data = cover.read()
    cover_item = ebooklib.epub.EpubItem(uid="cover", file_name="cover.jpg", content=cover_data, media_type="image/jpeg")

    # Add chapters
    for chapter in chapters:
        chapter_id, chapter_title = chapter
        chapter_html = ebooklib.epub.EpubHtml(title=chapter_title, file_name='{0}.html'.format(chapter_id), lang='en')
        chapter_html.content= '<html><head><title>{0}</title></head><body><h1>{0}</h1></body></html>'.format(chapter_title)

    # Generate TOC
    generate_toc(book, chapters)

    # Set cover image
    book.set_cover("cover", cover_item)

    # Generate ePUB file
    epub.write_epub("book.epub", book, {})

    # Generate HTML file
    with open("book.html", "w") as html_file:

    # Generate PDF file

# Example usage
generate_ebooks("book.md", "cover.jpg")

Note: The above code uses the markdown2 and weasyprint packages to convert markdown to HTML and PDF respectively, and the ebooklib package to generate ePUB. You may need to install these packages before running the script by running pip install markdown2 weasyprint ebooklib.