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Software review: Anthemion Jutoh 1.53

Print is dead, or so they say.

Over the last few years the digital revolution, like with the music industry, has assimilated the book world. While people are still buying recycled dead trees (and I myself hope physical bookshops and libraries never disappear), the advent of cheap E-readers has satisfied the “I want it now, damn it!” demand, reduced the amount of shelf purchases at IKEA and saved postmen from trying to shove War & Peace through letterboxes. It’s even allowed authors to sneak past the heavily manned checkpoints of agents and publishers to try their luck with the masses directly and at low cost.

The only barbed wire in the way is usually the process of creating an eBook file. While print is pretty straightforward, eBook files tend to require a little more work. You can create the appropriate files by getting down and dirty with raw HTML and text editors, but this process is even more painful if you’re working with non-fiction containing, for example, images, references and endnotes. Some people, understandably, pay people to convert their work, but given some of their exorbitant fees it’s best to plump for software that can make life easier. There are pretty good free editors out there but I favour one that costs a little money as you get a broad range of features and support direct from the developer.

Anthemion Jutoh, which is available to evaluate, is available for multiple operating systems, and yet you only need one license for any combination of computers you have; couple that with a cloud file service and you can resume editing work anywhere.
While Jutoh isn’t 100% bug free it has evolved a lot in its 1.53 releases to qualify as a high quality program that embarrasses some of its higher priced competition.
When you load it up you’re greeted with a very logical interface. On the left you have your list of imported or internally created chapters, while the centre of the screen allows you to edit a chapter. There are an array of options to see through the menus and you’re able to generate the two key formats amongst others; Kindle/Mobipocket and ePub. You want indexes and footnotes? You can have them; they can even be imported from OpenDocument files if you prefer writing in a dedicated word processor first (MS Word users can convert to ODT with OpenOffice or LibreOffice). Want images? Those can be imported from files or be pasted in too. Ready to generate? Just choose a configuration, have it validated and then launch it for inspection. Want to make tweaks to an eBook for different publishing platforms without saving multiple projects? Mark texts with options such as ‘for Kindle only’ and you won’t see those bits in an ePub, for example.

The only thing I must stress is that you must learn to use the styles feature in your word processed files and apply them with consistency; this greatly lightens your editing load when importing into Jutoh. This means marking chapter headings with heading styles and eschewing tab spaces for indented paragraph styles. Ignore that and you’ll learn the hard way.

Sure, you can get Sigil or Mobipocket Creator for free but the latter is woefully poor and the former is inappropriate for referenced books as indexing and footnotes requires more manual work.

So, still interested in making eBooks? Make Jutoh one of the first things you try.  You’ll probably stop there and pay that steal at £24 (£50 for deluxe scripting edition).