How to create a (good-looking) PDF and Kindle eBook from LaTeX

So I held a lecture on “Web Application Security” for the FH/Technikum Wien last spring and wrote a small booklet for my students (partially because I wanted to avoid discussions during the final exam). I did volunteer for a anonymous feedback round which turned out very positive for me, the booklet was repeatatly mentioned positively. So I distilled and refined it, tried to improve its focus. As I will do the same lecture next year, I am in dire need of feedback so that I can improve it, so I went to dark places and published it on reddit. I was suprised by the kindness of strangers, also got some suggestions from them. I offer the book for free under a creative commons license on my website, but also created a kindle version of the book. If you’re into web security and have read the book, I’d be very happy if you leave a (hopefully positive) review of the book on Amazon. This blog post describes, how I’ve created both the PDF-Version as well as the Kindle-Version of the book.

For the PDF-Version, i went with the Legrand Orange Book template as it is very easy on the eyes. For source-code highlighting I use the minted package. I do like it, because it allows for easy cut-and-paste of source code snippets and I had some experience with it. The only more complex thing is, that minted needs some special invocations when using it together with latexmk so I created a simple shell script that builds a pdf docuemnt from main.tex:

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#!/bin/sh
latexmk -e '$latex=q/pdflatex %O -shell-escape %S/' main.tex

Calling this script will build the PDF-version of the document, in addition I moved all “real” content into content.tex so that I can use it from within different LaTeX templates.

Creating the mobi-File for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing was not that straight-forward. More I less, I used tex4book, had some problems with the Table-of-Content which were solved by tex4ebook’s author with an additional lua script. First of all you need to download kindlegen from Amazon and install it. So, I created a new latex document:

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\documentclass{book}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage{lmodern}

\usepackage{xurl}

\usepackage{graphicx} % Required for including pictures
\graphicspath{{Pictures/}} % Specifies the directory where pictures are stored

\usepackage{tikz} % Required for drawing custom shapes

\usepackage[german]{babel} % English language/hyphenation

\usepackage{minted}
\ifdefined\HCode
	\setminted{
		autogobble,
		fontsize=\footnotesize,
		frame=single
	}%,bgcolor=bg}
\else
	\setminted{
		autogobble,
		breaklines,
		breakanywhere,
		fontsize=\footnotesize,
		frame=single
	}%,bgcolor=bg}
\fi
\usemintedstyle{tango}

\begin{document}
\title{Einf├╝hrung Web Security}
\author{Andreas Happe}

\tableofcontents % Print the table of contents itself

\include{content}

\end{document}

I had to add some small fixes for using minted, but otherwise this is more or less business as usual. To compile it, I crated a new shell-script:

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#!/bin/sh
tex4ebook -s -f mobi -e build.mk4 ebook.tex

And for getting the table of content right, I used the “build.mk4” script provided by tex4book’s author:

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local domfilter = require "make4ht-domfilter"
local filter = require "make4ht-filter"

local process = domfilter {function(dom)
  -- process table of contents and remove unnecessary white space and <br> tags
  for _, toc in ipairs(dom:query_selector(".tableofcontents")) do
    for _, child in ipairs(toc:get_children()) do
      if child:is_text() then
        -- replace all whitespace with linebreaks
        child._text = "\n"
      elseif child:is_element() then
        local name = child:get_element_name()
        -- remove <br> elements
        if name == "br" then
          child:remove_node()
        -- change spans to divs
        elseif name == "span" then
          child._name = "div"
        end
      end
    end

  end
  
return dom
end}

local cssprocess = filter(function(s)
   local s = s:gsub("sectionToc {margin%-left%:.em;}","sectionToc {margin-left:0em;}")
   return s
end)

Make:match("html$", process)
Make:match("css$", cssprocess)

And that’s it. With that I was able to create the mobi-File which I then uploaded to Amazon’s KDP website. You can download a free sample of the book if you want to check the output.

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