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Otto the Nantucket Whale, the mascot for Nantucket E-Books.

This page includes quick answers to your questions about Nantucket E-Books, and

In many cases, I've included step-by-step tutorials to answer particular questions.


Before contacting me with a question, check to see if it's already answered here! If it isn't, you may contact me in one of the following ways:

In addition, I am happy to answer questions during my livestreams on YouTube. My YouTube channel is



What are Nantucket E-Books?

Nantucket E-Books are the best e-books on the planet. Unlike EPUB or Kindle e-books, Nantucket E-Books can be read in a web browser. No special apps or devices are required. They are also mobile-responsive, meaning they will look good on a smartphone, a tablet, or a laptop.

They have built-in audiobooks, so if an e-book has an audiobook edition, you can listen to it without having to go to a different site or app.

In addition to audiobooks, Nantucket E-Books have a suite of interactive features, including note-taking, dark mode, favoriting, and text resizing.

The note-taking feature of Nantucket E-Books allows the reader to compile their notes into a single file, using the COPY NOTES button.

Nantucket E-Books do not store a reader's personal information, like notes or their favorite books, on a remote server. Instead, they are stored on the user's own device using the browser's local storage, where they have control over their data.

They can be downloaded to the reader's computer, and read using the offline reader.

Writers don't need a special app or service to create a Nantucket E-Book. You can write a Nantucket E-Book in the text editor/word processor of your choice, using the Shanty markup language. Whether you prefer Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, Apple Notes, Notepad, Google Docs, GNU Nano, or if you're like George R.R. Martin and write with WordStar on MS-DOS, Shanty will work with your setup.

You can check out a demo of Nantucket E-Books right here.

What is Shanty?

Shanty is a markup language for creating Nantucket E-Books. The "markup" is a set of rules and symbols that are used to define the structure of a document. For example, if I want to put a chapter heading in my e-book, I'd use a "#" hashtag symbol, like so…

Chapters as they appear in markup

…which would look like this in the final Nantucket E-Book:

Chapters as they appear after rendering

When you're finished writing the Shanty-formatted text for your book, you'll copy it into a text field on the main page of website, which will read though the text and convert it into an HTML file.

When this file connects with other files that define illustrations, appearance, and interactivity, it becomes a Nantucket E-Book.

The purpose of Shanty is to allow a writer to focus on writing, with appearance and interacivity handled by the browser.

Although Shanty is powerful, it's also very easy to use. You only need to know three bits of markup to start creating an e-book.

There is an extensive, free manual for Shanty, as well as a step by step guide to getting started writing with Shanty.


How do I set up the offline reader?

Nantucket E-Books can be downloaded for offline reading. The offline reader is a compact version of the main site that is stored locally, on your computer. This is helpful not only for readers, but for writers as well. Writers can create their e-book, and then copy it into the offline reader to check it for mistakes. It's a great way to test out an e-book before publishing it online.

Here's how to set up your offline reader:

1) Download the offline reader. The offline reader is available from this site as a ZIP folder. You can download it HERE.

2) Find the ZIP folder in your downloads folder.

If you're on a Windows PC, look at the taskbar along the bottom of your screen, and click on the icon that looks like this:

The file explorer icon in Windows

A new window should pop up. On the left-hand side of that window, you'll see a column of icons that looks like this:

Downloads folder in Windows

Click the one labeled Downloads.

You should see your computer's Downloads folder.

3) Find the file named in your Downloads folder.

4) Extract the ZIP folder.

If you're on a Windows PC, right-click on the file, and select Extract All.

The file will now be "un-zipped" into your downloads folder. The original zip folder is no longer needed, and may be deleted.

If you open the extracted folder, you'll find a file labeled index.html. Double-click on index.html to open it.

This index.html web page in the folder will include a step by step guide to downloading Nantucket E-Books and copying them into the offline reader.

How do I start writing a Nantucket E-Book?

As described earlier, Nantucket E-Books are written using the Shanty markup language.

1) Open the text editor or word processor of your choice.

2) Add a title and an author.

The first thing we need to do is set out some information about our e-book. These are things that will help the computer understand what we've written. This is called metadata. You can add all sorts of metadata to a Nantucket E-Book, but you don't need much to get started. All we need is a title, an author, and a keyword.

Metadata in Shanty begins with two exclamation points, !!.

To add a title, I type !!TITLE, and then the title.

To add an author, I type !!AUTHOR, and then the name of the author.

3) Add a keyword.

If you're publishing on, or you're on your own site, and have set up a favorites feature, you'll need to add a keyword as well. The keyword will be used to make a unique ID for your e-book.

To add a keyword, type !!KYWD, and then the keyword. Please keep your keyword short, and don't use any spaces.

I mean it.

4) Add a chapter.

Next, let's add a chapter. Chapter headings start with a hashtag. Add the hashtag, and then the name of your chapter.

You can also add a sub-heading to a chapter by using two hashtags.

5) Add paragraphs

To write paragraphs, all you have to do is write. Just put a space between paragraphs.

6) Add comments

You can also add a comments to your e-book. A comment is a part of the manuscript that only the writer can see. When your text is converted into an HTML file, the parsing program will ignore all comments.

To write a comment, start a line with two forward slashes (//), like this:

If you've made it this far, you've learned enough to create a basic Nantucket E-Book.

As a demonstration, here's a Shanty-formatted text file I created using just the markup from this guide.

If you're ready to take what you've written and turn it into a Nantucket E-Book, check out the guide immediately below this one.

How do I turn my text into a Nantucket E-Book?

This guide builds upon knowledge from the previous guide. The next step is taking what we've written, and converting it into an e-book.

Once a Shanty-formatted manuscript is finished, it is entered into a text box on the main page of the website. A parsing program called Gam converts the text into an HTML file.

Here's what you need to do:

1) Select all your text.

If you're on a desktop, you can use CTRL + A to select all the text. If you're using an Apple computer, type ⌘ + A instead.

2) Copy your text.

If you're on a computer, use CTRL + C

3) Go to, and tap on WRITE/REGISTER.

Write Register Link on

This link will take you down to a section labeled WRITE WITH NANTUCKET. You will see text box on the screen.

Write section on

Tap in the text box.

4) Paste the text you copied into the text box.

On a computer, you can use CTRL + V. Your text should appear in the box.

text pasted in site's Write section

5) Click the button below the text box that's labeled GENERATE MY NANTUCKET E-BOOK.

button to generate e-books

If you did something wrong, you might get an alert explaining your error. The error may look something like this:

Example of an alert when text parsing fails

If you don't get an error, your text will be parsed, and an HTML file will be downloaded. Copy that file into your offline reading folder to confirm it turned out well (you can use CTRL + C to copy it).

Check out this text file from the previous guide as an example of what a Shanty-formatted manuscript will look like. The resulting Nantuket E-Book will look like like this.

One common mistake is to include an extra space somewhere in your text, or too many explanation points on a metadata line, or not enough explanation points in metadata. If this happens, just fix the mistakes in your text file, and repeat the steps to create an e-book.

For example, here is a Shanty-formatted text file with an extra space in the title metadata. See if you can spot it. The resulting Nantuket E-Book will look like like this. Notice how the title has been mistakently rendered as a paragraph.




Text © 2020 NDH Ltd.


Questions? Comments? Suggestions? You may e-mail me at Nicholas[at]NDHFilms[the Warner sister][com]