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Saturday, April 24, 2010

FWD: ePub Book Design - Pt 1


ePub Book Design - Pt 1

Walt Shiel | April 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Tags: Amazon Kindle, e-books, ePub, publishing | Categories: Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, e-books, ePub | URL: http://wp.me/peKRL-ik

Over the past couple of years, I've experimented with several ways to produce both Kindle and ePub documents, starting from either an InDesign or a word processor (like Microsoft Word) file.

Initially, we offered only Kindle conversion and developed a straightforward means to extract what we needed from the source files, clean it up using a series of macros, and then fine tune the results with a basic text-based HTML editor and CSS. The process worked fairly smoothly.

Then our clients began asking for ePub formatted books, usually in addition to the Kindle format. So, I found software that would take a well-formatted Kindle file and convert it into an "acceptable" ePub file...but I wasn't really satisfied.

Instead, we learned how to create the ePub files from scratch and build up a file that would pass the latest version of epubcheck software. It turns out that, once you create the set of files required, you can easily turn them into either a Kindle or an ePub formatted result.

If you have a properly constructed InDesign file to use as a source file, you can usually export a decent ePub file that requires only minor tweaking. Unfortunately, very few book designers using InDesign are aware of the dos and don'ts of creating an ID file from which a proper ePub file can be exported. So, more often than not, we have to export an RTF file from ID and then proceed as though we had started with a Word file.

We are now working on standardizing our e-book development to minimize rework for Kindle and ePub formats.

One of the annoyances of the ePub format is that, although it is ostensibly an industry standard, not all devices display the same code in the same way, standard or not. The new Apple iPad is a case in point.

Many valid ePub designs display just fine on the Adobe Digital Editions desktop reader and all active elements work as intended. But upload the same file to an iPad and...oops...things go strange. This forced us to redesign some ePub books so they would work properly on the iPad AND still work OK on other devices, including ADE.

READ MORE: http://waltshiel.com/2010/04/22/epub-book-design-pt-1/

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