InDesign CC e-pub export problem

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by monokakata, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. monokakata macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #1
    I design the produce books for a small publisher. In the past, we've only put out Kindles, and I've used the Kindle plugin for CS6 to make them. No problems, really, except that I have to move the book from CC to CS6 and work there. We only do 4-5 books a year, so that overhead isn't really too high.

    However, now we want to make iBooks. Accordingly, I've begun to use the epub export facility on InDesign CC (latest). I like it, but there's a problem I can't solve, and I can't find the right combination of search terms to get me going. I thought I'd ask here before turning to the Adobe forums.

    Our books (and everyone else's) always have a "half title page," generally the 3rd page in, on which we put a graphic (jpg, usually a version of the cover), the title, the author, and the publisher (each in its own text box). I've attached an example. In the print world there's not the least problem, of course. It's an easy thing.

    CS6's Kindle generator doesn't assemble the page correctly, so I typically make a jpg of the entire half title page and drop it in as an image. I can't control the size, but that's OK with the authors and publisher and presumably the readers.

    I've got a handle on everything I need to do with CC's epub export except how to make the half title page's jpg stay put on its own page, no matter how the reading window is resized. Although I figured out a workaround, I can't find a straightforward way to place what amounts to a page feed before that page and its image. I may be doing something wrong (I've only been at this a week), but I can't make the epub export module give me a new page before a graphic. Everywhere else, when I need a new page, I take the top text and apply a paragraph style that includes "Split document (epub only," and it works as it should.

    But not with images. I spent some time trying to figure out whether using an anchor would solve my problem, but I failed. It's entirely possible that I don't properly understand what an anchor is, but in any case every time I thought I'd anchored the image, it wouldn't stay put.

    I had to get iBook samples out to the author and a few readers, so I punted by placing a single period at the top of the page on which I wanted the image, and tagging it with the Split style. Then I made the period very small and turned it white. In iBook reader, it's not visible and the graphic stays where I want it. But it's just a workaround and I'd like to learn how to do it right, before the book goes on sale (in 3 weeks). I'm also going to make iBook versions of the publisher's entire catalog (20+ books) and I'd like to learn The Right Way before starting that task. Maybe there's a way to keep 3 text boxes and a jpg in a particular relationship on the same page (just as I do in print) in an epub page. I just don't know.

    So: can anybody tell me how to place an image on a page and force it to stay there in relation to the
    immediately-preceding page?
    TN htp small.jpg
     
  2. dwig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Location:
    Key West FL
    #2
    I don't use InDesign to produce ebooks, but from what I've read, primarily on the MobileRead forum, there is little chance that you can get this type of polish from Id's exporter. There might be a way, but it will likely be similar to your klug with the invisible period. You will likely need to massage the output in a real ePub editor to accomplish your task cleanly.

    Basically, ebooks in Mobi/AZW format or ePub format do not have pages, as such. They have sections that are structurally more like chapters in a print book. To get the graphic on a separate screen it needs to be in a section by itself. In an ePub this means a separate xHTML file in the ePub. There are tags that can ask the reader app to jump to a new screen, but these are not universally supported. Splitting the xHTML file so that the graphic is in its own file assures wider compatibility.

    I suggest that you look in to adding either Sigil or Calibre to your toolkit. Calibre is a "Swiss Army Knife" tool but its Editor is an excellent standalone tool and very similar to Sigil which is only an ePub editor. Calibre also contains a format converter and functions as a library manager. Both tools are very well supported, update regularily, and use forums at MobileRead as their support channel. For true, wide publication, I would recommend that you export all books to ePub, polish them in a real ePub editor, and then use Amazons Kindle Previewer or their KindleGen (built into Previewer) to convert the ePub if needed.

    Check out:
    MobileRead at http://www.mobileread.com/
    Calibre at http://calibre-ebook.com/
    Sigil at http://sigil-ebook.com/
     
  3. monokakata, Aug 23, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016

    monokakata thread starter macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #3
    Thanks! I'm glad to know that I don't seem to have missed a widely-known technique.

    Yes, I know that about "pages." I should have said "sections," as you did. I'll make sure I do that from now on, if this discussion continues.

    I have Calibre and took a quick spin through its tools yesterday. I used it to create a .mobi file from the epub one, and that worked well except that because I let Kindle have its own way with fonts, the Kindle ended up with a big fat black period where the iBook showed nothing.

    I didn't use Calibre's Editor, but I'll explore that today.

    Thanks again.

    ========
    Well, I'm always suspicious of solutions that are very simple, but I used Calibre's editor to take out my kludge, and insert <p> ... </p> where it was, and both the epub and the mobi now put the jpg at the head of a new section.

    Thanks for the suggestion, dwig.
     
  4. dwig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Location:
    Key West FL
    #4
    Classic versioins of the Amazon (nee MobiPocket) ebook formats do not support embedded fonts and most readers do not support adding fonts to the reader's basic set. The much more modern Amazon formats do have support for embedded fonts. As a general rule, the MOBI designation is used when referring to one of the older format variants. The newer formats are somewhat different and generally use an AZW or AZW3 extension.

    The original MobiPocket format was based on HTML 3.2 and is equivalent of what would have been ePub 1 if there was such a thing. It is somewhat limited by today's standards. The AZW3 is roughly equivalent of ePub 2 with some additional enhancements and pretty close to ePub 3. You should try Calibre's conversion to AZW3, instead of MOBI, if you need special font handling.
     
  5. monokakata thread starter macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #5
    In the past -- when I used Amazon's CS6 Kindle plugin -- I would choose to not embed any fonts. This was because I wanted to make the most generic Kindle I could. We didn't know, and still don't know, whether our audiences are people who bought a Kindle years ago and have just kept using it. That's our guess, though, so we want to be as backwards-compatible as possible.

    When I used Calibre to make a mobi file (meaning for the current project), I chose the option to include both old and new formats. That seemed the best choice.

    Overwhelmingly, the press moves print copies rather than ebooks and as typical for very small presses, in small quantities. But the book I'm working on now is the first from the press that we think -- and the author thinks -- is likely to sell well. As is probably obvious from the image, it's gay-themed. The author thinks that her potential audience will be wanting ebooks much more than printed copies. This is what pushed me to start with iBooks. Previously the press did only Kindles.

    Thank you for those links, by the way. I haven't explored the sites, but I will. I'm sure I'll learn a lot more about the ebook world than I know now.
     
  6. russ99 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #6
    Creating a fixed layout ePub from InDesign is much more forgiving.

    Be sure you use OpenType or TrueType fonts for all text, since ePub doesn't support other font formats.
     
  7. monokakata thread starter macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #7
    Thanks. I'll experiment with that.

    I had the notion that fixed layout was undesirable if trying to output for a variety of devices (and be as generic as possible).
     
  8. dwig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2015
    Location:
    Key West FL
    #8
    True, fixed format is not all that widely supported.

    The Calibre dual format MOBI conversion is useful for making a single file with very broad compatibility, but generates a larger file as there are actually two copies of the book in the file. KindleGen, and Kindle Previewer, do the same and also embed the original ePub as well. Their output is the most reliable for publishing on Amazon. If you are publishing on your own site, or on the author's, then Calibre's output is fine. If the dual format output is overly bulky, you could output an "old" MOBI and an AZW3 separately and offer both for download.
     
  9. monokakata thread starter macrumors 68000

    monokakata

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Location:
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    #9
    We'll be on Amazon (the version I made with CS6/Kindle plugin is already uploaded and I don't have to redo that one unless I want to) and the epub version will go up on iBooks.

    Our entire catalog is already in Kindle. Over the next month or so I'll make ePub versions of everything and get them on iBooks. Poetry (most of the catalog) sells poorly as ebooks, but I'll do them anyway. There's a decent market for prose, so I'll do those first.

    We're not going to be selling anything directly. As you probably know, many small publishers try to avoid selling direct, because of warehousing, shipping, staffing, and so on. Instead we use a POD printer who handles all that for us; resellers order from them. The publisher doesn't want to get into direct delivery of ebooks.

    I'll probably get into Nook, as well.

    Thanks for the tips.
     

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