New InDesign 10.1 EPUB features

InDesign was updated in early October of this year and along with it came a slew of new EPUB features.

And while the biggest update announced was the new Fixed Layout Interactivity, we’ll focus on just the myriad of small FLX and reflowable updates in this post. (Don’t worry, we’ll talk about the FXL Interactives in an upcoming post).

If you’re wondering where we got a list of these updates, Douglas Waterfall was nice enough to link to this document on twitter a while back.

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Books on the Web, Part 2: What Still Needs Improvement on the Web

Recently I led a webinar for Digital Book World on producing Books on the Web. It’s gotten a decent enough response that I thought it would be beneficial to publish some excerpts of it here as well. The first part of the series—on the benefits of books on the web—can be found here. You can find the whole webinar archived on DBW here.

In the first part of our books on the web series, we looked at some of the positives to publishing books to the web. While there are a lot of great reasons to begin testing the web browser waters, it’s still early in the development of books on the web. Today we’ll look at some things you should think about before getting into web publishing.

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InDesign FXLs: prevent UI from displaying with touches

If you’ve been playing around with InDesign’s FXL export, you know it allows for a huge amount of interactivity with almost no hand coding.

There’s just one thing they missed in the export option. When you tap on an element to trigger an interactive in iBooks on iOS and Kobo tablets, it often triggers the reader Chrome.

When tapped in iBooks, the iBooks UI chrome appears.

When tapped in iBooks, the iBooks UI chrome appears.

You could argue that’s expected behavior, but it creates a sub-optimal reader experience. The great news is that it’s super easy to fix. Let’s dig in.

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Books on the Web, Part 1: What’s So Great About the Web?

Recently I led a webinar for Digital Book World on producing Books on the Web. It’s gotten a decent enough response that I thought it would be beneficial to publish some excerpts of it here as well. You can find the whole webinar archived on DBW here.

Even though this site is called EPUBSecrets, the truth is we love any book in a digital format—be it an EPUB, a .mobi, or an iBooks Author file. One area we often overlook is publishing books via the web. It’s not the most common place to produce a book, but it has many interesting benefits that are often overlooked. Here’s just a couple reasons why you might consider publishing your book to the web.

A Browser on Every Device

One of the great things about the rise of smartphones and tablets is that they all have one app in common: a web browser. Even Kindle’s e-ink devices ship with a web browser (and it even supports interactivity with javascript). This creates an ecosystem where the lowest friction option to getting someone a digital book might not be an EPUB delivered through a retailer, but might actually be as simple as providing an URL.

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New book proofing tool in iBooks for OS X Yosemite

Prior to OS X Yosemite, Apple had a standalone app called Book Proofer that EPUB producers could use to test EPUB files on iOS Devices. Since Yosemite, however, the Book Proofer app has had issues syncing with iOS.

Today with the release of iBooks Asset Guide 5.2Rev2 (available to users who have access to the iBookstore in iTunes Connect) there’s a new way that will work in Yosemite. Here’s how to easily sync and proof books on iOS devices with OS X Yosemite.

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Fixing Kindle Previewer on OS X Yosemite

Apple’s newest OS X release, Yosemite, seems to be breaking Kindle Previewer. Here’s how to fix it.

Install Java

Download the Apple supported version of Java here:

Install xQuartz

Install xQuartz from here:

Once both of these applications are installed you should have no issues opening EPUBs and other file types in Kindle Previewer.

A big thanks to @elmimmo_ and @BNGOBooks on the #eprdctn Twitter hashtag for their help in resolving these issues.

Art of the Ebook



If you’re in New York I’ll be speaking on the panel for the Art of Ebook event at the Type Directors Club on October 9. Joining me will be EPUBSecrets contributor Tina Henderson and the always inspiring Peter Meyers. Charles Nix will be moderating (his talk at ebookcraft was  highlight for many in attendance I hear).

I’ll be doing a quick presentation on my work past and present, and then Charles will moderate a free-range discussion on what the future of the book is and might be.

Tickets are $5 for TDC members, $20 for non-members, and $15 for students. Attendance also may or may not get you a discount on some titles I’ve recently worked on, so a ticket may or may not pay for itself :)

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RTF –> EPUB with a layover in InDesign

I worked on a large conversion project recently, creating EPUB files out of almost 200 RTF files. I needed to move them out very quickly so I invested a little time in figure out the most efficient means to a finished product that was possible. I am sharing my process here with the caveat that it was specific for this project, and this publisher. That said, it has some universal efficiencies which some of you might find useful.

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InDesign Best Practices for EPUB Exports

When faced with ridiculous deadlines and last-minute, messy copy from editors, designers may resort to bad InDesign habits. Here are some basic InDesign best practices that are especially important to follow when the file will be exported to epub. While there are ways to clean up the problems caused by not following these guidelines, it pays to follow them from the start. And if you’re just too damn busy designing, you can hire a professional typesetter (hi!) to handle all of this quickly and cleanly. Your clients will thank you for providing squeaky-clean files.

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