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.
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.
In Part 1, we looked at installing Dropbox on iOS for file testing. In Part 2, we’ll look at Dropbox on Android.
Time to tackle getting Dropbox on your Android tablets. While on some devices, this is just as easy as installing Dropbox on iOS, there are a few big devices that take a little more effort.
I’ll be speaking at Books in Browsers this year. Books in Browsers was one of the first book-focused conferences that really grabbed my attention, and I’m delighted to be speaking. This year is actually the first time the focus is truly on browsers and how we can make them better for books. I’m loosely meeting the requirements with my topic:
This talk isn’t about how to make better books for the web, it’s about how to use the web to make better books (for all book formats). It’s about tools and processes publishers can use today, and things we could make tomorrow with the current web infrastructure to improve the quality of digital books almost overnight.
While the EPUB spec has improved dramatically in a few short years, it still lags behind the knowledge and tools available to modern web developers. In this talk, parallels will be drawn between current modern web projects and how to use these ideas to alter how digital books are made. Tools and ideas like GitHub, http://www.caniuse.com, pattern libraries, Responsive Web Design, Create-Once-Publish-Everywhere CMSes, and testing/performance suites have obvious benefits to book publishers with only small tweaks. As a book designer turned web developer turned book designer/developer, I’ll show a few projects I’m involved in, and propose a few more that I hope others in the digital publishing community will adopt.
ePubSecrets frequent contributor Laura Brady will also be speaking, so its looking like a couple days of great talks.
Books in Browsers 2014 is in San Francisco on October 23rd and 24th. Tickets are available on the Books in Browsers website. I hope to see some of you there. If you can’t make it to San Francisco, the past few years have been live-streamed—I’ll add a note once I have more information about that.
I have a couple more talks coming up over the next few months. I’ll post them once I have more details.
One of my favorite tricks to testing files across a lot of devices is using Dropbox, a common app that syncs files across multiple devices and computers. Today starts a little series on using Dropbox to make file testing less painful.
Can we all agree that one of the biggest pains in EPUB creation is testing across multiple devices and apps? Not only are there ~5or 6 major e-ink readers you need to keep an eye on, but with the explosion in iOS and Android devices there’s also tablets, phones, and all the e-reader apps for each one.
Here’s a quick way to make file checking a bit easier with Dropbox. It won’t solve the need for e-ink file side-loading, but it will make your tablet and app testing a lot easier.
Adobe has announced it is working on a new version of the Adobe Digital Editions app. The big news is that they are now working hard to support EPUB3 in the latest version (and fixing bugs in the previous EPUB2 rendering system). They are asking for beta testers to run the app through its paces.
In order to get into the beta, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request.
If you’ve ever tried to create a beautifully designed book in ADE, you know how important this is. I’ve been on the beta for about a week now and the Adobe team has been very responsive about feedback. It’s an excellent sign of things to come.
You’ve made a perfect InDesign file. Your paragraph and character styles are perfectly described. Now it’s time to turn it into an EPUB file. One Little Problem:
See those style names? Those aren’t going to convert too well to HTML classes. There’s now a script to help you clean this up.
Today, Adobe releases a significant update to InDesign. One of the new features is a fixed-layout EPUB export option. This much anticipated feature is set to have a big impact on this ebook niche market.
If you spend a lot of time double-clicking Paragraph Styles and looking at this page
you’ll find this tip quite helpful.