There have been a number of great posts with ePUB creation tips lately. Here are four that offer help for creating better ePUBs.
You would think centering text in an ePUB would be a simple matter, but the truth is that different readers handle centering different, especially when there are automatic paragraph indents, H tags, and other considerations. Liz Castro (@lizcastro) has a Pigs, Gourds, and Wikis post on “Centering in eBooks across readers” that will walk you through all the ways centering is handled and how you can adjust your CSS and HTML files to make centering work on all devices.
CSS Clean Up
If you have ever done QA or clean up on ePUB files produced by a conversion house, you know that they often come with a bloated CSS file full of styles that are not used in the ePUB. This can also happen if you are using a standard CSS template file that includes everything you could possibly ever use in an ePUB. When cleaning up an ePUB, all the extras styles can make it difficult to navigate the CSS and find the correct style in which to make changes. India Amos (@indiamos) mentioned that she had a four-step process for reducing her CSS to just those styles used in the ePUB during a recent #ePrdctn Hour discussion, and she was generous enough to share it with everyone in a post and her India, Ink. blog, “Degristling the Sausage.” These steps are based on using a BBEdit text editor workflow, but they can probably be adapted to Applescript, TextWrangler, or an XML editor like oXygen.
Inline SVG Fallback
Using SVG images in a ePUB is a great way to allow graphic images to resize and expand on different sized screens. Unfortunately some browsers, like IE, and some ePUB readers do not support SVG. What is needed? A viable fallback in the HTML. David Corvoysier has created one at posted it at Kaizou in the post “Inline SVG Fallback.” Using it, SVG images can be rendered using HTML instead.
Sacha Heck (@sachaheck) has a good post on use GREP to cleanup extra span tags from an ePUB file at “Using GREP to tweak EPUB-files.” If you have ever encountered the multiple span tags in an ePUB, particularly those creating with older version of InDesign, you will appreciate this GREP.
One of the great things about iBooks and ePUB3 is the support of read aloud text using SMIL Audio Overlays. In execution, putting the overlays together can be a bit tricky since you need to identify the location of each word within the audio track to make it since properly with the text as it is highlighted. There is a great post at the APEX@IGP blog on this, “SMIL Audio OverlayProduction.” It has all the information you need to create SMIL files and make them work properly.
What do you think of these tips? Are there any additional hints you have found recently.