Fixed Layout ePubs and InDesign

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Douglas Waterfall, senior InDesign engineer/architect/epub nerd, has a Twitter account that he barely uses. He’s tweeted only twelve times, at the time of this writing. So when he tweets, it means he’s motivated.

Last week, he tweeted this:

Let me translate that for you:

EPUB 3 = Current standard for valid e-book files, supported by most eReaders, and allows for much more interactivity, rich media, and designer control than EPUB 2.

FXL = Fixed Layout (ePub), a subcategory of EPUB 3 eBooks that acts and looks less like a web page and more  like a PDF on an eReader. Essentially, layout of each of the book’s pages is exactly how the designer laid it out in InDesign. Many kid’s books, cookbooks, and photo books are done as FXL. Currently supported by iPad’s iBooks, Kindle Fire and HD, and Kobo devices.

Pre-release = Adobe’s beta program, where volunteer users (who sign a non-disclosure agreement) get access to upcoming versions of the software to test on their own computers with their own files, and report back what’s working, what’s not, and what would be nice to have.

If you can put one and one and one together, and you’re interested in helping this come to fruition, then by all means, use the email address that Douglas included in his tweet and volunteer!

Oh, and in case you’re wondering . . .

#eprdctn = Douglas included this hashtag to ensure it’d appear in the Twitter stream of anyone following the #eprdctn (short for eBook Production) hashtag. You can see the live Twitter stream here, even if you don’t have a Twitter account: The #eprdctn denizens are ebook designers and developers and vendors from around the world who trade tips, gripes, and breaking news with each other. No need to follow individuals, if a tweet includes this hashtag, and you’re following the hashtag, you’ll see what they wrote.




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