It seems that the words eBook and ePub are on everyone's lips these days, and that there is a genuine interest for publishing books and magazines electronically. So one night I was laying in my bed with my eyes wide open (happens a lot...) and thought to myself that I should really learn the ins and outs of that new, so much talked about, format. Is there a better way to learn about creating ePub from InDesign than writing an eBook about how to do it myself? Well my friends, here it is: How to Create an eBook with Adobe InDesign CS5 - A step by step guide to creating ePub with InDesign. In this eBook you will learn about all the things I have come across while creating the eBook using InDesign.
I have made the eBook available on the Amazon Digital Text Platform, making a conscious decision not to apply any kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) to it. The publishing to the Amazon platform was something I decided very early on in the writing process, because that would have meant that I was able to close the circle: writing > layout > ePub export > publishing. Basically I became the publisher of myself. And all that using Adobe InDesign.
Grab your copy of How to Create an eBook with Adobe® InDesign® CS5 [Kindle Edition]
Amazon has all kinds of readers, for iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, Mac, and even Blackberry, not only for their own Kindle device. You can download them here: Free Kindle Reading Apps.
I thank Pariah Burke for having a look at the text when my eyes couldn't any more, and Marijan Tompa for creating the Illustration on the cover.
Let me know what you think about the eBook!
Also make sure to check out this free ePub about CSS and XHTML Tags for ePub, it can serve as a good reference guide as you tweak the CSS in ePub generated with InDesign.
This eBook also has a companion page on Facebook.
From the Introduction of the eBook.
The acronym ePUB, which stands for electronic publication, has been capitalized in almost every possible way: ePub, ePUB, EPub. epub, or even EPUB. Pick your favorite... Throughout this eBook I have chosen to use the ePub variant, which is much easier on my designer eyes. The official ePub logo of the International Digital Publishing Forum uses the ePUB version, although they themselves, use EPUB in their literature. Go figure.
As a designer, there are quite a few formatting issues with ePub that I had to overcome and learn to live with. You’ll have to go through the same catharsis... Let’s all stand up, shout it out loud, and get it over with: I, as the designer or publisher, have little or no control over how my reader will view my eBook! Bite the bullet, and let us move on.
What is an ePub? An ePub is the electronic version of a publication that has been optimized for on-screen viewing. On-screen is a very multifaceted term, as there are many different types of screens ePub can be viewed on, from the monitor of your PC, to a variety of devices that range from your cellular phone, to dedicated eBook readers, to tablet computers, each with differing resolutions and sizes. What this means is that you need to keep all these different “formats” in mind to optimize the user’s reading experience.
In order to accommodate for various screen sizes, the ePub format describes a single and continuous flow of text and images, very much like an antique scroll, from a beginning to an end. What makes the ePub format incredibly flexible is that text and images re-flow within the space allocated to viewing it, meaning that text lines will be shorter on your mobile phone and longer on a tablet. An ePub does not have fixed margins, does not have page numbering, does not display specific font size or face. Basically this could very well prove to be a designer’s worst nightmare... The beauty of ePub, just as happened with HTML for the web, is that designers have to make do with what is available, and learn a whole new way of publishing their content within fixed limits. So you need not worry about perfect justification, kerning, or hyphenation, as all these attributes will be lost depending on the size of your reader’s screen, the font your user chooses to view the eBook with, and in some cases even the background color or texture. As mentioned before, you have little or no control. What you do have though, is the opportunity to create the ePub with InDesign in such a way that your reader will not feel the need to personalize his/her reading experience; and this is what we will be looking at in this eBook.
Of course, InDesign is not the only application on the market that enables you to create fully-fledged ePub. The title of this book being How to Create an eBook with Adobe InDesign CS5, I am safely assuming that you are indeed an InDesign user and that you want to leverage your existing knowledge of InDesign to create eBooks.
I will not cover the ins and outs of the generated ePub files, limiting myself to describe just the necessary knowledge of XHTML and CSS to tweak the ePub that InDesign generates.
The intention of this eBook is to guide you through the steps that I have taken to take my own content into InDesign, format it, export it as ePub, tweak it, and ultimately publish it online. By following the basic instructions, you will be able to create your own eBooks with your own content using InDesign.
From the table of contents:
I - Introduction
II - What’s New in InDesign CS5 and ePub Features
III - Creating a New InDesign Document with ePub in Mind
IV - Working with Text
V - Creating Hyperlinks and Cross-References
VI - Working with Graphics
VII - Defining the Reading Order of the ePub
VIII - Creating the “Cover” for the eBook
IX - Creating the Table of Contents (TOC)
X - Adding Metadata
XI - Using the InDesign Book Panel
XII - Exporting to ePub
The second part of this eBook investigates ways to tweak your ePub (Geek alert!).
Appendix A - What is in an ePub?
Appendix B - Tweaking CSS and XHTML Code