We all expect page numbers in our printed publications, but what about eBooks?
Page numbers in a re-flowable eBook, are kind of odd things, because if we (as readers) increase the font size, the page numbers need to change. Page numbers in a re-flowable eBook need to be dynamic and their display is under the control of the eReader software.
iBooks on the iPad displays the page numbers in a re-flowable eBook in the centre at the bottom of the page with the total number included - like this: '9 of 14'. An indicator bar also provides a clue as to how far along in the book we have reached and this will be visible when we tap to view user-interface elements.
But, what happens in a fixed-layout eBook? Do we get an indication of the current page location? And can we control this within the markup or metadata for the ePub3 standard.
Edit: InDesign CC 2014 adds an ID value to the <body> tag, so if you have the latest version you will not need to use the method described in this article. When you export to ePUB, now, InDesign will add something like the following for the <body> tag:
Master Page items are ignored in ePub. TOC is on the pasteboard. Rule is used with an offset to create the background grey on the heading (ACT I). This needs to be put back with the background-color rule in the CSS of the ePub.
Is it possible to use InDesign creatively so that the same file will produce good quality print (PDF) output, and then, with no modifications export for ePub3?
Often times, book publishers will have their design studios working with InDesign to produce PDFs for print output. At the end of that workflow, comes the decision to create an eBook version.
It is sometimes the case that the book designer has used InDesign in such a way that creating the eBook by exporting from InDesign is impractical unless the file is re-worked, with changes to the styling rules; the removal of style overides, the choice of a different font, the anchoring of pictures etc etc.
Through work conducted with my students on a Masters programme in Digital Publishing (OICPS), I have been exploring this challenge, since their stepping through the sequence of assignments goes from PDF for print > to ePub3 re-flowable (and beyond to a fixed-layout version). Phew!
What are the pitfalls and can book designers change their habits so publishers will not need to outsource this work?
With the latest version of iBooks for Apple's iOS7 comes the total disappearance of the 'look of the book'. No more pseudo leather look cover or page edges; no more shaded spine, nor even the wooden bookcase for your library.
Apple's decision to do this falls in to line with the re-design of iOS - making for a much simpler (minimalist - you might say) look and feel. Much of the shine and shadows on any icons and objects has gone.
When it comes to the iBooks app, there are some issues that need addressing and I am disappointed that publishers have lost some element of control. Strange things happen when you compare re-flowable with fixed layout though!