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Template Chooser in iBooks Author

From InDesign to iBooks Author

The tangled toolchain

Can software ever be perfect? Of course not. There will always be the desire for improvement and bug fixing.

Software tools that are most often never perfect are those that need to link up with each other across the vendor divide. We should not complain though. We should make the best of it, and do our best.

Apple have been generous in the latest version of iBooks Author by providing 2 ways that we can get out content from Adobe InDesign into the free 'multi-touch' authoring environment. But, neither of these 2 methods are perfect and we need to develop our skills of patience and perseverance in order to achieve our goals.

I am looking at the following toolchains:

  • InDesign > ePub > iBooks Author Template
  • InDesign > IDML > iBooks Author template > Chapter

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Posted on 05 Mar 2015 around 5pm • Tagged with: Design | eBooks | How to | Publishing | Permanent link to this article

Image for Footnotes in Fixed Layout ePUB

This works best for our Shakespeare Play

Footnotes in Fixed Layout ePUB

If you are an InDesign (CC 2014) user planning to export a fixed-layout ePUB and you have footnotes in your document, you might be dissapointed to notice that there is no option to make these footnotes become popup notes using the ePUB3 standard epub:type.

In the export to ePUB(reflowable) options we can select the popup type, but not for the fixed layout. Your footnotes will remain exactly where they are – on the page. Dissapointing no?

InDesign will expect the footnotes to be in the same XHTML file where they are referenced. There are some settings in InDesign, but nothing will help us convert them to invisible notes that are only seen in a popup. Is there a solution while we wait for Adobe to release another version of InDesign?

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Posted on 22 Feb 2015 around 8pm • Tagged with: eBooks | Ideas | Software | Permanent link to this article

Image for Spacing my Guillemets

Figure 1. Good spacing achieved between the word and it's Guillemets

Spacing my Guillemets

What fun to get the correct spacing for this particularly French punctuation in a reflowable eBook!

« Viva la France »

The Guillemet is used in more than just the French language, but a problem arises when needing to use in an eBook, becasue it is traditional to have a space between it and the word that is being quoted. This is not the case with the curly quotes used in the English language; they, in comparison, simply surround the word with no space.

Why can't we simply have an empty space, after the word and before the word?

3 reasons actually:

  1. First of all typographic purists will know that this is no ordinary space; it is a thin space. Usually 1/8 of the normal word space.
  2. The next problem is that we do not want to allow the Guillemet and the word to be broken over a line. An ordinary space allows the line to break there if needed—don't forget this is a reflowable eBook.
  3. Finally, in a justified block of text, the spaces are fluid; the algorithm for text-align:justify will adjust the space between words, making our space inconsistent.

Is there a solution? And will it work in the ePub format for any or most devices?

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Posted on 29 Dec 2014 around 6pm • Tagged with: CSS | eBooks | Ideas | Typography | Permanent link to this article

Image for Roundtripping InDesign and ePub re-flowable

Figure 1

Roundtripping InDesign and ePub re-flowable

You know an InDesign file is never finished, even if you do save it as 'Final version'!

Get real. You are going to want to go back to InDesign and re-export your ePub (reflowable), because someone noticed a typo or a badly captioned photo.

What about all those edits you made to the innards of the ePub file — you unpacked it, you fiddled with the CSS, you got it just right and you even added some fancy javascript. But now my editor wants me to go back to InDesign. It was inevitable. Didn't you know that?

Can we, save ourselves a lot of bother by grabbing all those changes and slip them into the new version?

Here's how with InDesign CC (2014) — yes you gotta get the latest version.

Frankly, I am only dealing with re-flowable ePubs from InDesign. Not fixed-layout.

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Posted on 18 Dec 2014 around 10am • Tagged with: CSS | eBooks | Ideas | Software | Permanent link to this article

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Education at the Bottom

Oh! Please Avoid Those Page Breaks After

The page-break-after:avoid rule just doesn't do its job! Can we fix it? Yes we can.

You all know it to be true. The one really annoying thing about the re-flowable ePub, is that you are often seeing those sub-titles all on their own at the bottom of the page. Just like a lonely orphan.

You can see an example in the first image here.

CSS has some rules for paged-media that try to prevent a page breaking before or after elements. Try as I might, I simply cannot get this do as expected.

So is there a way to sort this out while we wait for the ereader software to be updated to solve this? Or do we really have to use the fixed-layout option. No!No! Please not that.

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Posted on 17 Dec 2014 around 6pm • Tagged with: CSS | Design | eBooks | Ideas | Typography | Permanent link to this article

Image for Small Caps in Headings, Titles and Proper Nouns.

Figure 0

Small Caps in Headings, Titles and Proper Nouns.

Forgive me for not posting here for a while!

I had an interesting debate with one of my students about using Small-Caps in titles and headings, and I thought I should follow this up, with some fruitful reading, searching and experimenting!

The question is this:

If you want to use small-caps as a style in headings, titles, or proper nouns, then should the first letter be a full capital or should it be only set in the small-caps style.

Is it better to see:

New York

or

new york

 

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Posted on 12 Dec 2014 around 1pm • Tagged with: CSS | Design | eBooks | Ideas | Typography | Permanent link to this article

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Page Numbers and Progress Bar

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.

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Posted on 20 Mar 2014 around 11pm • Tagged with: eBooks | Permanent link to this article

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Dreamweaver search with regular expressions

Add a unique Class Name to the Body Tag in your ePub Chapters

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:

<body id='dream-102' lang='en-GB' xml:lang='en-GB'>

The #dream-102 in this case is unique to page 102 in this eBook. Brilliant, we can now target each page individually with our CSS!

----------------- Continue reading if you have an earlier version of InDesign ------------

This GREP will help you add a class name to the body tag – like this

<body class="page3">

You know – so you can add some special CSS styles to each chapter in the eBook you just exported from InDesign.

Or maybe for each page – if you are making a fixed layout ePub.

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Posted on 13 Mar 2014 around 10pm • Tagged with: eBooks | How I do things | Permanent link to this article

Image for InDesign CC for print and ePub from the Same File?

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.

InDesign CC for print and ePub from the Same File?

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?

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Posted on 06 Mar 2014 around 12pm • Tagged with: eBooks | Education | Publishing | Permanent link to this article

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Skeuomorphic eBooks - do you miss them?

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!

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Posted on 03 Jan 2014 around 1pm • Tagged with: Design | eBooks | Permanent link to this article

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