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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

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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

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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

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