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Old 06-30-2010, 01:27 AM   #1
Mike
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Default The making of an e-Book

I've been experimenting with making epubs that I can use on my iPod - so far without much success.

I started by trying to use pdfs on the iPod but they have limited appeal on a small reader screen. I then downloaded a 'real' ebook from iTunes and that worked really well. The text was flowed to fit the screen.

So I decided to used inDesign to create an ebook. Using ID CS3 produced a book of sorts but most of the illustrations appeared at the end rather than where they should have been. Most of the paragraph style formatting was lost. Chapter headings no longer appeared on a fresh page and all the chapters were numbered '1'.

So I downloaded a demo copy of ID CS5 thinking that would be better but the results were virtually identical.

So, what's the best, affordable way of producing ebooks - preferably on a Mac?

   
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:02 AM   #2
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My experience is that to make an eBook format you have to just begin with a file which is clean of formatting like a .txt file. And then put that into .html format and put all your design into that
The images have to be loaded under that format as well.

Systems which do automatic conversion from .pdf to .html usually do so with a little corruption, causing pages to jump and images to appear where they are not wanted or not to appear at all.

There are free programs like mobi which can be used to make a clean .html file.

And also the more complex programs like Dreamweaver and Microsoft Expression Web will also do it.

I experimented changing .docx files into .htlm because you can do that with a click in Word 2007. Some Adobe programs do the same as well but I found that invariably something goes amiss in the transfer and extra .html codes are added in the process, corrupting the file.

So if you want a clean .html file which will work with all the eBook devices, it is best to begin with the .txt file with all previous formatting removed and then put that into .html.

All the systems like Adobe Indesign and Microsoft Word mark up the files with hidden codes and that is why all sorts of irregular things appear in the file, when an automatic conversion is done.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:24 AM   #3
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That's odd. I've read that most publishers are using InDesign to create their ebooks.

   
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:30 AM   #4
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As Michael says, I think HTML is the way to go, using CSS for style control. But I haven’t done it.

There is some information on Wikipedia (of course there is!).

Be sure to use UTF-8 for character encoding.

   
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Old 06-30-2010, 02:38 PM   #5
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I bought a Sony Pocket eReader and use calibre to download daily news from the Independant which I then read using calibre's reader or transfer to the Sony if I am going elsewhere. This software can also convert between formats, change fonts etc, so is useful.

For producing ePub files I have come across eCub but have not had time to experiment with it yet.

Both eCub and calibre are available for Mac and Windows.

   
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
So I downloaded a demo copy of ID CS5 thinking that would be better but the results were virtually identical.
To get illustrations in place, they need to be anchored in the original. To get new chapter breaks, you need to break the document into multiple documents and put them into a book. And you need to use particular names for paragraph styles, or edit your CSS file.

Yes, this is primitive stuff -- the command you use to export just runs a series of scripts.

I suspect publishers are using a variety of cobbled-together systems, combined with varying amounts of manual clean-up. And low standards.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:51 AM   #7
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Yes, this is primitive stuff
Certainly does sound like it.

I was hoping that repurposing had progressed more than that. Having spent the time setting a 400-page book for print I don't think I want to make much of an effort just so that I can read it on my iPod. What happened to all those dreams we had about creating a document once and just pushing a button to get it into another form?

Maybe ID CS6 will improve matters.

   
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:01 AM   #8
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Quote:
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That's odd. I've read that most publishers are using InDesign to create their ebooks.
FWIW, the e-books we currently have available for download at the library are either Adobe or Mobi-pocket. We haven't bought any, so I can't report on details, but they're guaranteed by the supplier and other libraries have bought them. And these formats have been available for at least 4 years in my experience with the supplier.

   
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:18 AM   #9
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What happened to all those dreams
They're still just that. It seems too many people swallowed the "it's the content" nonsense, which was fine when people were giving content away but doesn't stand up so well when you're asking people to pay good money.
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Old 07-04-2010, 09:27 PM   #10
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Adobe has some how-to articles (from CS4 times) here:
http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/epub/howto/
... and more resources here:
http://www.adobe.com/products/creati..._software.html

   
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