View Full Version : InDesign CS5 to epub and mobi Workflow


nhmuse
08-15-2011, 03:10 PM
Hello -- I'd like to put a wish list out there for a forum for InDesign users exporting to epub, and also using the Amazon Kindle's plug-in to export to .mobi

Mac User - OSX 10.6.8 at the moment. InDesign CS5.

I have an archive of about 200 books created for print in InDesign, and I'm just now beginning to create epub and mobi versions of them.

I am developing a workflow using the guidelines in Liz Castro's book on Epubs, and Anne-Marie Concepcion's video tutorials on Lynda.com.

I massage the InDesign print documents to suit epub requirements, then export to epub from InDesign, then use Sigil to tweak. This is working fairly well.

I massage the InDesign file again, to get it ready to export properly using the Kindle plug-in for mobi. I use a program called Springy to view the contents of the mobi , and right-click on a file to edit it with a text editor (in this case, BBEdit, but you can also use any text editor that doesn't mess with the html -- in other words -- NOT Word). You can also use Dreamweaver in code view or any good html editor.

For epub validation, I am using the online validator at http://threepress.org/document/epub-validate/ and I've downloaded the recommended epubcheck but haven't used it yet.

For mobi validation, I am using Amazon Kindle Previewer.

Is anyone else out there using a similar workflow?

I am looking for other folks who might be using this workflow or something similar to it.

Do you think there's enough of us to have our own forum?
How do you create a forum?

thanks for reading.

wannabee
08-17-2011, 10:41 AM
I export to ePub from CS5, split it in Sigil, fix the cover meta data in the OPF in notepad++ and when I have a working validated ePub, convert it to mobi in calibre.
I installed the CS5 hyperlink fix that Liz Castro mentioned in her book and donated to the fellow who made it. (that was a year ago, can't remember his name but saved me a ton of trouble)

With 200 books to do you need to get as much feedback from this thread as possible.

I had a few troubles with the kindle plug in and have not with the calibre conversions from ePub. The main dramas I've had is with tables in mobi. You need to redo the tables as text if they are too wide which requires editing by the authors, or doing it yourself and getting them to approve it.

Are they novels? The books I am doing a medical texts with recipes, illustrations and tables of natural remedies etc. Novels would be so much more fun I think. The guys that have been around here for a while have them down pat.

As for a sub forum, if enough people call for it it's a possibility. There was a thread not long ago to add InDesign To your thread heading. I thought it strange because newcomers wouldn't know to do it but.... Now you do.

Adjust
08-17-2011, 07:57 PM
Hello -- I'd like to put a wish list out there for a forum for InDesign users exporting to epub, and also using the Amazon Kindle's plug-in to export to .mobi

I convert to ePub then use kindlegen to convert to mobi

Mac User - OSX 10.6.8 at the moment. InDesign CS5.
I have the same CS5.5, although I do all my converstion in CS3
There is nothing in CS5.5 that makes me want to change...I find the additional language code it adds is insane.

I am developing a workflow using the guidelines in Liz Castro's book on Epubs, and Anne-Marie Concepcion's video tutorials on Lynda.com.
Liz is the guru and the only person a reference back for real world problems, and new tech the other "commentators" I find to be out of touch and are more wrapped up in the tech rather then getting the results. And I never pay for tutorials.

I massage the InDesign print documents to suit epub requirements, then export to epub from InDesign, then use Sigil to tweak. This is working fairly well.
I only use Textwrangler and Dreamweaver, I don't use Sigil or Calibre, because I hate the additional code it puts into the files.

For epub validation, I am using the online validator at http://threepress.org/document/epub-validate/ and I've downloaded the recommended epubcheck but haven't used it yet.
Same

For mobi validation, I am using Amazon Kindle Previewer. Same

Is anyone else out there using a similar workflow?
Yes I made a tutorial post about what I do Step by Step
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123439&highlight=CS3

charleski
08-18-2011, 09:24 AM
I have the same CS5.5, although I do all my converstion in CS3
There is nothing in CS5.5 that makes me want to change...I find the additional language code it adds is insane.


Style Export Tagging is incredibly useful for making sure your ePub has the proper logical structure. It's the first real improvement Adobe has made to their ePub export filter (apart from fixing some of the bugs - CS3 was a horror for ePubs).

Adjust
08-18-2011, 06:57 PM
Style Export Tagging is incredibly useful for making sure your ePub has the proper logical structure.
I don't have the time to double up applying tags to pre existing files. Handy for new jobs, but It's still a waste of time


It's the first real improvement Adobe has made to their ePub export filter
Agreed


apart from fixing some of the bugs which Adobe introduced in CS4 and then tried to fix in CS5, re formatting of TOC.ncx etc.

- CS3 was a horror for ePubs).
I disagree I think it's the best one for it... kept things simple. But I think we'll end up agreeing to disagree :D

virtual_ink
08-27-2011, 01:50 AM
I have a very similar workflow to nhmuse, and I'd support a forum for this kind of discussion. I edit in TextWrangler for code and am yet to convert to Mobi - have read how to use kindlegen and it sounds simple enough.

From what I understand, CS5.5 is the first ID to export decently clean code once you apply export tags (which is super quick and easy), but I haven't verified this, as I haven't exported from CS3.

I'm interested to know what text settings people are using in ID to export in order to create a decent stylesheet. At the moment I have gone for a very generic text setting:

Section title: Georgia, bold, 20 pt, auto leading, grey
Chapter heading: bold, 14 pt, 16 px space after
Subtitle: bold itals, 12 pt, 4 px space after
Body: 12 pt, 4 px space after
Indent: 11 pt, indented 32 px left and right, 16 px before and after

I'm reasonably happy with the results on export to epub. But would be interested in improving where possible. I'd love to get a typesetter/web designers opinion on what makes for good CSS settings in an epub, and how to set up my styles in ID to achieve them on export.

charleski
08-27-2011, 06:40 PM
Well, this is where the real problem lies - InDesign is a very powerful program for creating fixed layouts, but simply uses the wrong idiom for ebooks, which are fundamentally based on having a reflowable, flexible layout with relative positioning.

There are no 'good' settings for individual styles, since they all need to be edited after export to convert the measures into relative sizes. The important thing, then, is to use styles as consistently as possible and tag them with names that will make it easier to work out what the css selectors are referring to. One option is simply to decide on a standardised set of style/class names and create an external stylesheet, then link this into the ePub on export.

BTW, here's (http://www.webvivant.com/fixing-InDesign-epub-2.html) a couple of pages on all the things you needed to do to an ePub exported from CS3 just to get it compliant. Luckily, things have improved a lot.

virtual_ink
08-29-2011, 09:47 AM
There are no 'good' settings for individual styles, since they all need to be edited after export to convert the measures into relative sizes.

But ID exports these to relative sizes. Body set at 12 pt with auto leading becomes 1em with 1.2em leading, for example.

nhmuse
09-02-2011, 07:08 AM
Hello - nhmuse here. I am using InDesign CS5 on a Mac. So far I've done 3 epubs that validate using threepress.org's free service. I have yet to try using epubcheck via the command line. All 3 of these books were destined for print first with pretty much straight text, no images except the cover, and only chapter headers, straight body text, and extracts. I set up styles in InDesign for every element and I didn't use any overrides. So I've successfully converted 2 novels, and a biography. These are fairly simple documents although they all have poems and extracts. Each entire book's text is all in one InDesign file, one story, and covers are done separately.
I used Liz Castro's Epub book to guide me for the most part, setting up a Chapter of contents style by going to Layout > Table of Contents Styles... give it a name, and choose the style name I used for the chapter heads.
I then go to File > File Info... and add a little metadata. I don't go hogwild here because I actually create a lot of the mandatory metadata (to pass validation) in Sigil after export from InDesign.
I try to keep everything as simple as possible. Then I go to File > Export for > Epub, and enter more information. I haven't embedded any fonts yet.
The resulting epub I then open in Sigil and add the cover, and add chapter breaks to the frontmatter, which also breaks the xhtml files up into separate files representing where I want page breaks and what I want in the TOC. I rename the xhtml files by their contents, for example, Cover, TitlePage, PublisherInfo, Dedication, Preface, Contents, Ch1, Ch2 Ch3, Author, etc. Then I open the toc.ncx file and modify that. And the content.opf to reflect the items I want to appear in the generated TOC. I also add the anchors (links) in the contents.xhtml file to the appropriate files. So I have a generated TOC like what ADE would use, and a separate linked TOC page in the book.
I do a minimal amount of fixing the .css style document. Then save the epub, validate it, fix any warnings or errors in Sigil, save again, revalidate, then test in ADE.
So far the epubs I have generated have been accepted by the distributor, which means I must be doing okay.
I have more to write here but I have to go out now. I'll be back later!
I highly recommending that you get Liz Castro's Epub book if you are using InDesign. But also get Sigil and start playing with it.
You need a solid knowledge of CSS and xhtml though, and an understanding of how xml works. More later about .mobi export...

nhmuse
09-02-2011, 09:29 AM
Okay, so I haven't tried the above workflow with a more complicated book. The books I produce are all levels of complication. From simple, straightforward novels with chapters, to full color coffee table books with non-standard page designs. As examples, here are 2 books I designed -- first the straightforward novel at: www.patriotsreward.com, and the much more complicated baseball card collector's book: www.t206players.com. Each page in the T206 book was its own design. Each block of text is a separate story - none of it is connected. Each baseball card image is placed separately and rotated into position manually in InDesign. The authors have asked how much it would be to turn it into an epub, and so far, I don't have an answer for that. I think that book would have to be a PDF. I'm not even sure it is affordable money-wise to turn that book into an epub.
(I also did the Website designs for both of the above mentioned books.)
So these are 2 examples, and then there's everything in between. There are things you can do when designing print books that will make the conversion from InDesign to epub easier, and these are noted in Liz Castro's book. But I didn't know I would be converting books printed before 2011 into epubs, so the older InDesign files I have take more prep time for conversion.
Next up, I will describe the process I've used 3 times now, to export from InDesign to .mobi.
I will just add a note here that I have tried using Calibre and not found it to be very helpful, and the .mobi's it creates from epub so far don't validate for Kindle. I have lots of software tools, including BBEdit, Dreamweaver, Springy, Sigil, Kindle Previewer, KindleGen, and epubcheck. So between all of these, I've been able to solve the warnings and errors noted in the validation process.
Happy ebooking!

Toxaris
09-02-2011, 10:03 AM
I only use Textwrangler and Dreamweaver, I don't use Sigil or Calibre, because I hate the additional code it puts into the files.


Calibre, I can understand. But Sigil doesn't really put additional code in the files, at least not what is redundant or not necessary.

nhmuse
09-02-2011, 10:52 AM
Sigil took me about 10 hours of time and testing to fully understand how it works and what it's doing -- it has done some unexpected things, but I've figured out how to handle them for the most part. Generally, you have to not be too anal about extraneous code -- be forgiving I mean. I just figure if the resulting epub validates, then it's good to go! But as I've said before, it is mandatory to have a really solid working knowledge of xhtml and CSS, and be able to write/edit both with ease, and understand what role the toc.ncx and content.opf files play. The manual for Sigil is really good too.

I just haven't figured out how to work with Calibre successfully yet. I keep looking for a place in Calibre where I can edit the generated code directly the way I can using Sigil, and haven't figured out all of the settings yet. I read the manual twice, and still don't really understand how to make it work the way I want it to. Some of the terms just don't click in my brain or something.

But I guess because I am used to writing my own CSS and xhtml, and interpreting generated code, I like the level of control I get with Sigil.

I'm on a Mac, so the tools are different from what is available for Windows users.

Cheers!

Toxaris
09-02-2011, 01:16 PM
You can't edit ePUB's in Calibre like you can in Sigil. Calibre is a library management tool and is able to convert between formats. You can set some settings in Calibre to control the conversion, but not to the same level.
I personally don't like what Calibre does to the code when converting to ePUB, but that's me.

st_albert
09-03-2011, 12:43 PM
There is a plugin for calibre (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=118761) that will allow you to open epubs with Sigil for editing. There is also the "tweak epub" right-click option on an epub in Calibre that will expand it so you can edit it with other tools.

nhmuse
09-03-2011, 03:52 PM
thanks for this info! I will check it out...

uieluck
10-13-2011, 06:02 PM
Hey this is a great thread.
I work for a publishing company who has put all their chips in making me Mr. eBook guy. We publish a total of 26-40 books a year, most are highly stylized and have potential to have loads of media in the digital edition. So this is the way I usually crack mine out.

First I take the InMtnDewsign FINAL book & strip the crap outta the styles and mass simplify everything. Basically get text to come in where I want and edit hard returns etc. etc. I use the 'article' feature a bit in ID. Then I output a epub from ID.

Then I'll open it in Sigil first and see where I'm at. I edit a lot in Sigil. I edit and correct CSS/html etc. I also edit & correct the toc.ncx & content.opf files. I also add or delete fonts and edit fonts in CSS etc.

I also use Oxygen/Author from time to time depending how Sigil is handling the file. Or depending how frequent Sigil is crashing that day. Once I like my code and file I move forward with local testing on my machine.

Testing I start with the Nook beta app (cause it's the most picky). Then I use Firefox with a add-on, I test in ADE (but it usually doesn't like any files). From there, I move forward with external testing. I start with the iPad,, (cause I want to be in a good mood). Once I have a solid iPad version I move forward with the other devices. I test on the Nook next and once I'm satisfied with the epub versions I make a mobi-poop. !!!! Oops, I forgot I run two validators; epubchecker (locally, and threepress' upload validator).

This is the only time I use Calibuuur (backward program). So I take my epub file and save/export/convert to a mobi from Calibuuuuur. Then I go back and test this file on the Kindle.
After all the files have been loaded and scan tested by 'me' they go into QA to make sure links, text, loading, fonts etc are working correctly. Then they come back to me for corrections or changes.

That's pretty much it.

Here's the software I use:
Calibre
Sigil
TextWrangler
InDesign 5.5
Oxygen Author

On a Mac using 10.6.8

I'm sure there's a better way to do this crap, but this is where I'm at.

nhmuse
10-14-2011, 07:57 AM
thanks! I've had fair success exporting to .mobi from ID5 using Amazon's plug-in for InDesign. I do a similar workflow to you. Making a copy of the final InDesign file, cleaning it up as necessary, making sure there are few if any manual overrides. Since I create the book in ID5 myself, I began planning ahead for export to epub so this process goes more smoothly. I make another copy of the cleaned up file for export to .mobi, which includes putting an image of the book cover on the very first page, and the back cover on the last page.
The export is fairly clean, but still needs a few tweaks, so I crack open the .mobi with Springy, and edit the files in Dreamweaver using code view, or you can use any html text editor.
A number of people seem to think Word is a better tool, but I think Word sucks. For some people, though, who can't afford a professional book layout tool like InDesign, Word is their only option.
I am confident (well, hopeful at least) that Adobe will hear our cries and make the export process go more smoothly in the future. Come on ID6! But only if they fix the epub export - and the footnote function - it would be nice if that were spiffed up too!

barncat
03-09-2012, 10:26 AM
I'm just launching myself into this workflow. I'm on CS 5.5 and the .mobi plugin seems to work like a charm - except that I can't get Springy to let me open it at all, while it will open a .mobi created on a PC, probably through conversion of the ebup (a friend did it). So I guess there are problems there. I'm stymied by this. I have to learn more about getting into the .toc. And will have to experiment more with the workflow to find out if the problem is there. And try Sigil. My books are novels, so the task isn't terrible, and I've managed to set up four books that are accepted easily by my Kindle Fire - including one that's a knitting pattern, set up for my own reference on a trip. Are you guys still here? It's an old thread.

nhmuse
03-09-2012, 10:42 AM
Springy will open .mobi files exported using the InDesign plugin from Amazon, if I remember correctly. Sigil is what I use to massage the epub exported from InDesign. I use the Amazon Kindle Previewer to see if I get any error messages for the Kindle version, and Adobe Digital Reader to check for errors on epubs. Still here. I've been using BookBaby conversion service lately for novels because they also do the distribution. I pay them $99 and they do the rest, and the book appears in all the online bookstores in the proper format. It's worth it for me, because it takes a whole day of my time (worth $300 to me) to do it myself. But you still have to massage what you send to them -- follow their easy guidelines. hope this helps

barncat
03-09-2012, 02:37 PM
Somehow, I hate the idea of an aggregator. But my husband has been trying to get me to use bookbaby - he likes it for music, and thinks it's solid. So they charge $100 to do all the formats? Hmm. I think I'm doing this because I want to know what's under the hood. And it doesn't take that long, really - but if I could get somebody to pay me $300 a day for what I do - yeah. I'd do the same. Thanks for the response.

nhmuse
03-09-2012, 04:07 PM
Yes - I also insist on knowing what goes on under the hood! it's the control freak in me. Really, what is most valuable about their service is that the book gets distributed to a number of different vendors in the proper format -- that part I still have not figured out entirely. And I don't want to spend my time setting up numerous accounts to be able to sell the digital book!