View Full Version : Please tell me I'm not imagining this


Elizkcampbell
01-22-2012, 11:37 PM
Hello!
I've been scanning the forums here and I just want to ask for reassurance.

I have been using Adobe IndDesign CS4 to create my ebooks. I save multiple files into a .indb (book) file, and export to .epub and to .mobi (via the kindle plugin). (I do not have and cannot afford the CS5)

The .mobi is hunky-dory. It looks beautiful, I love the result.

The .epub is garbage. From 2/3 of the chapters simply not exisiting, to the text not displaying correctly in "sepia" mode, it's just junk.

What I am reading on these forums is that InDesign, while powerful for print, is not the best for converting to .epub, and it's worth my time to spend searching for and trying other options like Calibre ans Stanza, and to stop banging my head on Adobe. Yes? I'm just second-guessing myself because Adobe is such a big power player in the print industry.

I intend to learn the CSS and XHTML coding, but in the meantime I have a friend waiting on something and I don't want to make her wait too much longer.

Solitaire1
01-23-2012, 12:52 AM
I've recently started using the Atlantis Word Processor to make my EPUB ebooks and it works fairly well. I first edit and save the ebook as an RTF file (it will save in other formats but I prefer RTF), then I save it as an ebook. The resulting EPUB looks very good on my Kobo Touch, with the ebook formatted as intended.

Jim Lester
01-23-2012, 01:19 AM
InDesign CS4 ePub export leaves a lot to be desired. This is one of the feature that Adobe has greatly improved as they go along, and CS5.5 (and the coming CS6) ePub export is much better.

That being said, I still have my nits to pick with the export, one of which is putting most of the styling inside of a CSS class instead consolidating into appropriate element rules (body/p/div/ etc...) and using the classes for exceptions. This will cause problems for reading software that use a user style sheet override to provide features such as changing fonts, text color, background color, etc... (i'm guessing this is your 'Sepia mode')

Most of this can be fixed by hand-tweaking the CSS after the fact to do this yourself.

I use a combination of initial generation in InDesign CS5.5, and using Oxygen to hand recode after the fact - however work pays for my tools, and I am generating specific test files to stress readers, so this most likely won't work for you.

For easy generating of ePubs, I've heard good things about Sigil and Atlantis, but haven't had the need to use them myself.

Good Luck

Elizkcampbell
01-23-2012, 01:23 AM
Thank you, both! I spent two days trying to figure out what am I doing wrong, but it's Adobe!

Excellent! I'll try Antlantis tomorrow.

All for moving forward!

DSpider
01-23-2012, 04:36 AM
According to Wikipedia, CS4 came out in 2008, when ePub was in its infancy - which was out for about a year or so (2007) and e-Ink devices were just rearing in their ugly little sluggish heads.

On the other hand, CS5 came out in 2010 and CS5.5 in 2011. That's something like 2 - 3.5 years advantage. Chances are they cleaned it up.

kacir
01-23-2012, 05:23 AM
I have been using Adobe IndDesign CS4 to create my ebooks. I save multiple files into a .indb (book) file, and export to .epub and to .mobi (via the kindle plugin).
It is not a good idea to use InDesign for e-book creation and CS4 version is particularly bad.

InDesign was built to do printed page fixed layout and that is something it does really well. E-books have totally different needs and none of excellent InDesign features - such as balancing words in line so you avoid rivers, widows, orphans, too many hyphenated words, or placing pictures in text - are utilized when doing export to an e-book format. E-book formats export, *especially* in CS4 is just an afterthought. I have tried that and I was very, very disappointed. I ended up getting "naked" text from author, backporting last-minute edits (done ONLY in InDesign file and NOT "master" file in MSWord ... Sigh ...) and formatting the book in a tool that is actually built for e-book creation.

Sigil is a good tool for creating e-pubs. There commercial tool available - one that I have tried is called Jutoh. Jutoh works on Windows, Mac, Linux and FreeBSD.
Even saving the file in OpenOffice.org Writer (Libre office writter) otf format and converting it in Calibre does MUCH better job than export from InDesign.

Prestidigitweeze
01-23-2012, 09:00 AM
Interesting tips, Kacir.

Solitaire: Is there a reason you're not using Word, exporting the file and then using Sigil? I looked at Atlantis (though not in depth) and, unless its epub capabilities far exceed those of Word and Sigil, I'm not getting why Sigil wouldn't be more precise. There's also Office along with decent epub plugins for that, one of which I've also used.

I've had decent luck with as-yet unpublished story collections and all sorts of pieces I read from publicly using my PRS-950. However, I'm struggling with a book of experimental verse that might end up working best in a later rev of ePub.

Even it looks surprisingly lifelike exported from Word, opened in Open Office and saved with the writer2epub plugin. It looks especially clean (though incomplete) using Sigil. I'm working on that now.

What's cool is that the line breaks and quirky typography (all in the same font), and some of the line indents, seem to make it through.

I've recently started using the Atlantis Word Processor to make my EPUB ebooks and it works fairly well. I first edit and save the ebook as an RTF file (it will save in other formats but I prefer RTF), then I save it as an ebook. The resulting EPUB looks very good on my Kobo Touch, with the ebook formatted as intended.

st_albert
01-23-2012, 01:50 PM
For books we publish in both print and ebook formats, we use ID4 as the repository for the manuscript as corrected, so that there will be only one place to apply corrections. That means the final ebook versions are derived from an ID4 epub export.

Said export needs lots of work before it becomes a decent epub, however. Isn't it ironic that InDesign produces an epub that Adobe Digital Editions can't read? Don't the two development groups talk to each other, even in house?

Most of what we publish is fiction, with few illustrations. I usually export the book as a single xhtml file (i.e. no chapter breaks) and then edit the file in Bluefish (html editor), tweak chapter headers, insert chapter breaks for sigil, etc.

Then I import that epub into sigil for final tweaks. Conversion to mobi and other formats is done using appropriate conversion software.

If we're publishing ebook only, we typically use rtf -> LibreOffice -> w2e or w2x extensions, then finish with sigil.

IIRC, ID3 was the first to have attempted epub export, and it was completely unusable. ID4 is at least tolerable, but from what I hear truly viable epub exports, usable out of the box, did not arrive until IDCS5.5.

So far we have resisted the urge to upgrade. YMMV, IMHO, etc. etc.

Solitaire1
01-23-2012, 02:10 PM
Interesting tips, Kacir.

Solitaire: Is there a reason you're not using Word, exporting the file and then using Sigil? I looked at Atlantis (though not in depth) and, unless its epub capabilities far exceed those of Word and Sigil, I'm not getting why Sigil wouldn't be more precise. There's also Office along with decent epub plugins for that, one of which I've also used.

I've had decent luck with as-yet unpublished story collections and all sorts of pieces I read from publicly using my PRS-950. However, I'm struggling with a book of experimental verse that might end up working best in a later rev of ePub.

Even it looks surprisingly lifelike exported from Word, opened in Open Office and saved with the writer2epub plugin. It looks especially clean (though incomplete) using Sigil. I'm working on that now.

What's cool is that the line breaks and quirky typography (all in the same font), and some of the line indents, seem to make it through.

I don't have MS Word on my system at home. I do have the following word processors on my system: Jarte, Atlantis Word Processor, StarOffice 8 (SO8), and 602Text. After using MS Word at work for years, I prefer using another word processor at home.

I while ago I took a quick look at Sigil and I preferred to stay with the method I was using to make PDF ebooks at the time (all done through SO8). When I got my Kobo Touch, I found that PDFs didn't work as well on it as it did on my Sony Reader. When I made a PDF sized for my Sony Reader's screen, it looked exactly as intended on my reader's screen.

For EPUB ebook creation, I was looking for the same experience that I had making PDFs using SO8, the ability to use a single program to do all of the work. This includes editing and formatting the text, marking the chapter and sub-chapter indicators, inserting the metadata, and then exporting it to EPUB.

So far, using Atlantis Word Processor to make EPUB ebooks has worked well for me. If I start having problems then I'll give Sigil another look.

wannabee
01-23-2012, 11:01 PM
Hey Liz

Here's (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=123439)is a step by step guide for CS3. CS4 is pretty similar.
These steps will give you an ePub which will need to be edited in order to validate. Use a html editor like Dreamweaver or Sigil (free to trial). These editors can be used by people that dont know html or CSS but the sooner you brush up on how to code the easier it becomes to understand.
Good luck