View Full Version : EPUB Expert Needed: Cant properly export epub from InDesign


crottmann
08-10-2010, 12:23 PM
Im having some trouble with a project and would like to higher an expert to help. Ive got all the documents laid out in InDesign properly and have combined all my documents into a book that I am trying to export using digital editions. I cant seem to get the whole thing to export and would like to find someone to look at the file for me to get this thing done. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thanks, Chris

charleski
08-10-2010, 02:00 PM
Sent you a PM.

Man Eating Duck
08-13-2010, 01:38 AM
Hi! The good charleski is probably helping you, but I'll give you a general tip: The epub output of Indesign is seriously flawed, and their advice on how to generate epubs with the book structure is ridiculous. I'd recommend you to merge them into a single document, apply styles and export epub. Then use Calibre to convert it epub -> epub with structure detection for page breaks and headers. The style names are kept as html class tags when it's exported to epub. Calibre is also perfect for adding metadata such as covers.

Also note that Indesign "encrypts" the fonts used, no matter what their Copyright status is. This makes the fonts unusable in many readers. We workaround this by opening the finished epub file with winrar, removing META-INF/encryption.xml, and replacing the font files embedded in the epub.

I work at a publishing house, we have developed a set of detailed instructions + a template file for making epubs from Indesign sources. PM me if you're interested in a google-translation from Norwegian, although some of the instructions are specific to how we do things.

crottmann
08-13-2010, 04:05 PM
Man Eating Duck: id love to check out the directions that you made for building the epubs. I appreciate the helpa nd input, and Id have to agree with you about the ID flaws for exporting epubs. i have all kinds of issues with the final out put.

Man Eating Duck
08-13-2010, 05:23 PM
crottmann: I'll be happy to. Check PM

charleski
08-14-2010, 05:44 AM
A lot of the issues (including flow-breaking) are fixed in CS5, which is a worthwhile upgrade if you absolutely have to generate epubs from InDesign layouts. But frankly I think a better production process is to work from the .doc files and use Atlantis Word Processor (which still needs a few tweaks to its output, but those are easy to do and could be automated).

Man Eating Duck
08-14-2010, 07:13 AM
That's interesting, I've heard that CS5 is pretty disappointing in that regard. We probably won't upgrade in a while anyway as we'll have to do it company-wide.

We use Indesign to lay out the paper books, and the last few revisions only exist as Indesign documents and PDFs, so we're pretty much stuck with it. The production path I've devised actually works pretty well for us, usually producing an epub from a press indd takes about 15-30 minutes. I'm thinking about polishing and translating the guide for general consumption as well. It might be useful for someone, and it's in everybody's best interest that people know how to produce quality epubs :)

st_albert
08-14-2010, 07:31 PM
That's interesting, I've heard that CS5 is pretty disappointing in that regard. We probably won't upgrade in a while anyway as we'll have to do it company-wide.

We use Indesign to lay out the paper books, and the last few revisions only exist as Indesign documents and PDFs, so we're pretty much stuck with it. The production path I've devised actually works pretty well for us, usually producing an epub from a press indd takes about 15-30 minutes. I'm thinking about polishing and translating the guide for general consumption as well. It might be useful for someone, and it's in everybody's best interest that people know how to produce quality epubs :)

That's our situation as well. All the final revisions exist only in the indd file and we want to avoid having to maintain more than one master document.

We are using ID4, which exports the entire book as a single xhtml file in the epub, but with a separate CSS file. We don't use imbedded fonts, because Steve Jobs is upset by them. I then extract the xhtml file, clean it up (e.g. changing class tags such as "heading-56-with-overrides-93" to something like "heading-chapter", adjusting <p> tags that should be <h2> or whatever, adding sigil chapter-break code, dressing up line breaks, etc. (also making corresponding changes in the CSS stylesheet of course). Then re-package the epub, load it into sigil, and do the final formatting and tweaking.

I would also like to see your procedure, if you're willing.

Adjust
08-14-2010, 08:25 PM
I would also like to see your procedure, if you're willing.

As would I.
I have my own procedures set up to produce ebooks from IDCS3. And to love to see/compare to see if there is anything I'm doing wrong.

PM sent.

Hitch
08-16-2010, 03:39 PM
That's interesting, I've heard that CS5 is pretty disappointing in that regard. We probably won't upgrade in a while anyway as we'll have to do it company-wide.

We use Indesign to lay out the paper books, and the last few revisions only exist as Indesign documents and PDFs, so we're pretty much stuck with it. The production path I've devised actually works pretty well for us, usually producing an epub from a press indd takes about 15-30 minutes. I'm thinking about polishing and translating the guide for general consumption as well. It might be useful for someone, and it's in everybody's best interest that people know how to produce quality epubs :)

Me, too--I receive "epubs" that are exported from InDesign by dead-tree book designers and they are seriously bollixed. If you have something I can use to make my life easier, that would be great.

Hitch

charleski
08-16-2010, 08:05 PM
IMO a lot of the 'problems' with InDesign are actually conceptual problems with the styling. Styles are usually poorly organised and implemented and often created on an ad-hoc basis.

But frankly I think publishers should kick the habit of correcting galley-proofs and design a work-flow in which the text can be forked for electronic and print production. Proper print layout sometimes requires adding elements to the text (like centered asterisks to indicate a scene-break that happens at the end of a page) which make no sense in a reflowable format.

Man Eating Duck
08-17-2010, 08:26 AM
We don't use imbedded fonts, because Steve Jobs is upset by them.
We use a similar procedure as you do, but I was not aware of this. We don't yet have an iPad for testing. Does it croak on embedded fonts, or does it just ignore them?
I would also like to see your procedure, if you're willing.I've been ill for a couple of days. I'm back at work now though, and I have permission to distribute the guide. I'll try to do it later this evening, or at least as soon as I can. I'll publish it in this thread when it's ready.

Man Eating Duck
08-17-2010, 01:45 PM
Hi! Here is the template and instructions I mentioned. I've run them through a google translation and corrected the most egregious errors resulting from that, but there will be some remaining :)
Apart from that they are pretty much equal to what we use in-house.

They are quite detailed, but they still require that you know your way around Indesign. Your document will need to be styled properly, if it's not styled already you might be better off "placing" your source document directly into the template file and applying the styles in Indesign.

They are also based on our way of doing things, others might have to customise steps or skip them altogether. I still hope someone will benefit from some of the tricks we use. I have not tested CS5 at all, but I suspect that our approach of producing as basic xhtml as possible with Indesign and then applying structure with Calibre will produce better and more flexible results in that case as well.

Regrettably I have little possibility to support anyone individually with the conversion process. Since several posters in this thread have expressed interest, hopefully any question posted here will be answered. There certainly is a LOT of expertise among the posters in this forum.

The results are not tested at all with the iPad, if any of you test the results on that device I would like to hear about any problems. Generally, any comments are welcome.

Good luck!

JSWolf
08-17-2010, 02:02 PM
Have a read of Liz Castro's blog... http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2010/08/review-copies-of-epub-straight-to-point.html

She knows her stuff and her new book does have information on Indesign. I think it would be worth it to get a copy of her new book.

Hitch
08-17-2010, 04:56 PM
IMO a lot of the 'problems' with InDesign are actually conceptual problems with the styling. Styles are usually poorly organised and implemented and often created on an ad-hoc basis.

But frankly I think publishers should kick the habit of correcting galley-proofs and design a work-flow in which the text can be forked for electronic and print production. Proper print layout sometimes requires adding elements to the text (like centered asterisks to indicate a scene-break that happens at the end of a page) which make no sense in a reflowable format.

Amen, brother.

Adjust
08-17-2010, 07:42 PM
Hi! Here is the template and instructions I mentioned.
Good luck!

Excellent, thanks...that's almost identical to what I have written down... Aside from a few differences (I don't use Calibre, instead I use Dreamweaver)
I have a few Applescripts to automate the process a little because I have CS3.

LeslieP69
08-23-2010, 03:18 PM
I want to thank you for your wonderful template and instructions. It made everything so much easier! It all looks good, except my bulleted lists. The problem is that on the bulleted lists that go to a second line, the 2nd line text doesn't line up under the text above, but against the left margin, underneath the bullet. How can I make the 2nd line of text line up underneath the text above? And I am a definite beginner at XHTML and ebooks!

jharker
08-27-2010, 10:23 AM
Have a read of Liz Castro's blog... http://www.pigsgourdsandwikis.com/2010/08/review-copies-of-epub-straight-to-point.html

She knows her stuff and her new book does have information on Indesign. I think it would be worth it to get a copy of her new book.
I second this. I finally got around to putting together some ePubs last week, and after a few hours of hunting the web for advice, I finally just bought her book.

The book has a whole part covering InDesign CS 4 and 5, and throughout the rest the author consistently points out areas where InDesign's output must be hand-tweaked in order to work properly.

I am actually building my books by hand; I don't use InDesign or Sigil. But I still find the book incredibly useful as a reference. Well worth the $20.