So I've been working on ebooks for 1.5 year and recently my company decided to 'source out' ALL of our ebooks to Amnet. And honestly, the prices they offer, it's hard to compete with.
Basically, I work for a small publishing company and usta do a lot of conversions. But now I'm reconsidering my workflow and trying to figure out how conversion companies convert PDF's so fast.
Remember our books are highly stylized and turn into enhanced ebooks quite frequently.
I can also mention, our authors see 1 or 2 proofs from InDesign once the word.doc is poured. So, there are a lot of changes, corrections and proofing that is involved once the InDesign is created,,,, usually 3-7 rounds (insane).
Here was my ebook workflow:
First: The FINAL InDesign book file is stripped of a large portion of styles to simplify the epub output. Within InDesign the text is edited from hard returns, master page items etc. InDesign 5.5 offers a new feature called ‘article’ which is applied to some element within the epub. Then a output of a rough epub is produced.
• Second: The epub is opened in Sigil, this is where some CSS & HTML edits are made. Also edited in Sigil are the toc.ncx & content.opf files. and or use Oxygen/Author is used depending on how Sigil is handling the epub file. Once these edits are made local testing on a computer is begun. After this is complete two validators are used to test for errors; epubchecker and threepress upload validator. Then if passed a epub is produce as well as a mobi version of the book/document.
• Fourth: Testing is done locally with following programs and methods:
Nook desktop beta application
Firefox ebook reader add-on
Adobe Digital Editions
Once local testing is complete. External testing begins. The following is used for external:
• Fifth: After all the files have been loaded on the external devices they are scanned by the creator for major errors. Once the scan is complete they are followed by a quality assurance (QA) to make sure links, text, loading, fonts etc. are working correctly.
• Sixth: QA makes notes and correction markings and they come back to the creator for corrections and changes.
Software being used in the process:
Calibre, Sigil, TextWrangler, InDesign 5.5, Oxygen Author, Epub scripts, StuffExpander, TransType Pro
On a Mac using 10.6.8
This was our internal process. Laborious to say the least!
Ideas I've come up with to improve efficiency are InDesign book templates, because everyone of our books is highly styled. Thus, the output would be consistent and just toc's would hafta be changed etc. Somehow creating a XML workflow so the InDesign file and the ebook file is pulling from the same source.
So I would love input or suggestions?