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Old 04-30-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
uieluck
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ebook Workflow

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
Calibre’s viewer

Once local testing is complete. External testing begins. The following is used for external:
iPad
Nook
Kindle
iPhone

• 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?
Thanks, Uie
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:04 PM   #2
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No input or suggestions?
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Old 05-01-2012, 02:42 PM   #3
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I do have one suggestion... Use FlightCrew (standalone) to validate the ePub. Then pass it through the others. FlightCrew gives easier to understand messages.
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Old 05-01-2012, 03:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
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I do have one suggestion... Use FlightCrew (standalone) to validate the ePub. Then pass it through the others. FlightCrew gives easier to understand messages.
JSWolf, thanks for the suggestion.
Yes, I basically run my epubs through a bunch of validators. But, I'll hafta check out FlightCrew.
Thanks again for the input!
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Old 05-01-2012, 08:25 PM   #5
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Wow, either my process is "dead on" or close to it. This thread is like my xcode skills,, going no-where? Is it cause I mention Amnet? I was hoping to have a few others chime-in. Anybody else have any ideas?
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Old 05-01-2012, 11:04 PM   #6
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When the eBooks are all made, how are they formatted? That's important. If they aren't formatted well, that can make them hard to read.
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Old 05-16-2012, 03:00 PM   #7
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Nobody else has any input?
I've read this thread:
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=165382
But each set up and workflow is different.
Please help?
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:09 PM   #8
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Hey guys...
Since this was a limited thread and had about as much interest as Bosom Buddies 2.
Here's a link I found of a pretty cool work flow example:
http://twitpic.com/83kweq/full
Thanks for the non-input,,, input.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:15 PM   #9
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I'm not familiar at all with InDesign. The workflow that has worked the best for me is write the book in MS Word, save as filtered html, import to Sigil to create the final EPUB.
I use Kindle Previewer to convert the EPUB to a Kindle ebook.
Simple process, but the inline TOC works well from the Word generated Table of Contents, endnotes work, etc.
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mncowboy View Post
I'm not familiar at all with InDesign. The workflow that has worked the best for me is write the book in MS Word, save as filtered html, import to Sigil to create the final EPUB.
I use Kindle Previewer to convert the EPUB to a Kindle ebook.
Simple process, but the inline TOC works well from the Word generated Table of Contents, endnotes work, etc.
Do you clean up the mess left in the filtered HTML so the ePub code is fairly clean?
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:53 AM   #11
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I use more or less the same process. Check the book in Word and apply styles (don't care about how the styles look, only the names). Export to HTML (via my macro, so its clean) and import it in Sigil. Since I use styles in Word and have a stylesheet with the same class names, layout is almost fixed. Small touch-ups left and right.
If the source is good, an ePUB is created very fast. If the source is rubish, it can take hours to days to create a good ePUB. The old credo still works: Garbage In, Garbage Out.
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Old 06-20-2012, 02:39 PM   #12
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JS: Yes. I use styles for everything in the Word document. It makes it easier. My first two steps are:
Delete everything between <style> and </style> in the html document
Find and Replace <p class="MsoNormal"> with <p>
The style sheet I import into Sigil has all the style information I used in the Word document.
There is other cleanup I do with the way I handle the Word generated TOC, Endnotes, etc. but it gives me a good starting point.
Goes pretty quickly.
Bob
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Old 06-21-2012, 05:19 AM   #13
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uieluck: How much of your workflow is automated with scripts? The more standard the operations, the easier to automate. E.g. stripping of extraneous stuff, do you do that manually?

Personally, I've found it easier to stick the formatting I want into a plain text file, rather than strip out all the cruft word processors stuff in.
- If you've wondered about what a word processor does with your words, think about what a food processor does with your food.

My own workflow is roughly as follows:
  1. Proofread OCR txt
  2. Add homebrew markup for headings, footnotes, images etc.
  3. Add any special-case html code
  4. run text through the following pipeline of scripts:
    • footnote code insertion
    • image code insertion
    • convert to xhtml
    • split xhtml file into chapter files
    • generate opf file
    • generate ncx file
    • zip
    • validate
  5. repeat relevant steps
Post-editing:
  • edit opf meta-info
  • sometimes edit opf spine
  • sometimes edit ncx, renumbering done by script
  • edit image size properties in css file
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SBT View Post
uieluck: How much of your workflow is automated with scripts? The more standard the operations, the easier to automate. E.g. stripping of extraneous stuff, do you do that manually?

Personally, I've found it easier to stick the formatting I want into a plain text file, rather than strip out all the cruft word processors stuff in.
- If you've wondered about what a word processor does with your words, think about what a food processor does with your food.

My own workflow is roughly as follows:
  1. Proofread OCR txt
  2. Add homebrew markup for headings, footnotes, images etc.
  3. Add any special-case html code
  4. run text through the following pipeline of scripts:
    • footnote code insertion
    • image code insertion
    • convert to xhtml
    • split xhtml file into chapter files
    • generate opf file
    • generate ncx file
    • zip
    • validate
  5. repeat relevant steps
Post-editing:
  • edit opf meta-info
  • sometimes edit opf spine
  • sometimes edit ncx, renumbering done by script
  • edit image size properties in css file
SBT, Yeah I use some scripts and automation tools to help me in the conversion. However, I've never used OCR or Word text. Our books are too stylized and have too many variables.
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Old 08-08-2012, 11:11 AM   #15
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That is up to personal preference. I like full justification, but I also like smaller letters. It can have some strange looks when there are larger words, but in general it looks fine.
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