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Old 01-20-2013, 07:17 PM   #31
Hitch
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I'm sorry, but that's not a good reason (there are others, but not this one, in my opinion). That's exclusively a feature of a particular vendor, which besides corresponds to a different format. We are talking about ePub books, and Amazon does not sell ePub books.

Your reason then downgrades to something like "an HTML table of contents is converted to an inline TOC in mobi, which then shows in Amazon", but that loses much of its strength, and there are other ways to have an inline TOC in mobi.
Yes, BUT: much of this "html toc's are satan" and "only ncx's are saintly" discussion is about to go the way of the Dinosaur, anyway. The ePUB3 standards are essentially nuking the NCX, in favor of an all-in-one TOC that is, for all intents and purposes, an HTML TOC. If not precisely, it is far more akin to that than to the NCX. Therefore, arguing about which is worthy and which is bad is moot. Righty-o?

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:22 PM   #32
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No, really, this is interesting and very pertinent. I have NEVER been asked for "epub only". I've never been offered a budget sufficient to prepare two separate optimized versions (and why stop at two? The new crop of tablets, with their various reader applications, have their own set of quirks). The practical name of the game is making code that converts elegantly to a range of devices. Unfortunately, this, in practice, means abjuring layout features that don't.

So "How will this convert to Kindle" is an essential question when preparing a book. Otherwise we're like the (fortunately dwindling) band of Mac-using web designers who when told "This site is broken in IE" smugly reply "So what?" :-)

Of course, once InDesign users catch on that they also could write simple code that converts cleanly through its "Export to epub" function, a lot of employment will disappear.
I doubt it. Most of the InDesigners are accustomed to a far more significant rate of pay than that which we lowly ebook formatters receive. I had a woman who called me to learn how to make ebooks--a print designer--and I told her how I'd started, get MBPC, get Sigil, learn that way, then move on to a more refined process, yadda--and when I told her what we earn she SPIT. She continues to make them, when requested, if in conjunction with a print book; but she said in no uncertain terms that she didn't know anyone in print who "would stoop that low."

I was absolutely charmed after my discussion with her, naturally.

I'd also add that given what Createspace and other POD companies will offer, in terms of print design, for under $300, those InDesigners are going to be finding other venues for earning, anyway (probably designing marketing materials, which, I'm told, still pays.) Don't misunderstand me: unlike lots of geeks, I don't hate InDesign; but there's no reason to use it for ebook layout. I know Liz loves it, but...I think that's simply a matter of being comfortable with what she knows, rather than seeing it as a masterpiece of ePUB-making software.

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Old 01-20-2013, 07:28 PM   #33
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In general, I've found that if an epub looks OK in ADE, it will display quite decently on my Sony readers (350, 950, T1). It will also usually display passably well in these Android apps: Mantano, Aldiko, Bluefire, Sony, Nook, Overdrive. The Kobo app tends to add margin to that which is already in the epub, so it's not quite as good on display as the others. Mind you, all I've tested are fairly basic, mostly text epubs.

The exception was when I put an epub with a couple large images on the Sony, i.e. 1500px wide high quality JPEG and a 1500px wide PNG (small in file size) and they came up as blank pages. Display was fine in ADE. Reducing to 1200px wide solved the issue. So the Sony readers may have some limitations on image size.

If you get into the apps that offer a lot of customization options like FBReader and CoolReader and Moon+, those may not display your book quite like you styled it. The goal for me personally is to just be sure my epubs are readable in those apps.

I also test Kindle .mobi and .azw3 conversions. There are times when valid, working CSS does not translate in a conversion. I had KindleGen barf on some simple shorthand CSS once.

It would sure be nice if every epub reader app or device could be consistent in display, but that's not real world right now. I think I even found one reader, a cloud reader called Fabrik that didn't display images. So test, test, test as best you can and realize there are going to be compromises, because you can't control what your reader will use to read with.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:29 PM   #34
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Yes, BUT: much of this "html toc's are satan" and "only ncx's are saintly" discussion is about to go the way of the Dinosaur, anyway. The ePUB3 standards are essentially nuking the NCX, in favor of an all-in-one TOC that is, for all intents and purposes, an HTML TOC. If not precisely, it is far more akin to that than to the NCX. Therefore, arguing about which is worthy and which is bad is moot. Righty-o?

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How long, in your opinion, should we stay ePUB2 compatible? Are all the dedicated readers out there compatible?
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:37 PM   #35
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How long, in your opinion, should we stay ePUB2 compatible? Are all the dedicated readers out there compatible?
The problem with ePub 3 is all the multimedia stuff that has been added in. A lot of ePub is read on eInk which a lot of eInk readers won't handle well. What would have been better is the multimedia not added in and the other improvements kept. Then it would be a lot easier to upgrade. But until Adobe upgrades and most of the Readers get upgraded, it's not going to fly.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:51 PM   #36
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Does anyone maintain a list of compatible code, likely to work on most epub readers and to survive Kindle conversion? If not, I'm tempted to start one.

I suppose I'll get lambasted for giving away Guild secrets :-)
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:07 AM   #37
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How long, in your opinion, should we stay ePUB2 compatible? Are all the dedicated readers out there compatible?
As long as there's still only one device-reader that supports it. {shrug}. Well, two, if you count the latest Kobo. The bottom line is, right now, the greatest amount of device sales, internationally and in NA, are devices that are ePUB2-compatible, not 3. I don't mind making 3's; the capitalist in me says, "oh, goody, I can charge more." But the reality is, there are probably 100x the devices that can't. And, no, I'm not counting iPhones. Why am I not? Because the numbers say that while i-People buy videos and games and apps, they don't buy books, not off the iBookstore.

I know that there are 2-3 reading apps, all i-based, that have multimedia (and of course, PC and Mac-based readers), but until the devices go to it, I'm sticking with 2. And as far as the "new" TOC for all of them? I suspect of all the ePUB3 features, that and slightly more advanced CSS will be implemented before multimedia, due to the overwhelming number of e-ink devices that simply can't support video and/or audio.

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Old 01-21-2013, 11:21 AM   #38
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Isn't it EASIER to make an ePUB3 book? Less worrying over what code you CAN'T use?
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:29 AM   #39
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Once you decide that you'll do an EPUB3 book anyway and don't care about whether or not it will actually be supported... then, it's easier. But if you are not going to care about that, you could do an EPUB2 as well, and that's even easier because you just have to use Sigil
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:35 AM   #40
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Isn't it EASIER to make an ePUB3 book? Less worrying over what code you CAN'T use?
Probably easier in theory, based on the spec. But then in practice, we'll be right back to figuring out what works and what doesn't in all the various vendor's implementations of that spec. You know... which portions they want to ignore, and what proprietary extensions they want to add. In practice, I look for ePub 3's implementation to be even more fragmented.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:37 AM   #41
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Once you decide that you'll do an EPUB3 book anyway and don't care about whether or not it will actually be supported... then, it's easier. But if you are not going to care about that, you could do an EPUB2 as well, and that's even easier because you just have to use Sigil
But it's easy to code stuff in Sigil that isn't EPUB2-legal. Otherwise why have the Validate function!
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:00 PM   #42
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But it's easy to code stuff in Sigil that isn't EPUB2-legal. Otherwise why have the Validate function!
Yes, right... I was thinking of using Book View.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:32 PM   #43
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I think the breakthrough in Sigil usage comes when you realise that Page View is mainly for checking you got what you entered in Code View right!
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:42 PM   #44
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Only if you're a coder. Us dabblers are using it in the opposite manner.
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Old 01-21-2013, 05:48 PM   #45
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I don't hate InDesign; but there's no reason to use it for ebook layout. I know Liz loves it, but...I think that's simply a matter of being comfortable with what she knows, rather than seeing it as a masterpiece of ePUB-making software.

Hitch
There's no point in hating InDesign, it's the name of the game for printed page layout.

I was going to suggest a workflow - prepare text in Indesign using very basic epub-compatible layout, leave it like that until ALL text revisions have been made. Then export an epub, continue tarting up in InDesign for the printed version.

But that's too organized. Authors can't seperate content from layout.
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