Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a cover image, part of InDesign CS4 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad.
When one of your potential readers is looking at the Apple iBook store, or they are on the Amazon Kindle Store, or they are at Barnes & Noble Nook store, they're looking at a bunch of books with descriptions, but what is next to the description? The cover, of course the cover. So even in this digital age where content is king and they can be reused all over the place, a lot of people still rely on the cover to decide whether or not to see if it's something they're interested in. So, in other words, the cover is important still even for your ebooks.
And how do you create a cover image? Well if you have created a cover in your actual InDesign files, you can see here this is the Stories of California. Let me zoom in a little bit. You're going to need to do a little extra work to it. Let's take a look at what happens to this cover image when I export to EPUB as-is, and just to orient you this is text in a the frame and text in a frame, and this is an image with a drop shadow and this is a box that I created in InDesign. So we're going to export this to EPUB with their keyboard shortcut.
We'll go right to the desktop, California Stories.EPUB. We want to Defind Styles, turn off the fonts, view the ebook, we'll choose Optimize Formatted, let's do high quality, Content is fine, and choose Export. And what the heck happened here? We have the title and then the author and then the image and then the title again. Well, that's from the title page. In other words, if you've been watching my previous videos in this chapter, I think you already know the problem. The problem is that when you export to EPUB, any kind of text formatting or effects that have been applied to text such as drop shadow is ignored, and what we really need to do is turn this whole thing into one single file and then replace the individual text frames and image frames with that one single linked image.
So there's two ways to do this. We can export the selection as a JPEG or we could use the script that I talked about before called Layout Zone. Let's just export this as a JPEG. I've selected all of the elements and then I'm going to go to the File menu and choose Export and we'll just save it right out to the desktop, California-Stories.jpg, and click Save. And then in the Export JPEG dialog box make sure you choose Selection, because there may be some other things on this page that you don't want included. And we will leave it at 300 PPI and high-resolution and then choose Export.
And then I'm going to move this over to the side. Make sure nothing is touching the page or doesn't get included in the Export and then I'm going to replace it by just placing or importing that JPEG. Let me move it down a little bit. It actually makes no difference how I center it here because the whole graphic is going to appear. Now let's go ahead and export this to EPUB again. We'll replace the existing one, keep all of our settings as before, export, and there we go, there is our cover and it's kind of hard to see here because the resolution that we're looking at in this on my monitor is not conducive to portrait book covers, but basically you see that it came out exactly how we wanted it.
And I know that some of you're thinking, well, wait, look at the thumbnails. It's really weird over here. Well, that's kind of a problem with Adobe Digital Editions and this would be something you could fix inside the CSS to change its size to 100% or something like that. We'll be talking about that more in the CSS and XHTML videos. But when viewed in just about any other ereader device or ereader software, the thumbnail looks great and the cover looks great. There are a number of resellers who would like you to point to the actual stand-alone JPEG cover image, like when you are submitting a book for Kindle or for the Apple iBookstore.
They want to know where is the JPEG of the cover, so keep your hands on that JPEG that you've just created. I know some other people who have asked me, "Well, what if I want to make a cover that just works perfectly with a certain device? I mean, how I find out what is the resolution of the screen size of those devices?" Well, I do have some really great resources here for you and you might want to just bookmark these for later, but mobileread.com, which is a fantastic resource that I'll be talking about in my Next Steps video at the end, has a Wiki, which is a user-contributed knowledge based, and they have three incredible tables here.
They go through every single ereader device with all of their specs. So quite now we're looking at the one of our Web tablets, so here are all the Web tablets, like here's the iPad as it is today, along with the dimensions, the display, what kind of resolution you have, what kind of connectors it has, what kind of files and supports, and so on. How much it costs? They also have one for LCD ebooks, and they have one for e-Inc ebooks, like the Kindle and many others. So if you're ever looking for what are the exact dimensions and what are the exact pixel resolutions, then it's one of these three pages that you want to check out.
But I would say don't even bother trying to make a specific image for a specific device, other than that any trick that I told you earlier about creating a full-page image for Apple iBook by sizing it to 860 tall by 600 wide. In general if you keep your cover images at 800x600, then they'll be perfectly usable for a wide variety of ereader devices.
- Understanding ebooks and ebook publishing
- Examining the EPUB format
- Creating linked navigational TOCs
- Formatting with paragraph, character, and object styles
- Optimizing graphics for the EPUB and Kindle formats
- Streamlining production with free InDesign scripts and plug-ins
- Creating drop caps, pull quotes, and text wraps in the EPUB
- Reviewing best practices for book cover images
- Using cross-platform EPUB editors and utilities
- Validating EPUBs
- Proofing ebooks in iBooks, the Kindle, and the B&N Nook
- Acquiring an ISBN for ebooks
- Distributing ebooks with resellers and aggregators