Join Anne-Marie Concepción for an in-depth discussion in this video How does an INDD file become an EPUB file?, part of InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad.
So the InDesign to EPUB workflow is a series of iterative steps and there are some edits you do in InDesign, some edits you do in an EPUB editor, and you're always checking to make sure that it's working along the way. So let me give you an overview of how this works and rest assured that we're going to be examining each of these steps in detail throughout this title. So first of all we're starting with an InDesign file. By the way, EPUBs can be created from Microsoft Word files, from HTML files, but of course we're starting with the pinnacle InDesign.
I'm going to talk about some things in the InDesign file that translate already EPUB and some things that don't and the best ways to prepare your InDesign file for an optimum EPUB export. So there is some tweaking that you're going to need to do to that InDesign file In fact you probably find yourself if you've designed it for print doing a Save As, and then really tweaking it heavily for your EPUB export. Then inside InDesign there is a command to Export to EPUB format, depending on the version that you have, it might be called Export for Digital Editions, which is the name of the default utility that Adobe ships with for viewing EPUBs and I showed that in the previous video. Or might be called Export for EPUB, but even then the dialog box still says Digital Editions Export Options, so they're synonymous.
You end up with an EPUB file that opens up in your default EPUB Previewer, which as I said is probably Adobe Digital Editions, and you use that as a rough proof. Because ADE, Adobe Digital Editions, really isn't a 100% accurate previewer of what it's going to look like say on iBooks or on a Nook. The situation is similar to web browsers and web sites. You create a web site and it looks one way in Firefox and quite different in Internet Explorer for example. That's what happens with ereaders when they open up these files.
So we use ADE as a rough proof to make sure that all your images came in and all your text came in and that they are in the right order as a rough proof. At this point you probably want to validate it and validating is an important step. It's a free service that I'll be talking about in a video, that checks your EPUB file to make sure that it adheres to the standards set forth for all EPUB files, that the links are working like, that the required files are there, and so on. It's important because when you are ready to sale this, when you are ready to distribute it to the Barnes & Noble store, the Sony Reader Store, the Apple iBookstore, they will not accept your EPUB unless it validates.
So it's a good idea to start now to make sure that what got exported from InDesign will validate and then when we go on to the next step, which is editing the innards of the EPUB file, you'll know that if it doesn't validate in the future it wasn't something from InDesign. Yu know, you probably forgot to close a tag or something. So that's the next step, is that we are going to open up the EPUB file and edit it. And I showed what an EPUB file looks like inside in the previous video. So we're going to do some simple or maybe complex editing of the XHTML files and the CSS files. I'll be talking about different ways to do that and some common fixes that you might want to do. You add metadata to the files and so on.
It's actually kind of interesting. And then of course you want to prove and validate again. So it's like I said. It's a series of iterative steps, but at this point when you're proofing, you probably want to go beyond Adobe Digital Editions and actually get it say onto your iPad and proof it in iBooks or put it on a Nook. In other words you want to preview it in something closer to what your customers are going to be looking at to make sure it works there as well. Finally when you're happy with how it looks, you do a final validation, which again is important, because it's just going to be kicked back to you if it doesn't validate, and then you upload it.
You upload it to your web site if you're going to sell it by yourself on your own web site. You upload it to the Apple iBookstore or to a third-party aggregator who is helping you distribute this EPUB in the different venues that we will be talking about later on in this title. And if you're going to be selling it on the Amazon Kindle Store, you can upload that EPUB directly to the Kindle Store and they'll convert it to the Kindle format for you, because Amazon uses a slightly different format. They don't use EPUB; they use something called MOBI. Now I have a chapter in this title all about converting to MOBI files, because I really think it's better if you convert it yourself on your Desktop and then preview it in the Kindle Previewer, and even put it on a Kindle and see what it looks like before you upload it.
But we'll get to that. The main thing is that we start with a valid EPUB, and then at the very end we upload it to the reseller, and that in a nutshell is the basic InDesign to ebook workflow.
- 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