Learn about how the Adobe InDesign command Export > FXL for iBooks makes it so that you don't need to be an HTML pro.
- [Instructor] How do you create a fixed-layout EPUB? Well, there are programs that can export to that format. There are services online that can take your PDF and convert it to fixed-layout EPUB, and you can also write one from scratch. I mean, it's actually not that difficult. If you have a really simple layout with just a modicum of text and lots of images like a photo essay or a kids' book, then there are ways that you can actually create an HTML file in a plain text editor and go ahead and paste in your text and make links to the graphics.
It doesn't have to be all complicated, like something like this. But a simple book could be pretty easy to do. And I show how to do that in one of my courses in the library, called Creating a Fixed-Layout EPUB. You can see that in the table of contents, I talk about starting from scratch, how to do the images and text, and I include a template that you can use to paste stuff into, or starting with a PDF, how you export the images and the text from the PDF and turn it into a fixed-layout EPUB.
It's pretty interesting once you get into it, especially if you like to program websites. Then you'd like it. Now, you can also use a program, as I said. I'm a big fan of Adobe InDesign, so I created Creating Fixed-Layout EPUBs from InDesign, which, they just added that export format a couple of versions ago. And in the course, I talk about some tips and tricks and how to work with your text, how to add animations and interactivity. Now, I just found out that Quark XPress, which is the competitor to InDesign, can also export fixed-layout EPUB, which I thought was interesting.
And that course is also available on the library. It's by Mike Rankin, one of my good friends. And in this course, let me scroll down a bit, if you go all the way down to chapter 14, Output, he has a couple of videos about exporting to fixed-layout and exporting to reflowable. Now, I have both of those programs queued up. So in InDesign, here is my layout for The Little Red Hen. And to export to fixed-layout, I just go to File, Export, and choose EPUB (Fixed Layout) from the Format dropdown menu.
Once I choose that, I'm going to click Save, then there are various panels that you enter in different information. It's really not that difficult at all, similar to exporting to reflowable EPUB, but actually a lot simpler as far as what you need to do to prep your file. I also have Quark XPress queued up. And here is a document I was working with from Mike's title, where he was working with animations in Quark XPress. And here, you just go to the File menu and choose Export As, and look at that, EPUB. And you can choose reflowable or fixed right from here.
There's another program I've been playing with lately called PubCoder. It's a company out of Italy. And PubCoder's interesting because it can export a layout to all sorts of formats, not just reflowable and fixed-layout EPUBs, but also HTML5, so if you just want to make a website from your publication, and then maybe you want to convert that into an app later, or it can export to an app, or it can export to Android or to KF8, that's the most modern version of Mobi files.
Pretty cool. But you can come over here and choose Export to EPUB, that's version 3, of course, and follow the steps. What I like about PubCoder is that, look at all these fun things that you can add to a document, an image gallery, a quiz, a memory game. This is one of the samples that come with the demo if you want to go to PubCoder.com and download it. And I'll have a link in the PDF of resources. And finally, if you want to create something for the Kindle, I mentioned earlier that the Kindle is really not a good market for fixed-layout EPUBs because their devices are kind of small, and they don't support a lot of the interactivity and videos and so on that the fixed-layout EPUB format does, but they have a few of their own utility programs for creating what is, I guess, in the end, like a fixed-layout EPUB program just for the Kindle.
This is not for anywhere else. And they're all free. And I'll be talking about these more in the chapter on working with Kindle e-books. But there's Kindle Kids' Book Creator, and there's Kindle Textbook Creator, so that one's in beta. Actually, it's just mainly those two, that allow you to start with a PDF, actually, and then add places where somebody could tap on text and it turns into a pop-up so that it's easier to read. So it's not quite what we were thinking of as a fixed-layout EPUB, but it comes close to that.
That is Kindle Comic Creator and Kindle Kids' Book Creator. But if you have a very simple layout, something like this, then I would say that you could possibly do it on your own with a text editor, but more likely it'd be easier to find a program that exports to fixed-layout, like Quark XPress, Adobe InDesign, or a cool app like PubCoder.
- Finding, downloading, and reading free ebooks
- Choosing the right format for your ebook
- Building reflowable EPUBs and fixed-layout EPUBs
- Using tools like Word, Sigil, calibre, Jutoh, Pages, PubCoder, and InDesign
- Adding animation and interactivity such as clickable buttons
- Creating ebooks for the Kindle
- Learning the pros and cons of PDF ebooks
- Creating reflowable and multitouch ebooks with iBooks Author