Join Michael Ninness for an in-depth discussion in this video Self-publishing: Print, part of InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations.
Annother trend that I think is actually here to stay it's this notion of self publishing and it's really kind of a variant of The Long Tail theory in action. For those of you who don't know what The Long Tail theory is I highly encourage you to go off on a tangent, go Google The Long Tail. You can see that is what I did here in the search bar here and there will link in your Google results that takes you to the original article written by one of the editors at Wired Magazine, Chris Anderson and this is his original article where he explains this phenomenon of how the internet actually provides a vast market for niche topics and the market is actually hungry for content that goes beyond just the top tittles or the top content, as an example the average Barnes& Noble carries 130000 Book titles in their Brick and Motor Store and when you look at amazon.com book sales more than half of their sales come from outside of the top 130000 titles.
So the markets for books not sold in the average bookstore is larger than the market for those that are. What this mean is that you have this opportunity to create an audience for your niche content that may not make it in a Brick and Motor Store, so to speak, but you can still create an audience and market your content to them. So again take a look at this article if you haven't seen it Chris Anderson actually has a blog called the thelongtail.com. So there is lots of links and useful information on this particular web site as well. He eventually wrote a book that took on expanded view on its original article and converted into a longer book form called the Long Tail of course, he has an update to the book called the Longer Tail as you can take a look at that available at amazon.com of course.
Back to the trend and related to this is createspace.com. It's an example of one of these self publishing websites that have actually sprung up around this theme or this trend. CreateSpace is actually a subsidiary of amazon.com and it lets you self publish either a book content, written content, music content or a video content and the whole website is organized around those three themes here. If I click on the Author's link here, you can see it takes you to a page were it explains the whole process you can create a print it on demand book for the person who wants you buy your book or if you want to sell your book as an e-book through the Amazon Kindle store you can go ahead and do that or do both actually.
You set the price and when someone orders your book it gets printed digitally on demand get shipped to the purchaser. You get a piece of the revenue Amazon of course gets piece of the revenue and everybody wins, another example of a self publishing web site and there is lots of them here I'm just going to highlighting two or three, lulu.com they have gone beyond just quote books or offering self publishing opportunities for e-books, for calendars, for cook books and so forth. Again the idea is that you have got your content, they provide a digital store front where you can actually turn it into a physical product or an electronic product, set the price in there is a revenue share model there.
Another example is blurb. This is a website that I particularly like because the quality of design is so high. They tend to cater to the creative professional which means that a lot of the people creating books on blurb or actually using professional tools, and products like InDesign so to speak, or Illustrator or whatnot Again you set the price, either print it on demanded you can buy them yourself and sell them on your own or you can make them available for purchase online as well, giving example somebody's book, I mean they tend to be Photo Books but a lot of designers and agencies are using them create custom portfolio books to send to potential clients to get work and they have got the nice flash based kind of interactive preview of some of these books, I'm just kind of clicking through one of the samples and eventually I'll click through and see this is another photo book example.
I am kind of clicking real quickly just so you can get an idea of what these look like and again these are just the digital previews of what the printed would look like. And they are printed on high quality paper and they are nicely bound and they are really gorgeous objects actually. These are some examples of some photo books. Some of the other examples are architecture firms use them. This is a really well designed book for a design agency. It's talking about their work their philosophy and some of the samples of their work as well. So, just a real nice engaging way to create self published content.
The other one I would like to mention is MagCloud. This is actually a self publishing service for Niche Magazine content. So if you want to create a digital magazine that actually ends up getting printed when someone purchases it, again you set the price, they are digitally printed on demand, MagCloud takes care of the fulfillment and you guys share the revenue between their service and you being the author or the publisher. Again these are all examples of self publish magazines, I haven't seen any of these before, so I'm not really sure what they are all about, but let's click on Film & Festivals when you click on this thumbnail it will take you to about a page where you can actually see the price where you can actually buy the issue, you can see the preview, you could see the back issues here and when you click on the Preview you get a way to actually again kind of cycle through and see the inside of the magazines you can get an idea what it's all about.
So, just some examples of the self publishing trend. This one is more focused on using online to drive awareness and promotion of a physical print product that arrives in your mailbox if you actually go ahead and order these things, but I think you are going to see this type of publishing explode, and you will see lots of different websites and services available here as a way to propagate this Long Tail theory in reality.
- Configuring a custom InDesign workspace for designing digital documents
- Building slide navigation buttons for interactive presentations
- Adding reflection effects to images within a presentation
- Using InDesign to build an interactive mood board
- Creating an interactive digital spiral-bound portfolio
- Using InDesign and Flash Professional to build and animate a digital magazine
- Adding a video file to an interactive document
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: After exporting a portfolio in InDesign, as instructed in the tutorials, the portfolio items appear fuzzy. The letters typed into the InDesign document look fine, and the PDFs placed into InDesign look as they should, but once the items are exported, the type is fuzzy. What could be causing this?
A: The problem described occurs when a PDF is placed into an InDesign document and then scaled on the page. When the final SWF file is then exported from InDesign, the PDF graphics end up looking “soft and fuzzy” because they are being downsampled to a lower resolution.
First, be sure to update InDesign to the latest CS4 dot-release from Adobe. There was a bug in the shipping version of InDesign CS4 that caused images in SWFs to always go out as low-quality JPEGs regardless of the settings chosen in the SWF Export dialog. This issue was addressed in a subsequent release. To initiate the update from within InDesign, choose Help > Updates.
When images, including PDFs, are placed into an InDesign document and then exported to SWF, the images will all be downsampled to 72dpi and saved in one of two file formats, JPEG or PNG. The JPEG file format is a "lossy" file format, and depending on the image quality setting chosen, the final images quality could vary wildly. The PNG file format is "lossless", in that it does not add distracting and ugly artifacts to images.
In the SWF Export dialog, the default setting for Image Compression is set to Auto. Change this setting to "Lossless (Do Nothing)". It is unfortunate that this option is named this way. The three choices should be listed as Auto, JPEG and PNG. Adobe has changed in this in InDesign CS5, but for CS4, one has to know that "Lossless (Do Nothing)" really means “save the images as PNGs.”
The plus to using PNGs is that the images will end up looking great. The minus to using PNGs is that the file size of the SWFs will be larger because the images are not being compressed.
2. Choose High or Maximum JPEGs
If file size is a concern, then switch the Image Compression option to JPEG, but choose a higher quality setting from the JPEG Quality pop-up. The default is set to Medium. Choose High or Maximum instead. The higher the quality setting, the better the images will look, but their file sizes will be larger. That said, the file size of a maximum quality JPEG is usually smaller than a PNG.
3. Resample in Photoshop and Import JPEGs
The method that gives the user the most control over image quality and file size is to downsample the images in Photoshop to the exact pixel dimensions desired before placing them into InDesign. Open the PDFs (or any other image file formats) in Photoshop and size them to the desired pixel dimensions. If opening a PDF, Photoshop will display an Import PDF dialog first where the pixel dimensions can be set. If other file formats are used, resize them in Photoshop by choosing Image > Image Size. Then make sure the Resample Image checkbox is turned on, choose Bicubic Sharper from the pop-up menu at the bottom, and enter the pixel dimensions in the Pixel Dimensions section of the dialog box (not the Document Size section).
Once the images are the correct size, save them as JPEGs, and set the quality desired level.
After the final JPEGs are placed in the InDesign document, do NOT scale them. Place them at actual size (100%). If a JPEG goes into InDesign at 100% and nothing else is done to them, they will "pass through" to the final SWF untouched. Meaning, they'll go out exactly as they came in. This also means the JPEGs cannot be altered in any way that would cause them to be resampled during SWF Export. Examples are applying transparency effects, drop shadows, etc., to the JPEGs in InDesign.
See the examples below, where a PDF was placed into InDesign, scaled to 50% of its original size, and then various SWFs were exported, changing the Image Compression and JPEG Quality options as described in items 1 and 2 above.