- An ebook is a book that you can read on screen. It's a digital version of a print book or even a book that never had a print edition. Maybe it was created from the get go as a digital book. An EPUB is a particular type of ebook. The one that you're probably most familiar with if you've ever read an ebook on a Kindle or an iPad or on a Kobo even or Android device. But not every ebook is an EPUB. An EPUB is a particular type of ebook as I said like, how a JPEG is a particular type of digital image.
Now this course focuses on EPUBs, which is the standard open-source format for creating digital ebooks. And in particular reflowable EPUBs. There is another kind of EPUB called a thicks-layout EPUB. And I do have a couple courses here on lynda.com that talk about how to create those kind of ebooks from scratch or from within InDesign. I have one video later in this chapter that will help you decide if your project would be better off as a reflowable EPUB or as a fixed-layout EPUB. For now just let me help the new ebook designers in the audience understand where reflowable EPUBs as I said the most popular type of ebooks, fits into the ebooks ecosystem.
So we're going to start with an existing book that was created for print Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. As you can see it's opened right here in InDesign. It's not the entire book but it's most of it. And a lot of these illustrations should be familiar right? Now when you export from InDesign you can export to PDF, to EPUB Reflowable or to EPUB Fixed-Layout. All those choices are available to you from the File, Export menu. Go ahead and choose it. And you can see down here under Format, we have PDF for Printer Interactive and then we have EPUB Fixed-Layout and EPUB Reflowable.
Now I have already exported this file to PDF for print EPUB Reflowable and then I converted the EPUB to a mobi file which is for Kindle. Lets take a look in the Finder. So here are these files in the exercise folder. There's the PDF, there's the mobi file which is a variation of EPUB that Kindles use. The InDesign file and the EPUB file. So lets look at this first as the PDF. When you export an InDesign file to PDF you get a print replica.
You get an exact copy of what you see in InDesign. So you see the same kind of custom text wrap around the rabbit ears here that we did in InDesign. If I move from page to page you can see that every page looks exactly as I laid it out using the same fonts, the same line breaks and so on. Now if I resize the page, lets say that I'm looking at this PDF on a smaller device, the page just scales. Everything else remains frozen in place. The line breaks don't change at all.
That's the big difference between a PDF and an EPUB. Now I'll jump over to iBooks and we have the same book opened in iBooks. Now it looks somewhat familiar. We can see the rabbit illustration but notice that we've lost the custom wrap which is something you can't do in a reflowable EPUB. The fonts might look a little different. You can embed the fonts as long as you have the rights to them. But the big difference is that if I resize this EPUB notice how the line breaks change. That's why it's called reflowable. So the same EPUB would have the same type size whether I looked at it on a big iPad or small iPhone or and Android or a Kobo.
We don't get the scaling effect that we did in the PDF. So that's why they call it reflowable. You can think of it like water. And the content of the ebook is like water that fills the device. And if you have a small device then just fills a little bit. Only a little bit could fit on the page. If you have a really large iPad or you're looking at it in a desktop reader then you could see a lot more content. As I said the Kindle is very similar to an EPUB. It isn't the same code on the inside but there's a free utility that will convert EPUBs to the mobi file format as what Amazon calls it.
Now similar to an EPUB thought is that it's a reflowable format, it doesn't scale when you resize. So for example we're looking at it in Portrait View and you can see we have some problems with some tables of contents and such. But that's something that we'll work on later. Let me just move it to another page so, we don't have to look at that. There we go. And if I, for example, change this from a Portrait to Landscape view, which you can do in this cool program form Amazon called Kindle Previewer, then give it a second to redraw and you can see that it just reflowed to fill the new space.
The line breaks are completely different. The image stays the same and it stays centered. We're going to look at EPUB in a lot more detail in this chapter. So that you have a solid understanding of what exactly InDesign is exporting to and how to make your EPUB ebooks look the best that they can be.
- Choosing between fixed-layout and reflowable EPUB
- Creating an EPUB workspace in InDesign
- Managing the sequence of content
- Creating a table of contents for navigation
- Working with book files and Word documents
- Adding metadata
- Cleaning up text formatting
- Mapping text styles
- Optimizing images for EPUB export
- Exporting to EPUB2 and EPUB3
- Previewing and validating EPUB files
- Converting EPUBs to other formats