No, this is not a step by step. It’s a discussion of the realities of dealing with publishing in the second decade of the 21st century. Specifically, I want to talk about dealing with graphically intensive books in multiple channels.
One of the Linked-In groups I’m in has been debating the role of XML in “future-proofing” documents. They are mainly coming from employment at large publishing houses with hundreds or thousands of legacy books—many from before the e-reader age, many from before the digital age entirely. That’s not what I am talking about either.
This is redesign not conversion
That’s the first thing you need to accept—like it or not. There is no way to convert a typographically excellent, graphically intensive book from PDF to ePub. There are too many limitations with ePub. Here’s a list of the things you’ll need to get rid of as you make the conversion:
- Fonts: All you have to work with are a limited portion of the originally limited Web palette of fonts
- Vector graphics: at this point you need to convert everything to JPEG.
- Anchored graphics: Everything must be inline.
- Columns: This is all single column stuff.
- Nested styles: You’ll need to hand format run-in heads with character styles
- Styles in general: Depending on who you use to distribute your masterpiece, you’ll probably need to convert to the H1-6, p, ol, ul choices of HTML [I’m thinking Kindle here].
It’ s a very different way of thinking
I keep on hearing that some types of books will not convert. That’s not true. What is true is that some designers are not willing to work within the given limitations as we wait for our options to improve. For one of my new bloggin acquaintances, I made a couple of comparison pieces [PDF vs. ePub] this morning. I thought you might want to take a look and see what I had to change. Yes, the ePub version is hideous. But, it is selling as well as the PDF version—though the printed version is still outselling both.
Does this miss the mark for you?
What experiences are you having that suggest my choices are bad or wrong?