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The use of InDesign & Photoshop is essential stewardship for DIY publishers — 2 Comments

  1. I second that. With ID CS6, I’m impressed with how easy it is to export to ePub (for the iBookstore) and mobi (for Amazon). And the big plus is what that means for the print books I’ve created in older versions of InDesign, I can quick easily create digital versions. One text source, many format outputs is very nice, particularly when you need to revise.

    The only remaining hassle is ‘everybody else’–meaning B&N, Diesel, Kobo etc, for which I use Smashwords. Unfortunately, even though Smashwords is sending many ebook retailers ePub files, they want the input as a Word .doc file. That means exporting from InDesign and a lot of reformatting. It also means I now have two text sources. Not good. Smashwords has mentioned perhaps allowing ePub input in the future, and, if that happens my life gets a lot easier. For now, I simply put the Smashwords version at the end of my workflow, to be done after all the others.

    Those bothered by the stiff price of your first copy of InDesign might want to do a bit of research and then watch for older but upgradable copies places like eBay or Craigslist. Quite a few small business, in the zeal of the moment, pick up a copy of ID because someone tells them it’s “the best way to do brochures.” They discover ID’s hefty learning curve and don’t use it. Once it gets a version or two behind, they look for a quick way to unload it.

    That’s where your research matters. Find out just how many version back Adobe is currently allowing for upgrades and make sure the person you’re buying for either hasn’t registered it (common) or can transfer the license to you. Also if the version is for a different platform (i.e. Windows v. OSX), check and see if Adobe allows a cross-platform upgrade. Last time I checked, they did. Find the right person at their customer service number and they can tell you that or Google for the right webpage.

    This seems to be the current policy page:

    http://www.adobe.com/products/indesign/buying-guide-upgrades.html

    Notice that the special offer to upgrade from CS3 or CS4 ends on December 31, 2012.

    Also take note that those linked to schools can get special pricing from Adobe and there are special outlets that give really good prices to non-profits. If my quick look is true, TechSoup Stock sells ID for $60 to qualifying non-profits:

    http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/software/page10487.cfm

    –Michael W. Perry, Hospital Gowns and Other Embarrassments (latest)

  2. Excellent comments… I’d only add that PubIt for Nook and Kobo Writing Life does a lot to help spread the distribution. Lulu gets not only the iBookstore but also NookBooks. Conceptually, I like Smashwords a lot but the need for Word.docs is a killer time-wise. Plus, SW formatting restrictions make for a really ugly book.

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