One of the real issues with ePUBs and Kindle books are the horrendously ugly HTML lists which have no typographical relationship with the rest of the copy in the book. InDesign CC has made a large step forward by beginning their development of a robust convert-to-text option for our ePUBs. Let me show you the issues with a sample document:
Here we see a small bulleted list using an oversized red dingbat from the font, Embellishments One LET. It’s a standard font I got somewhere, probably from OSX. It’s a pretty straightforward list in print. But what happens when I export it to an ePUB?
HTML lists: messed up indents, the dingbat is ignored, even the color of the bullet is ignored. In addition, the nested character style is badly messed up.
The Convert-To-Text option in ePUB export dialog
InDesign is putting its efforts into Convert-to-Text because there simply are not as many HTML options as we need for lists. They’ve made a good start, but there are still some issues.
Here’s a mess. The indents are much better, but the dingbat has been dropped and the Unicode character slot which holds the bullet is shown [an X]. But as a penalty for confusing the poor application, the first line indent is messed up and the tab does not work.
At present, we can only use Unicode characters. Basically, we are talking about most of 8-bit ASCII, the basic 256-character font. So, I changed the bullet to a lozenge. The font I am using, Buddy, has a good looking lozenge [designed to be used as a bullet in a Web font]. With the change it looks like this:
I find the lozenge to be acceptable. It’s certainly not as good as the printed version, but that will always be the case. There has to be some benefit to paying so much more for a printed version. Of course, to see it in color, the best option is a downloadable PDF. If you bought that PDF, you would see what you see above. But from InDesign, you see what’s below:
Obviously I had made the bullet very large with a baseline shift [that was dropped]. So, I make the change eliminating the size change and I get :
Is it great! Not yet, but it certainly a great step up from HTML lists.
- The new Self-Publishing Handbook is released! (bergsland.org)