HomeAuthor WritingMinistryChristian DesignContrary to common opinion, InDesign CC has helped ePUB export a lot

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Contrary to common opinion, InDesign CC has helped ePUB export a lot — 5 Comments

  1. WRT embedded fonts… all four major ereader systems support embedded fonts. Nooks and Kobo had it long before Kindle (which, since September 2012, supports embedded fonts in all Amazon devices from Kindle Keyboard forward, and all Kindle apps except for Kindle for iOS and Kindle Cloudreader).

    If I’m not mistaken, font embedding issues in ID-spawned ebooks have more to do with ID’s font obfuscation algorithm than the font-rendering support in the devices or apps (including Kindle desktop apps). My shop’s work flow is opposite of yours—ebooks then paper—so our font embedding issues are minimal and primarily related to understanding licenses. And generally speaking, we rarely embed fonts for body text (save for literary devices and foreign-language characters that may have incomplete support), so mileage may vary with ebooks that do use embedded fonts to replace body text.

    Something to note about embedding fonts for Kindle:

    The platform has limited support for OpenType fonts (PostScript outlines can cause problems), but issues with the Paperwhite model can make using them unpredictable. Because of this, Amazon turns off “publisher fonts” by default with ebooks that use OpenType fonts. The user can turn them on if they wish, however. The solution is to find TrueType fonts—or convert OpenType fonts to TrueType—and substitute them.

  2. Thanks, Rob

    The information is good to know. I have a severe coding challenge, and I write/format in InDesign. I know that coders can do it, but most author and designers cannot or do not (same difference, I guess).

    I believe ebooks will get as good in InDesign as print finally has. But for novels and the like your approach is a good one.

  3. Pingback: Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #33 — The Book Designer

  4. “In fact, the coverage given to coders and developers of ePUBs matches the hype received in the media by Obama.”

    I disagree. I appreciate your work —I’m currently re-reading your book “Practicaly Font Design” by the way and wanted to thank you—, I know you describe yourself as “code challenged” but that doesn’t mean you have to be anti-coders.

    Technically speaking, the coverage given to coders and developers is just a consequence, not hype.

    An InDesign epub export —even CC— is so disrespectful of the HTML and CSS languages that you just can’t get a sound basis. Now, when it comes to ebooks, it is all about markup (HTML), an area in which InDesign is insanely bad: you are strictly limited to headers, paragraphs, emphasis and strong emphasis.* Actually, if InDesign did not export styles at all but enabled users to export good markup, it would be 1000 times better.

    I’m telling this as it feels like you care about styles mainly; correct me if I’m wrong.

    Now, a few interesting thoughts I’m listing there:

    – some agree that embedding EPUB directly in InDesign was a huge mistake as it was not a tool meant for ebooks and that creating a dedicated tool with an InDesign bridge would have been better in practice. Since InDesign developers have been fixing EPUB Export for years now, Adobe’s approach seems at least debatable and has quite a lot of cons.

    – InDesign exports stuff it shouldn’t (e.g. discretionary hyphens which trigger quite an important bug in iBooks, useless span tags for tracking…), which demonstrates how much Adobe’s approach may be wrong: as a matter of fact you must waste time manually doing what InDesign should do.

    – because InDesign exports “tags and styles soup” (disrespectful of HTML and CSS languages), files which have not been taken care of have created havoc in the EPUB ecosystem, a position quite a lot of reading engines’ developers would indeed agree if you talked to them about InDesign. As a result, InDesign EPUB files have definitely and without any doubt slowed the standard down.

    – coders and developers have been spending a lot of time correcting InDesign exports and developing dedicated workflows because these exports were just really bad.

    – some publishers are developing their own tools because they concluded InDesign is a bad tool for ebook production (EPUB and DPS for magazines/apps), a tool creating more problems that it is solving.

    – InDesign can’t export styles 100% compatible with its own Adobe RMSDK, the EPUB rendering engine used by 90% of the industry, including Adobe Digital Editions.

    Which is quite a lot of interesting thoughts, don’t you think? Especially as the main idea is “InDesign is a real problem”.

    Some limits are not excusable, especially the scarcity of HTML markup. This is a huge no-no and we should blame InDesign developers for that since it is a proof of utter incompetence.

    Therefore, “due to the fact that any experienced designer will start with a fully formatted print edition produced in InDesign” may be true but any experienced Ebook developer will get out of InDesign ASAP.

    * I’m not taking lists and tables into account as you have no real control over in InDesign. Moreover, EPUB 3 files you are exporting from InDesign are technically in violation of EPUB 3 specs if you don’t modify them and use HTML 5 grouping tags.

    PS: excuse my english, this is not my native language.

  5. I know developers dislike the code produced by InDesign. The fact is that I have control over about thirty styles i use when exporting ePUBs and it works very well. If you went to ePUBsecrets you’d see an invite to join the prerelease team to test ePUB3 FXL. They have gotten a lot better, very recently.

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