HomeAuthor WritingBook ReviewNew Release: Writing In InDesign CC 2014 Producing Books, more than an update


New Release: Writing In InDesign CC 2014 Producing Books, more than an update — 11 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I bought and read your book on writing in Indesign yesterday – and learnt a lot! Thanks for putting together so much valuable information.

    I wonder if I may ask the following question: I am currently working with Indesing CS6 (the last version you could buy) and would now have to update this subscribing to Adobe. This is quite expensive. I am a small German publisher who has produced several books of children (and other books) and we would like to produce fixed-layout ebpubs for these books. The interesting thing is that these books are individualized for each and every child with photos put in them on various pages. Therefore, every book (or eat least the relevant pages have) has to be produced individually.

    Is it worth subscribing Adobe creative cloud or do you think there is a way I can use CS6 and have maybe not a simple, but a doable way of producing fixed-layouts?

    And: is it really so simple to export to fixed-layout, also to various readers (Kindle, Ibook, Sony book reader…)

    I am looking forward to your answer and am sending greetings from Germany,

  2. I send ID-CC epubs directly to Apple and Amazon and neither complain about them even before this update. Hopefully, this update means even less potential for trouble.

    For my latest ebook, Smashwords did halt it with an error message that essentially said, “this is very complication epub,” Their checker is apparently used to the simplistic ePub created from Word documents by their ‘meat grinder.’ When I pointed out to Smashwords that the epub file had passed muster with Apple, they manually approved it for release. Others may need to do the same. Smashwords is an easy way to distribute to smaller retailers and libraries. They’ll accept ePub 2.0 and plan to accept ePub 3.0 soon. They’re more for people who write in Word for Windows, but they can be made to work with an ID workflow.

    One question. ID-CC-2014 Fixed layout ePub looks great on my iPad and my Mac. It also seems to format fine for my iPhone 3GS, but the type is almost microscopic and thus useless. How does Apple want us to handle the ePubs it sells? Will we be able to send it both an ePub FL and an ePub reflowable and have customers download either? Ultimately, it’d be great if iBooks could display a fixed layout file as if it were reflowable. iBooks Author, for instance, seems to be able to create ebooks that display as fixed layout in landscape and reflowable in landscape.

  3. Hi Petra,
    The short answer: yes, it’s worth it and necessary. I’m with you and really dislike the subscription deal. HOWEVER, all you need is InDesign, The older versions of the other apps are more than sufficient. InDesign by itself is around $20 a month here in the States. I would hope that is true in Germany also.

    Yes, it really is that simple to export. You do need different layouts for fixed and reflow, but that’s not too difficult. I’ve heard several people say that the FXL export is better than what’s available from most Web developers, if not all of them.

  4. Hi Michael,

    With the fixed layout, I found I had to be really careful that the type was 9-11 words per line. I also cut the margins way down. I’m not surprised that an iPhone is a real problem. I uploaded both a Fixed and a Reflowable to iBooks. For Smashwords, this book is just far too large. I found that iBooks and Kobo accepted FXL fine. The rest either bounced it or it looked terrible.

    We certainly do need better ereaders. I hear Readium does well with the FXL books. Now, if ADE would update to support it.

    iBooks Author is so clumsy to use that I gave up on it. The frustration level was simply too high. Of course, I’m the same with word processors.

  5. Thanks a lot for this fast and down to the point answer!
    I will see if I can also only subscribe to Indesdign, so far in Germany, it seems that you have to subscribe all the Adobe CC products in one lot – but maybe I have not checked their website carefully enough,
    anyway, thanks!

  6. Then it looks like ePub-FL isn’t for me, at least until Apple comes up with a workaround. For me, the big advantage of fixed layout is that I can use the same page layout as the print version. If I have to create a separate, large-text version that’ll look on an iPad like a children’s story book, then I’ll just stick to reflowable for now.

    Hopefully, Apple with come up with a way for publishers to upload both versions and allow users to get either or both as they choose. I’m hoping some of my books will become college textbooks. Having an iPad version with precisely the same page breaks as the print version would be a major plus.

    I’m no fan of iBooks Author either. I tell people there are two ways to design a book editor, which for objectivity sake I’ll call the right way and the wrong way. In the right way, you can define paragraph styles without ever looking at text. That’s ideal for people who know what they’re doing. In the wrong way, you take a block of text, tweak it until you like how it looks. Then you apply that apply that text’s formatting to a style. IBA does the latter, probably because its target audience isn’t layout pros or even regular authors but high school teachers creating their own ebooks. Importing to IBA is also a pain and creating anything other than a limited range of book formats (mostly those for textbooks) is either hard or impossible. I’ve never be able to figure out which.

    For those who want to create novel-like ebooks without any technical hassle at all and to publish it themselves, I suggest Vellum:


    Some don’t like its pay-per-book-upload business model, but if you’re spending months writing a novel, the cost is a pittance, at the most $50 per ebook. I also think that they need to go all the way and give it a small slice of Scrivener’s writer-friendly feature set, making it as easy to rearrange scenes inside chapters as it is to move about the chapters themselves. That’d let the techno-phobic write with Vellum as well as publish. Anything that spares people the miseries of using Word is a plus.

    There are limits. Authors who use Vellum don’t have limited layout formats (this isn’t remotely like InDesign) and the last time I checked you couldn’t include pictures or graphics. But for a novel or biography, the layout looks quite good and publishing to iBooks, Kindle and the Nook will take in about 90% of potential ebook sales.

    –Michael W. Perry, co-author of Lily’s Ride

  7. Actually, it doesn’t look like a children’s story book at all. You should only have 9-12 words per line anyway. The outside margins don’t matter because iBooks adds a lot of margin. The redo is not extensive. It’s not nearly as bad as the conversion to Reflowable.

  8. An iPad isn’t the problem. The iPhone is. I’ve seen what my latest looks like on my 3GS. The text, ample size on a 6×9 book or an iPad, looks like ant droppings on that tiny screen. Even doubling the font size wouldn’t work. Apple seems to be behind fixed layout and good-looking ebooks, so I’ll just wait for them to arrive at a solution. Maybe customers can get both versions. May iBooks will be smart enough to turn fixed layout into reflowable.

  9. I understand. Thankfully, I don’t have to put up with a phone. I upload a Fixed layout version, clearly marked, I hope. And a separate Reflowable version, as a separate listing. REFloWABLE is added at the end of the subtitle and FIXED LAYOUT at the end of the subtitle of the FXL version. They also have different screen captures. I hope that makes it clear enough. Of course, there will also be a D2D version with no embedded fonts, reflowable, which will confuse things a bit. But then D2D sells more books through iBooks than iBooks does.

  10. I just got this from iBooks support:

    I understand that you’re wanting to release an EPUB version of your book that’s a fixed layout version, so that the book can be read on iPhones.

    This is currently not a feature that we support.

    We do not have a way to provide a book for free, providing that a different book has been purchased. You will need to provide these two EPUB files as two different books, which must be purchased separately.

    Or in other words, as you said, we need to release two versions, each clearly described as to its use.

  11. Another solution, on my Gumroads link you get a downloadable color PDF, a fixed layout ePUB, and the Reflowable ePUB with fonts— all for the price of any one of those versions. Of course, it’s a 46MB archive to download. https://gum.co/gsDsU

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