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General InDesign CS5.5 EPub Issues/Thoughts

May 5, 2011 12:07 PM

  Latest reply: DavidBFox, Sep 3, 2012 3:44 AM
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 13, 2011 12:26 AM   in reply to Tom Chmielewski

    May I ask, what the thoughts are towards e-pubs for Android tablets at the moment? I see that Cari's getting her e-mag out there on Android soon. Any one else into Android via InDesign - whether e-pub books or DPS mags? Also, experience/thoughts concerning aggregators or going solo would be interesting. 

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 1:39 PM   in reply to guardaroba

    I continue to toil with imbedding .mp4 files into ePub files using InDesign 5.5 to no avail.  The ePub formats correctly per my articles panel and I even have the page breaks and TOC links all functioning properly but when it comes to playing any video in the ePub through iBooks the video poster is there but the videos just will not play.  Given this groups collective genius might anyone have some insight on how I need to dial the mp4 in?  Specific codec issues?

     

    Thanks in advance for all of your time!

     

    s2japhil

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 1:57 PM   in reply to Command Q

    Mp4 must have h264 encoding as far as I know.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 2:08 PM   in reply to Bob Levine

    Bob,

     

    Thanks again for the quick response.  The file is h.264 compliant.  When tested on an iPod I literally get a play icon with a slash through.  On an iPhone 4 it will jump through a few pieces of the video but never finish or push out anything that a viewer could make out.

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 2:16 PM   in reply to Command Q

    I'm just getting into Epub myself. Have you updated iBooks to the latest version?

     

    Bob

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 2:20 PM   in reply to Bob Levine

    That I have my friend, I'd love to test it on an iBooks built for the desktop but Apple hasn't released a desktop version.  I'd love to hear what Adobe's thoughts on video file specifics beyond just a file type, (.mp4)

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 2:38 PM   in reply to Command Q

    I tested a PDF with .mp4s on an iPad, and the video worked fine 

    (needed the ezPDF Reader to make that work). I didn't do anything 

    with the video file other than make sure it was H264 compliant.

     

     

    Tom Chmielewski

    Editor/Publisher

    TEC Publishing

    (269) 978-8182

    www.tecpublishing.com

    tom@tecpublishing.com

     
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    Jun 28, 2011 4:27 PM   in reply to Command Q

    My testing shows that MP4 (or altenatively m4v) works well in iBooks.

     

    http://indesignsecrets.com/picking-the-best-video-format-for-digital-p ublishing.php

     

    You can read more about embedding audio and video in iOS and on a Nook in an eBook published by Elizabeth Castro:

     

    http://www.elizabethcastro.com/epub/

     
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    Jun 29, 2011 7:34 AM   in reply to Steve Werner

    Steve,

     

    Thanks for the link ... great resource.  Let me extend that to the entire community you guys have been an invaluable resource and I look forward to future opportunities to problem solve with this fine group!

     

    Cheers,

     

    Command_Q

     
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    Jun 30, 2011 8:59 AM   in reply to Steve Werner

    Steve,

     

    Thanks again for the previous help.  I had an error I wanted to throw by you.  Recently producing an ePub file out of Indesign 5.5 and I've been getting an error.  Upon opening the ePub in iBooks the first page contains error text as follows:

     

    This page contains the following errors:

    error on line 36 at column 80: Entity 'nbsp' not defined error on line 56 at column 303: Entity 'nbsp' not defined error on line 57 at column 68: Entity 'nbsp' not defined

    Below is a rendering of the page up to the first error.

    After which my document starts with no visible errors.  Breaking open the ePub file in Dream Weaver I can see nothing wrong and upon inspecting the code I receive no errors.  I've reviewed the lines specifically mentioned in the error and other then an em-dash at line 36 I have absolutely no clue where the errors are coming from.  Any insight you or anyone else can give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks again
    Command_Q

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 30, 2011 9:39 AM   in reply to Command Q

    @Command_Q,

     

    That's a known bug in InDesign CS5.5.

     

    Here's a posting on InDesignSecrets.com about it:

     

    Creating EPUB in InDesign CS5.5: Beware the WebKit Bug!

     

    There are two workarounds: (1) Removing the character(s). You can look for them in an XML editor like Oxygen. (2) Edit the DTD which is the source of the problem; see Naomi's comments and the comment of the InDesign product manager in the comments.

     
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    Jun 30, 2011 9:46 PM   in reply to Steve Werner

    Forgot about the post...brain cells must be going at an increased pace these days.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jun 30, 2011 10:36 PM   in reply to Command Q

    That should be &nbsp and it's a no break space. I don't think I'd be in a rush to use that in an epub.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jul 1, 2011 6:04 AM   in reply to Steve Werner

    Steve,

     

    Thanks once again for turning me on to Naomi's discovery.  I appreciate every ounce of your efforts.

     

    On a side note for the life of me I can't seem to make this edit.  Upon deleting the extra space as suggested through your resource I save the file, (using dreamweaver), zip the contents and change the extension to .epub but cannot open my .epub in a single e-reader.  I'm using the compression software featured in OSX ... is it possible that I need to seek a third party compression solution?

     

    Cheers,

     

    Command_Q

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 1, 2011 6:12 AM   in reply to Command Q

    Directly unzipping and zipping the file is only going to work in Windows. You'll need a third party solution on the Mac, I believe.

     

    Bob

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 1, 2011 6:24 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    I learned from Anne-Marie's video tutorial on Lynda.com that on a Mac for complex technical reasons, you can't Zip up an EPUB from the Desktop.

     

    The best solution is a pair of scripts to Unzip and Zip an EPUB. They're called EPUB Zip and EPUB Unzip. This avoids having to use Mac Terminal (which is what Liz Castro uses).

     

    She says, "Read the full thread about these on mobileread.com forum, “ePub Zip for Mac OS X”. I think you'll find them with a Google search for "EPUB Unzip"

     

    Alternatively, if you use a great XML editor like Oxygen Author (about $200), it lets you work within the archive without unzipping and rezipping.

     
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    Jul 1, 2011 6:21 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    So, Bob, I'd assumed (being on PC), I'd use the winzip utility to unzip (after changing the epub file to a zip file). And then after fiddling with the CSS in Dreamweaver, saving changes, I'd have to zip the file again, then change the file name back to epub, no? Am I missing something "native" in windows?? Sorry if this is a dumb question.

     
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    Jul 1, 2011 6:36 AM   in reply to MystiMac

    You're not missing anything except the fact that you don't need winzip. Windows can handle this all by itself.

     

    Just change the extension to zip. Unzip the contents. Make the Changes. Create a new compressed folder. Copy the epub files and folders to that compressed folder. Change the file extension to Epub.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jul 1, 2011 6:39 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    Thanks. I'll give it a go.

     
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    Jul 1, 2011 6:51 AM   in reply to Steve Werner

    Kudos ... worked like a charm.  No more "pink error boxes" in iBooks.  Thanks again!

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 11:42 AM   in reply to Bob Levine

    Bob,

    Preface by saying I'm on a PC. The only place I found where I could change the .epub file extension to .zip was in exporting book to epub, in the "save as" field. It did convert the .epub to .zip, but since I have winzip already installed, the file ended up in the winzip file format. I extracted the OEBP folder, opened the css file in dreamweaver, made the changes I wanted (in this case, fixing the formatting of the initial text drop cap), saved that in Dreamweaver. Then I sent the OEBP folder back into the Winzip, but now I have no idea where to go to change the .zip extension back to .epub. The winzip zip files always show up in explorer as an icon. I also tried compressing to a compress folder, but can't find in explorer where that folder got saved to. Anne Marie Conception makes it all look so easy. Any thoughts?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 3, 2011 11:56 AM   in reply to MystiMac

    PS. I just managed to change the winzip file to compressed folder, which shows up now in my explorer, in my ebook design folder. But now, where do I go to change the file extension to .epub, as you suggest?

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 12:04 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Windows Explorer. Right click. Choose rename.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 12:14 PM   in reply to Bob Levine

    When I do that, in explorer, in the "name" column (the first column), it shows .epub as the extension name, but in the second column, "type", it's still showing as a compressed zipped folder. And when I double click on it, in explorer, it gives me this file path in the title bar of the explorer window:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\Desktop\Jeffrey French\ebook\Prism ebook.epub.zip.

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 12:33 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Do you have all file extensions visible? I'd like to smack the engineer at Microsoft who thought hiding them was a good idea.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 1:01 PM   in reply to Bob Levine

    No, I don't have all file extensions visible. Please smack the MS engineer for me too. Can you give me the path/way to make these visible? I so appreciate all your help, and being prompt in your replies.

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 1:10 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    In Windows Explorer choose Tools > Folder Options > View.

     

    Bob

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 1:35 PM   in reply to Bob Levine

    Here's what I get when I make hidden files visible (Jeffrey French is the client).Alas, doesn't show other than the .tmp file. Note the time on the files, as

    Scrnshot.jpg

    and this:

    Scrnshot2.jpg

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 1:37 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Maybe I should just go back over Anne-Marie's video to see again the text editor she named that doesn't require unzipping. I hope there's one for PC, that doesn't screw up my computer, like Sigil did.

     
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    Jul 3, 2011 1:43 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Wait wait. When I re-opened the folder, it finally showed the file extensions. Sorry to trouble you, and thanks again.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 20, 2011 7:48 PM   in reply to guardaroba

    I’m a small traditional paper book publisher who wants to convert some my back catalogue into ebooks. And to release both paper and ebook versions of future books. 

     

    I’ve been using InDesign CS3 for traditional book publishing. It does the job well and there’s been no compelling reason to upgrade. That is, until I went to a recent Adobe roadshow and heard of the wonders of InDesign 5.5 for ebook production. OK – it was time to upgrade and wet my feet in the ebook field!

     

    Keen to get started, I took a look at the programme’s built-in Help. Not helpful. As far as working with ebooks is concerned, the Help menu in InDesign 5.5 seems to be mainly a list of choices to make when exporting to the epub format. No explanation of the significance of these. There were links to articles, extremely limited videos, and forums such as this one. All very well, and appreciated, but essentially that’s an Adobe cop-out.

     

    Most of the information and discussion about CS5.5’s epub world relates to fancy Wired Magazine-type publications or all-singing and dancing apps for iPads. Or existing epublishers are making comparisons with earlier InDesign versions and discussing thingsthat are only comprehensible to people ‘in the know’.  Very little is helpful to someone who is starting from scratch and wants to produce an ebook version of a traditional, text-oriented book.

     

    Where is the basic information that tells me how to get started and how I should tweak an existing InDesign file in order to produce an acceptable ebook? Essentially all I want in my end product is a graphic of the book’s cover, then the title page, imprint page, table of contents, foreword and 23 chapters of text. In other words, I want to produce a simple product like the latest James Patterson novel at iBooks.

     

    Where can I get this basic information? There’s stuff out there relating to earlier versions of InDesign, but I don’t want to go near it, because the latest version is supposed to have been extensovely re-jigged. I’m not into voluntary confusion.

     

    ‘From the ground up’ instructions for CD5.5 seem don’t seem to be available from Adobe. Third parties who write books and articles, and produce videos about InDesign aren’t up to speed yet.

     

    It’s five months since CS5.5 was released. Considering that Adobe has pushed ebook production as a compelling reason for upgrading to CS5.5, they should have provided comprehensive support material from Day One. They should have worked with third party book and video producers so their material would be available from Day One.

     

    I’m not a happy camper. Sure, I’ll probably work all this out eventually. But I have more profitable things to do with my time.

     

    With luck I’ve missed something and there is a manual out there – specifically for InDesign CS5 – provided free by Adobe, as essential support to what is one of the world’s more expensive software programs.

     

     
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    Jul 20, 2011 7:53 PM   in reply to johnmacg

    I sent you a PM.

     
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    Jul 20, 2011 10:24 PM   in reply to marcusstringer

    Why a PM? Don't you suppose the rest of us might like to see the Adobe tools perform?

     

    There seem to be two kinds of eBooks in the iBookstore. There're the...

    simple product like the latest James Patterson novel at iBooks.

     

    ...that johnmacg spoke about in his previous post.

     

    And there're the  — what I call — enhanced eBooks. The best way to describe these is by example. SO, go to iTunes and download Amelia Bedelia. It's a kids book; you don't have to buy it, just the test pages.

     

    What's the difference?

     

    1. The "simple" eBooks johnmacg refers to:

     

    • Have the controls built into the book pages. Yes, you can summon/dismiss them by tapping, but there's a place for them on the header line, as part of the book
    • Allow you to increase the type size by selecting the little A, big A feature. They do not allow spreading finger enlargement.
    • Display bread crumbs at the page bottom for zipping through the pages.
    • Impose margins that take up a lot of top, outside, bottom space.
    • Trigger a link to a standard TOC text when you touch the TOC icon.
    • Change page count as you enlarge/reduce font size.

     

    2. The "enhanced" type books I refer to:

     

    • Have controls that appear/disappear above the trim line of the books. They are not part of the "book" real estate.
    • Allow you to size (reduce/enlarge) by spreading fingers. The little A, big A feature does not appear. The entire page enlarges.
    • Display thumbnails, not bread crumbs for book navigation (makes sense because these books are visually rich and frequently have a lower page content).
    • Do not impose margins; you can have images into margin and beyond, into what would be considered the "bleed" area in a print book.
    • Does not trigger a link to a standard TOC, but to rows of thumbnail icons for each page.
    • Do not change page count as you enlarge/reduce font size

     

    Unlike johnmacg, I'm interested in category 2 — what I call the enhanced eBook. And I can produce books like this up to a point. That's because it seems to me that they must start life as PDFs and somehow get converted into ePubs to be acceptable to the iBookstore.

     

    We have created prototypes in inDesign, output them to PDF, then loaded them onto an iPad on the PDF tab, of course. What we get is a book that looks like and performs exactly like Amelia Bedelia. Same features I enumerated above.

     

    What we don't get is how to create the page paradigm, with the shadow demarcation in the gutter and the supplemental pages on the outer edges. Does this have to be designed as an inDesign master page?

     

    We also can't duplicate the "page turning" transition, even though it is available in the Page Transitions menu, but for SWF only (thanks a lot Adobe!). But these are minor to solving the problem of how one converts — if my startiing-life-as-a-PDF hypothesis is correct — a PDF with all the "enhanced"  functions into an Apple acceptable ePub? Do we need a programmer? Can we do it alone withinDesign? How do we do it?

     

    I have whole books waiting to go — text over illustrations, text alone, illustrations alone  —, but we don't know how to do the rest. Someone must know, because we see the two types of books in the iBookstore. We've downloaded them, compared them. Feature-wise, our PDFs match Amelia Bedelia 95%.

     

    Why is there no information from Adobe on the types of books in the iBookstore, how to create each one step-by-step, how to test and error check them so they meet Apple standards, and finally how to load them to the iBookstore?

     

    I second jonmacg. CS5.5 is a big disappontment, not because it can't do these things, but because even after five months, we still don't know WHAT it can do?

     

     

    PS. I don't want to pay someone, or anyone, $3000 for training. I've already figured out most of it. Selling an expensive product and then trying to gouge us for training is not acceptable. We want a top-down statement of the kinds of eBooks this product can produce, plus step-by-step instructions for each.

     
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    Jul 21, 2011 4:24 AM   in reply to jjsemple

    Enhanced ebooks are still tricky on the iPad. One thing you could try 

    for converting full feature PDFs is a $1.99 app ezPDF reader. The 

    thing is the user needs to have the app to see the features on your 

    PDF. So you have to convince book buyers to make two purchases, your 

    book and the app. I have a multimedia PDF ebook that was out before 

    the iPad and other readers, but couldn't get the media functions to 

    run on the iPad. I had to make all videos and animations MPEG-4s, but 

    the videos and interactivity worked well in the app. I had to do some 

    other workarounds, but it worked.

     

    Not a perfect solution, but worth taking a look at. ezPDF seems to 

    have of the features you mentioned. It may do what you need.

     

    The better technical solution is your own app, which is frustrating. 

    Like you, I don't want to pay big bucks up front for one offs on each 

    book, and I don't have the programming skills. You may look at a 

    different business solution. I've been approached to do the book as 

    an app for a percentage of sales. Zero up front costs, and 

    commissions that are about what you expect through print sales in 

    book stores. It's in process now.

     

    The added advantage is the book is made available for sale in the 

    Apple Apps store.

     

    Not every programmer is willing to work for a percentage, and just 

    because a programmer does it once doesn't mean he'll do it again. If 

    your books are attractive enough, as in good potential sales, a 

    programmer may see that arrangement as a marketing tool for him and 

    willing to take a shot. You may end up with an ongoing relationship 

    that way.

     

    The best solution, of course, is to have off the shelf design 

    programs that just step up to do the job, without paying exorbitant 

    subscription fees. But I don't run Adobe.

     

    tom

     
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    Jul 21, 2011 5:06 AM   in reply to johnmacg

    @Johnmacg: At least, do watch Anne-Marie Conception's Lynda.com training, "InDesign CS5 to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad" -- that got me most of the way there, but I'm now having to learn more CSS to be able to make the tweaks to the CSS stylesheet Anne-Marie makes look so simple... At least I've been able to publish my first ebook to amazon & B&N, basic, with the cover, TOC, text, proper chapter, para. spacing & line breaks.

     
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    Jul 21, 2011 4:26 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Thanks MystiMac, but I want that video for my version of InDesign, not an older version. From what I've tread,

    there are significant differences in 5.5 as far as epub is concerned.

    Particularly I am not prepared to pay to get a tutorial for an older version. I don't know what the cost

    is, but any cost is too much if the product is not up to date.

     

    Given the high price of InDesign, Adobe themselves should be providing

    comprehensive instructions for free.

     
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    Jul 21, 2011 7:59 PM   in reply to johnmacg

    My ears were burning. :-D

     

    Thanks for the endsorsment of my Lynda.com InDesign CS5 > EPUB, Kindle, and iPad video tutorials. (There's a CS4 version I did for them too over there, btw).

     

    I finished recording the CS5.5 version of the title a little while ago, so it should be coming out in the next couple weeks. (They need to go through editing, beta testing, etc.).

     

    Follow my Twitter feed @amarie or our @InDesignSecrets one to hear about it as soon as it's out (or check the blog periodically).

     

    It does *not* cover more advanced stuff like fixed layouts, javascript, etc. It's basics-to-intermediate, like the other titles.

     

    Colin Fleming from Adobe did a great webinar last week on CS5.5 and EPUB (it went deeper than usual), you should check it out if you have 5.5:

     

    http://my.adobe.acrobat.com/p9pj3kf54s9/

     

    AM

     
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    Jul 22, 2011 3:32 AM   in reply to johnmacg

    @Johnmacg: True enough, that Anne Marie Conception video is only for CS5, not CS5.5, but from comparing the two INDD versions (I now have both) as far as I can tell (and I'm no expert, let me be clear) most of what you need to understand is in CS5; it's mainly the "articles" panel in CS5.5 that's different. Apparently Lynda.com is working on getting out the video for Indd CS5.5, "soon." Plus, if you register your adobe software,  you get a gift benefit, and one of the choices is 30 days of Lynda.com training for free. I've been using those for awhile! I do agree, Adobe should be providing comprehensive instructions for free, surely.

     
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    Jul 22, 2011 3:36 AM   in reply to AnneMarie Concepcion

    Thanks for the update, AM,

    Can you give another link for  the Colin Fleming webinar? The link you gave opens up a window with the audio audible, but with gray survey boxes covering the page.

    Mystimac

     
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    Jul 24, 2011 4:29 PM   in reply to MystiMac

    Interesting to hear that I can get 30 days of free training if you

    register my CS5.5! I bought my upgrade via a download rather than a

    physical disk, and that wasn't offered to me.

     

    I must check it out and see if I can have the free training start after

    Lynda's 5.5 training video is released. I'm certainly not prepared to

    pay for initial training when Adobe should have provided either a free

    training course or at least an epub production manual – as we'd say

    down here in the South Pacific, Adobe have been bloody slack.

     

    Like MistiMac, I'd like to see an alternative URL for the Colin Fleming

    webinar. That link behaves the same strange way for me too: opening up

    a window with the audio audible, but with gray survey boxes covering

    the page.

     

    Johnmacg

     
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