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Is there a way to create file for ebooks and print?

Jan 31, 2013 7:54 AM

Tags: #kindle #ebook #epub #mobi #print_ready

Hi folks,


I have been looking around online for information on how (or even if it's possible) to set up book on InDesign that is suitable for producing a print-ready PDF and also being suitable for producing epub and/or mobi files for submission to Amazon, etc.


So my first question is whether or not it's technically possible (and efficient) to do that. I thought it would be great to have each book (with all its subdocuments) set up once, and from that I can produce the PDF I sent to the printers, and also product ebook files.


If it is possible, can anyone point me in the right direction for instruction (i.e. best practices, steps, etc.) for this?


So far what I am turning up online is info on how to set up a book for ebook product OR the usual info on how to set up books for print production. But I've not yet found anything that covers doing both at once.


Thank you

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2013 8:55 AM   in reply to Inspired121

    This is not an easy task, but if you plan beforehand, I think it's feasible to mantain a "master" file, both for print and ePUB. It really depends on the complexity of your layout. For already laid out docs, this could be a real problem.


    Nonetheless, it's not a very efficient/scalable approach at all. There's no escape from heavily editing the ePUB XHTML code (and images) after export. Kindle files are another story, but you can generate them from your finished ePUB – with more code editing, of course.


    Some links/docs to get you started:

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2013 9:40 AM   in reply to Inspired121

    First of all: With the latest version of InDesign we have to do a lot of additional work outside of InDesign to get better CSS and to repair some shortcomings.

    Second: It is very important to use the latest version, because Adobe has improved the epub export with CS5.5 and another time with CS6 and it is to expect that Adobe will go forward this path in the future.


    To prepair files for print and epub (which is possible) to following:

    1. Work complete with Paragraph Styles, Character Styles and Object Styles

    2. Define in CS6 the export tagging.

    3. Avoid complete manual overwriting of style atributes, use another style instead.

    4. Set up good CSS, some HTML know how is necessery and a HTML editor

    5. Test the epub on several readers and on a multitude of devices

    6. Don't expect that the epbu will look the same as the printed product, it will not look the same in every program and on any device, different devices or programs will use different fonts.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2013 12:01 PM   in reply to Inspired121

    TextWrangler is an excelent (and free) code editor for Mac which is able to open ePUBs without uncompressing them first:


    Sigil is entirely dedicated to ePUB. Another nice addition to your toolset, also free:

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 31, 2013 1:36 PM   in reply to Inspired121

    Step 2: have a look in the paragraph and character style dialog. You need to define which HTML-tag with css class and PDF-tag will represent this paragraph in exported epubs, html and pdf. When you create a css you will define the design of these tags and classes.

    In printed design we are often tweaking paragraphs to fill pages or to reduce the number of pages, if only a view words are missing or are to much. An often used method is to extend or reduce tracking. Often done manually. But those things will cause manuall overricde classes in exported ePubs and html. But for screen reader is not a need to save or extend space. Here it is more important to have a common and clear font design. So it is better in this example to use another paragraph style with the different tracking but which belongs to the same tag and class as the main text, so that the different tracking for the printed book will not have any unwanted influence to the design of the epub and html.

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    Jan 31, 2013 1:37 PM   in reply to PageLab

    Good is also BareBones BBEdit which can work in the XHTML files inside of an epub without extracting the zip file.

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