15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 6, 2012 5:05 AM by BobLevine

    Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?

    ralfellis Level 1

      Dear All,

       

       

      More of an observation, than a question. 

       

      All our books are now on epub format, and we are discontinuing paper books.  Paper is too much trouble, and epub sales are doing well.

       

       

       

      However  -  and it is a big however.

       

      We are using an epub translating company, because InDesign will not output complex epubs, and we do not understand epubs.   But we are losing control of the quality of the books, because we are having to edit and make changes with some guy in India who does not understand book layouts or what we are trying to do.  Thus everything is two steps forwards, and one step back, just to get a simple change done.

       

      So when will InDesign be able to output complex epubs?  (ie,  different fonts, load of images, lots of in-line hieroglyphs, videos, audios etc: etc:)     And I don't mean outputting by: check this, change that, do this, change this HTML to that HTML    ---   I mean "click for epub output" the same as I "click for a PDF output".  Done, instant.

       

       

      I give Adobe due warning here.    The first company that comes out with a publishing suite that will output complex epubs, we will change to them in an instant.   We have been with Adobe for 20 years, but we cannot go on editing books 5,000 miles away, it is like editing with boxing gloves on.   You cannot even highlight an error in 'paragraph three on page 487'   -   BECAUSE THERE ARE NO PAGES.   (Grrrr)

       

       

       

      Come on, Adobe.  Do something, or InDesign will only have three customers in five years time.

       

       

       

      Sincerely,

      Ralph Ellis

        • 1. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
          Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          You probably will have a long wait.

           

          Bottom line is you (or someone on your staff or a freelancer) will have to tweak the CSS. It will probably be that way for the forseeable future. There is just too much difference between the way a book needs to be formatted for print and how it has to be formatted for EPUB. InDesign has gotten closer with CS6, but it won't be able to hit it 100%, nor will any software. The only exception would be exceptionally simple publications.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
            BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

            I took this seriously until you gave Adobe due warning. Do you think they’re sitting around looking for ways to make your life harder?

             

             

             

            As Steve points out, for the foreseeable future, you will have to tweak the markup in an EPUB. That’s just the way it is.

             

             

             

            And your closing remark is totally ridiculous. If the number of inquiries in this forum is any indication, most InDesign users aren’t even using it for EPUB.

             

             

             

            Bob

            • 3. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
              ralfellis Level 1

              >>> Bob Levine

               

              I note that most of your comments on this site are acerbic, carping and of little value, and this is no different.

               

               

              >>>I took this seriously until you gave Adobe due warning. Do you think they’re sitting around

              >>>looking for ways to make your life harder?

               

              Frankly, yes.   They changed from PageMaker to InDesign, and the new software would not accept any of our old files  -  it jammed hieroglyphs all over the text and destroyed the layouts.  We took nine months of hard slog to sort that disaster out, and for what?  Of what advantage was that to us?   We only changed to InDesign because Apple would not support PageMaker any more.

               

               

              >>>And your closing remark is totally ridiculous. If the number of inquiries in this forum is

              >>>any indication, most InDesign users aren’t even using it for EPUB.

               

              And how then do you present a pdf 'template' to the epubber, so they know what the finished product us supposed to look like?

               

              However, your comment is simply another nail in the coffin of InDesign.  Companies interested in epubbing are not using InDesign, because they know it is cr*** at epubs.   But all companies will change to epub eventually, as we have done, and they will not be using Adobe products to do it.

               

               

              Finally, the assertion that you cannot get a complete epub translation suite is ridiculous.  Someone will eventually manage it, and that someone will catch a prize of all the publishers in the world.  The question is, will it be Adobe, or will they be left holding the booby prize?   Frankly, I don't care about the future of Adobe, all I want is a software package that will produce complex epubs.

               

               

              Ralph

              • 4. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                ralfellis Level 1

                >>  Steve Werner

                >> InDesign has gotten closer with CS6, but it won't be able to hit it 100%, nor will any

                >>software. The only exception would be exceptionally simple publications.

                 

                 

                I hope you are wrong on that, because at present the book-buyer is getting a raw deal, and so they may drift away from online books altogether.  I have lost count of the number of epub books I bought that were absolute cr***, because the layout, editing, contents, images, tables, and references were so bad.   I have sent five books back to Kindle already as being completely unacceptable products.

                 

                We only exist (as publishers) and Adobe only exist (as publisher suppliers) because publishers give people a quality product that they will come back to, time after time.  If we collectively fail to do that, then the whole industry goes down the pan, and people will drift into videos or some other form of entertainment.  It is not overdoing the cliche to say that the future of the entire industry lies in the hands of Adobe   (or some 15-year old kid in a garden shed who comes up with an epub suite).

                 

                 

                .

                • 5. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                  BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  Either you’re doing a really lousy job of explaining yourself or you have very little understanding of how EPUB works.

                   

                   

                   

                  I really don’t know what to tell you beyond that. The reader is the one with the final control over how an EPUB looks, not the developer.

                   

                   

                   

                  The reader picks the fonts, the reader picks the size, the reader picks the orientation of the device.

                   

                   

                   

                  All that said, I agree with your assertion that most of these things look like crap and the reason is that nobody wants to spend any money to have done properly.

                   

                   

                   

                  Acerbicly yours,

                   

                   

                   

                  Bob

                  • 6. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                    [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                    ralfellis wrote:

                     

                    Finally, the assertion that you cannot get a complete epub translation suite is ridiculous.  Someone will eventually manage it, and that someone will catch a prize of all the publishers in the world.

                     

                    This already exists. It's called "PDF" (a funny side note in that is that's an Adobe invention). There is no "straight translation" possible from book to e-book. If you think there is, use a PDF, because that is a flat out translation.

                     

                    The reason it is not possible is because an e-pub is reflowable, resizable, reformattable, reviewable, etc. etc., as Bob, possibly ascerbic or carping, but yet entirely correctly, remarks. It is a different kind of text, with its own set of features -- and limitations as well.

                     

                    This is like complaining no-one seems to succeed in translating a book to a perfectly equivalent movie.

                    • 7. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                      TᴀW Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                      A PDF IS reflowable, of course. Ctrl-4 does the trick in Acrobat 7.

                      Funny how it looks a lot like an ePub when you do that!

                      • 8. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                        [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                        Arïel wrote:

                         

                        A PDF IS reflowable, of course. Ctrl-4 does the trick in Acrobat 7.

                        Funny how it looks a lot like an ePub when you do that!

                         

                        That indeed makes it look like an e-pub. Content flies all over the screen, tables get messed up. Page numbers are drawn over plain text. Line spacing is irregular. Some plain text lines suddenly appear centered. The Table of Contents page numbers are not updated. Some spaces in the text disappeared.

                         

                        This definitely does *not* look like the perfect one-to-one translation from the original document to a reflowable one the OP claims is possible.

                        • 9. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                          Derek Cross Level 6

                          That's a wonderful analogy Jongware – imagine a button in InDesign CS100 – output content to movie!

                          • 10. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                            ralfellis Level 1

                            >> Ascerbic Levine

                            >>The reader is the one with the final control over how an EPUB looks, not the developer.

                            >>The reader picks the fonts, the reader picks the size, the reader picks the orientation of the device.

                             

                             

                            Nonsense.  The developer chooses the sizes and positions of the images, whether the text flows past images, the relative sizes of the text, the type of font, the italisation or boldness of fonts, whether the Greek and Hebrew fonts are presented correctly (as images!), the positions of hieroglyps in the text, the justification of headings and text, lines and line-spacing, the indentation of text  etc: etc: etc: etc:

                             

                            The developer can and will destroy the presentation and layout of a book in one easy move  -  and sorting out these many problems and errors at arms length, with someone who knows nothing about literature or publishing, is a nightmare of biblical proportions.

                             

                             

                             

                            >>Jongware

                            >> This already exists. It's called "PDF" (a funny side note in that is that's an Adobe invention). There is no

                            >>"straight translation" possible from book to e-book. If you think there is, use a PDF, because

                            >>that is a flat out translation.

                             

                            Yes, and if Apple and Kindle had chosed PDFs as the standard file type for ebooks, there would be no problems.  We can control the layout of a PDF through InDesign, and the iPad will display a PDF book exactly as we design it  -  INCLUDING ALL OUR STRANGE FONTS AND HIEROGLYPS.   A pdf is the perfect solution, and there is only one small problem with this ebook Nirvana  -  both Apple and Kindle will not sell straight PDFs.....

                             

                            As an aside, why the hell cannot epub display strange fonts, when pdf can?  Why is this basic function such an insurmountable problem?

                             

                             

                             

                            >>Jongware

                            >>The reason it is not possible is because an e-pub is reflowable, resizable, reformattable,

                            >>reviewable, etc. etc., as Bob, possibly ascerbic or carping, but yet entirely correctly, remarks.

                            >>It is a different kind of text, with its own set of features -- and limitations as well.

                             

                            We don't care if epubs are flowable or resizeable  (PDFs are also rezieable, you just increase the magnification).  In fact, a well-made epub book is quite a good platform for reading books  (except it is crap at tabbing and tables).

                             

                            What we do care about, is that if I say to InDesign  -  'make epub'  -   it will not translate Greek or Hebrew fonts, it sticks the hieroglips from chapter 3 into chapter 4, it puts page numbers into a flowable text, it cannot understand indents, tables or italisation, it left justifies center justified text, and then to add insult to injury it center justifies left justified text.  It cannot understand superscript references, it will not link to references to the references section, it cannot flow text around images, all the images are the wrong size, it does not even realise that you have cropped an image, and it turns bold text into underline text.

                             

                             

                            In short, the epub translator within InDesign (and most other packages) is a joke.   If epub translation worked (and I have to say that most of these errors are easily fixable) we would have no problem with epub as the industry standard for ebooks.  But at present, it looks like the major tablet producers have chosen the turkey (epub) instead of the eagle (pdf).    Just because Kindle chose a reflowable text, to fit on its microscopic tablet, why did Apple follow suit?  An iPad will easily display a 234 x 156 pdf page (royal format), in all its glory.

                             

                             

                            .

                            • 11. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                              BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                              It’s obvious that InDesign is not the right program for you to be using. Please do let us know when you find something better.

                               

                               

                               

                              I’m sure the three remaining InDesign users will be happy to have the information.

                              • 12. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                                Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                Maybe he should switch to QuarkXPress. ;-)

                                • 13. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                                  MW Design Level 4

                                  Hey Bob,

                                   

                                  Personally I have used LibreOffice for writing and Jutoh for importing the LO file, massging a few things and press a couple buttons. OK, not quite that easy but it is close enough even if a bit tongue in cheek.

                                   

                                  It is a better, faster workflow.

                                   

                                  Take care, Mike

                                  • 14. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                                    ralfellis Level 1

                                    >>Levine

                                    >>It’s obvious that InDesign is not the right program for you to be using.

                                    >>Please do let us know when you find something better.

                                     

                                     

                                    Perhaps, but it was not us who changed the goalposts.  InDesign was the perfect platform for producung PDFs for a printer to creat real books.  Now we have swapped to a completely different industry standard, and yet none of the major software producers have caught up with this shift-change in publishing technology. 

                                     

                                    I will indeed tell you if I find a better platform than the current editions of InDesign.  But it would be much easier for us if InDesign came into the 21st century, and caught up with the eBook revolution.

                                     

                                     

                                    .

                                    • 15. Re: Epubs from InDesign.  When will they work?
                                      BobLevine MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                                      You just said it yourself…swift change.

                                       

                                      I suggest it is you that needs to adapt. EPUB is not going to be WYSIWYG out of InDesign or any other application for a long, long time.

                                       

                                      Either learn the ins and outs of HTML/CSS and how that affects EPUB output from InDesign or give it up.

                                       

                                      Bob