I don't think Alternate Layouts were designed to work with InDesign book files. It's helpful to realize that Alternate Layouts were really designed to use with Adobe Digital Publishing Suite. It solves the problem of creating layouts for multiple device sizes and aspect ratios in a more productive way.
Alternate Layouts can be used to create multiple print files (e.g., multiple poster sizes), but I don't believe working with book files was in the plan.
They don't work particularly well in DPS either. About the only real world
use I've seen for them is, as you say, for different size print layouts.
I've also used them to have black/white and color layouts via the alternate
Bob Levine wrote:
They don't work particularly well in DPS either.
And here I thought the point was to have the landscape and portrait layouts together in one file so you could rotate your iPad...
There’s no real point to having two orientations either. Twice the work for no return.
Alternate layouts were a wonderful idea but let’s just say they came out of the oven a bit too soon.
Well, this is all terribly disappointing, since it was so easy to create the alternate layouts and have the text nicely linked for both editions ... I agree that it's a great idea, and I sorely wish it were better implemented!
Okay, so what is the recommended—or legacy—workflow for creating slightly different layouts for the same linked text? I have taught myself InDesign over the past 18 months for the purpose of publishing Spark: A Creative Anthology, so there are some things I just don't have experience with. I'd love to find the solution that results in the fewest number of copies (or files) of the same text as possible.