8 Replies Latest reply on Dec 19, 2014 11:23 AM by michmoore

    Reflowable epub from book (indb) file


      Is there any way to export a indesign cc book file (indb) composed of multiple indd files to a reflowable epub? The only option available on the book panel dropdown menu is "Export book to epub..." which does a fixed layout epub only. There is no option that I can find on the book panel to export as a reflowable epub. And because this is a book, not an individual indd file, the export option on the main File menu is grayed out. FYI, I can create a PDF and a static epub ebook, but I see no options for a reflowable epub.

        • 1. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
          Ellis home Level 4

          There's an option for EPUB(reflowable) just below EPUB (Fixed Layout). Indesign will show by default the last one you used.

          • 2. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
            michmoore Level 1

            Thanks Ellis - never would have thought to look there.

            • 3. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
              Derek Cross Level 6

              But, depending on the design and content of the book, you'll probably need to do some work on the original InDesign print file. You can valIdate the ePub file you produce with this: EPUB Validator (beta)

              • 4. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
                michmoore Level 1

                I'll definitely try the validator - for now I'm just glad that the reflowable EPUB export works. I'll definitely be changing the photo, table and chapter head styles a bit and adding a little color to make the EPUB eBook look good.


                I suppose I'll have to keep two full versions of this book in InDesign: one for EPUB export, and another to output as a print-ready PDF for perfect bound book printing (B+W interior). Both will need separate ISBN numbers anyway, so two separate files may be the best workflow. The downside is having to do each revision in two files instead of one.

                • 5. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
                  Derek Cross Level 6

                  Yes, you'll almost certainly have to have two files. I assume you've used paragraph and character styles and have anchored any images in your InDesign book. And, check that you have electronic rights for any photos and illustrations you may use In the ePub!

                  • 6. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
                    michmoore Level 1

                    Thanks Deriek - yes the Styles are all set up and most text styles transferred fine from InDesign to EPUB. The tables and images and a few text variable items will need some minor reworking.


                    However, the more I look at how the EPUB works, I wonder if it wouldn't be easier and more efficient to make edits directly in the HTML and CSS files that are zipped inside the EPUB file. A quick online search revealed that this strategy is commonly used. I have some CSS and HTML experience with Dreamweaver and after a quick peek at the files, it looks easy enough to edit them, so long as no static width elements are used in the code or CSS to maintain reflowability.


                    Not sure if there are any other HTML and CSS coding dos and dont's specific to EPUB files that might not be obvious (other than no static width elements)?

                    • 7. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
                      Derek Cross Level 6

                      You can use that workflow, though Adobe suggests people to go back to the InDesign file, correct the issue and re-export to ePub.

                      It's also a good idea to test them on the actual devices.

                      There are a few other differences from the print version:

                      – you have to create additional paragraph styles if you want extra space above and/or below text

                      – you can have two TOCs - an external and an internal TOC

                      – you can add Alt text to images

                      – no blank pages

                      – you can have hyperlinks

                      – no special offers etc flashes on the cover

                      – some people put the imprint and copyright details at the back of the book rather than at the front.

                      • 8. Re: Reflowable epub from book (indb) file
                        michmoore Level 1

                        Seems like editing the HTML and CSS files directly would produce a much more efficient, streamlined and feature-rich EPUB file. There appears to be a lot of bloat and unneeded redundancy in the code and the CSS. For example, there are separate CSS files for each chapter instead of one master CSS file, with lots of the same styles repeated over and over for each chapter. Also, the code appears to call styles that are not in the CSS and are unused.