I've just finished 2 ePubs made with InDesign and thought it might be useful to document some of my impressions and suggestions to improve this. Firstly, by and large, its pretty good, so thank you Adobe for supporting this feature!
These are all from the Digital Publishing document template, with a size of 2048x1536 pixels
(1) Option to use ORIGINAL JPEG files
In the ePub export dialog there is an option to set the PPI of JPEGs generated, and quality of compression. I set the PPI here the same as the PPI of my original images (150ppi). On export, the JPEGS that are generated are the same pixel size as my original images, but have been recompressed: sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller depending on settings. I'd really like an option to use my original JPEGs, to avoid the recompression. Something like:
"Use Original Files" in the JPEG epub export settings - with perhaps an option - warning/error? - of how to handle images that are not set up with the same PPI (that is a good safety check I think).
(2) PNG files are often too large for iBook validation.
Apple's iBook store has a validation requirement of images being less than 4MP. InDesign's export will produce PNG files that are larger than these dimensions, so the book will fail to upload. You have to pull apart the ePub to find out why.
- Underline links: I have text in the book: "mail me at: email@example.com", with firstname.lastname@example.org being a mailto: link. This was originally underlined (the default option) and in the epub, the underline was rendered as a PNG file with >4MP dimensions (the PNG file itself was about 5k). WORKAROUND: remove underlines from all of the Hyperlinks in the book
- Background colours that are not white: To do this, I put a box on the bottom layer, filled with a colour (say black). At initial settings this would generated PNG files with >4MP dimensions (but only a few k in size). FIX: in object settings set the object export resolution for the colour box to rendered and 72ppi.
SUGGESTION: have a way to set a BG colour for a page in the InDesign document
(3) Duplicate (Identical) JPEG files
This is just a bug that is not quite fixed in the most recent version (10.1.0.71), where the use of the same image on multiple pages will generated duplicate images in the ePub, instead of a reference to a single image.
(4) Ability to have button taps on tablets block system behaviours
There is a workaround addition that can be made to the JS script file to block the appearance of the menus on an iPad when you touch on a button in your ePub. I've used the workaround in: http://epubsecrets.com/indesign-fxls-prevent-ui-from-displaying-with-touches.php
This would be a great option to add to dialogs in InDesign's interactive widgets.
(5) Dates incorrectly formatted in InDesign export:
You can enter a date for the epub in the export panel. However, unless the date is specified correctly: YYYY-MM-DD, then your epub will get a warning from the epubcheck tool. (a small thing, but a good fix)
(6) Feature Request: Better way of creating a summary book
Its surprising how many people's first action on iBooks is to try to download a summary book, so if you don't have one on the store, its a real disadvantage. InDesign's ePub export can allow you to generate a range of pages, but there are some limitations with that:
- this does not work with an InDesign book, just an InDesign document: ePub export using just a range of pages from inDesign Book
However, even with this, its not ideal. I'd like to include the TOC page (not navigable, just a text file), as its a great way to show what is in the book, but this creates problems as you have broken links, etc... So, I think some formal "Summary" feature support in the ePub export would be the correct solution - a new entry in the column of configuration options in the export dialog?
- lower res JPEG option
- TOC, etc, links (perhaps even ALL links) are converted to text only, not active links in the output.
- specify pages with InDesign books as well as InDesign single documents
(7) Better integration with devices
I know this is isn't strictly Adobe's concern, but doing FixedLayout ePubs really seems to involve embedding fonts, and Apple's "Book Proofer" app will NOT sync over books with these. There's enough difference in the interactivity behaviours that just using the desktop "iBook" app is really not sufficient to know how your book will behave on a given device, whether tablet or phone. So, perhaps Adobe can advocate with Apple that they update their "Book Proofer" app (which otherwise is perfect) so that it will work with books that are "encrypted"! It is possible to use Apple's authoring app with fonts, so it seems this is policy decision.
Hope these are helpful. I can provide example ID docs or its generated epub if you need to demonstrate these problems.
Thanks again for the help from the community! and for supporting this format,