Electric Book Works Web, mobile and print publications

After InDesign export to epub

Before you get started on the epub here, read through the rest of these guidelines so that you know what’s coming. Some of these instructions are interrelated, so having them at the back of your mind (even if you don’t fully understand them yet) will help you get through this process smoothly and without having to redo things later.

Get inside the epub

First, you need to get at the code inside the epub. An epub file is just a zip file (a compressed folder) with the file extension changed from .zip to .epub. So: … Read more

Add a cover

If you didn’t create your cover in InDesign (e.g. you are using the same master InDesign document for print and epub), you need to add one to the epub package. Here’s a step-by-step guide. … Read more

Add fonts to the package, manifest and CSS

Some epub experts recommend not including fonts in an epub package. They are inconsistently applied by ereading systems, and they make the epub file a lot bigger (a font is often around 250K per variant, e.g. regular, bold or italic). But many publishers and designers want to offer a better design preference than the default fonts in most ereading systems, even if many systems or users override those fonts in the final display. It’s up to you, but if you do wants to include fonts, here’s a way to do this. … Read more

Check the quality of the images

InDesign does a pretty good job of putting the images into your epub. But you should check this, and improve it where you can. Liza Daly of Threepress Consulting provides these priorities for images in epub: … Read more

Check the order of book parts

Some parts of your book (InDesign documents, images, and other objects) may end up in the wrong place or order in the epub after exporting from InDesign. This is especially true of images that were not anchored in the InDesign document. You just need to check for this. … Read more

Page breaks

Most ereading systems (such as Adobe Digital Editions) will create a page break by default between each XHTML/HTML file in the epub package. So if chapter 1 and chapter 2 are in separate XHTML files in the epub package, an ereader will put a page break between them. … Read more

Spaces

Spaces are tricky little things. We’ve found some problems with spaces in exporting from InDesign CS3 especially. … Read more

Add ADE page-template file

Adobe developed its own extra stylesheet for controlled the margins of pages and the point at which widening the screen causes a body of text to split into two or more columns. … Read more

Check metadata

Metadata is information about a book. For ebooks, metadata must be inside the ebook, stored in a standardised way, so that software systems (like your personal library of ebooks or an aggregator’s large-scale asset management system) can organise the books in a sensible way. The more metadata you include in an ebook, the better. … Read more

Check metadata

Metadata is information about a book. For ebooks, metadata must be inside the ebook, stored in a standardised way, so that software systems (like your personal library of ebooks or an aggregator’s large-scale asset management system) can organise the books in a sensible way. The more metadata you include in an ebook, the better. … Read more

Embedding multi/rich media

You can add interactive and rich media to epubs in various ways. The easiest is in Flash, but that’s not going to work on the iPad (and possibly other devices that choose not to support Flash). For embedding flash, see our tips below. We don’t yet have tips for other ways to add interactivity or rich media, but highly recommend this screencast by Liza Daly for more info. … Read more

Change heading tags to structured HTML (optional, CS3 only)

This is optional, but highly recommended. If you’re working from InDesign CS3, when InDesign creates an epub’s XHTML, it tags every paragraph with the tag. Since InDesign CS3 doesn’t know which of your paragraph styles are used for headings and which are for other kinds of text, both headings and other pieces of text are tagged as . InDesign then includes your style name as a class, so that the CSS file can distinguish between them. (For example: and .) … Read more

Zip the epub again

You’re done! Now to zip the package together again. … Read more

Test the epub

There are two parts to testing your epub. First, check that it is valid. For this, use epubcheck. (Most distributors will only accept valid epub files.) A related tool called epubpreflight tests for a few other problems. … Read more

Arthur Attwell 17 February 2010
This information is more than two years old, and may no longer be accurate. Contact us to check, or log an issue on GitHub.