Monthly Archives: June 2012

What to Expect From ePub Conversions

For those who have opted to use NBN’s preferred vendor to create standard ePubs, provided is an overview of what one should expect during the conversion process.

eBook vs. print book: It is rarely possible that the standard ePub will be a replica of the print book. Formatting that exactly matches the print book is unlikely because print book layouts are based on the idea of the page, which a standard ePub does not have (see https://nbnfusion.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/epubs-and-page-numbers/). Therefore page specific elements such as running heads, background images behind the text, etc. cannot be preserved in a standard ePub.

Design: The conversion team aims to deliver a product that closely resembles the source file, but they will not make changes to the source file. Therefore, if there are elements that are incompatible with electronic devices, such design elements will be lost unless the publisher delivers a PDF that is optimized for electronic devices. Please note that the source file will not be improved upon for the ePub output: a blurry photo in the source file will still be a blurry photo when converted into an ePub.

Functionality: The publisher should receive a file that is functional across devices. If there is a problem with the file, contact your Fusion representative, who will investigate the issue.

Accuracy: While the conversion team aims to provide the best possible files, no conversion is ever 100% accurate. The conversion team delivers files that are at least 99.95% accurate, which means 1 out of 2,000 characters could drop out or be incorrect. If you notice an error while reviewing your file, bring it to the attention of your Fusion representative, and she will work with you to resolve the issue.

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How Long Does Everything Take?

File Conversions:

If you have opted to use NBN’s conversion team to have your distributable files created, please allow 2-4 weeks for the epub and web pdf to be created if we are working from a print or image pdf. If we are working from a physical book, please allow 4-6 weeks for file creation.

Titles on Site:

Getting your titles live on vendor sites varies by the vendor. It typically only takes a few days (can be up to a week) to get a title live on Amazon. To get a title live on Sony, it can take up to six weeks. The other sites fall somewhere in between these two time frames.

Changes to Distributed Titles:

When submitting a change to a title that is already live on vendor sites, please allow at least a week for the change to be reflected on the sites. Whether the change is metadata-related (price, description, etc) or file-related (updated file, new front cover, etc), most sites take at least a week for the change to be made, some take even longer. Please be patient when submitting changes to distributed titles.

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Tech Tips: InDesign Basics for ePub

The following are good habits that you should apply to your InDesign files in order to produce good ePubs. I’ve also noted the reasoning behind each step as it relates to ePub creation.

Separate Files

Set all sections of your book in separate files, including the title and copyright pages. Then, create a book file (File > New > Book) and add your InDesign Files to the book file. When exporting to ePub, the separate InDesign files will each become a separate html file. If you set your book in one InDesign file, then when you export to ePub, your ePub file will only contain one html file and, therefore, all of the sections of the book will run together, with no separation.

File Info…
Open the first file in your book. Go to File > File Info… and fill in the Document Title and Author fields. The title and author information will be added to the ePub’s metadata in the content.opf file. Without this information in the content.opf file, when viewing your epub, the reader will display “Unknown” instead of the title or author.

Style Everything!
Create and apply paragraph and character styles for all variations of formatted text. When exporting to ePub, your styles will become the basis for the stylesheets file in the ePub. If you format all of your text by hand, not using styles, then when exporting to ePub, the stylesheets file will be full of generically named styles, which makes it difficult to make adjustments to your ePub after it’s been created. This also applies to objects and tables, so be sure to use Table and Cell styles as well as Object styles.

TOC Styles
Again, in the first file in your book, go to Layout > Table of Contents Styles… and click “New…” Find your chapter title paragraph style, select it, and click “<<Add”. Click “Include Book Documents” at the bottom of the window and click OK. The newly created TOC style will be used to generate the toc.ncx file in the ePub, which displays the navigation table of contents in the e-reader.

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ePubs and Page Numbers

Because a standard ePub is a reflowable file type, it is like one long document. As such, it essentially has no pages. Therefore, a book with 170 print pages will not have 170 eBook pages or even 170 frames. There could be more or less depending on the devices. EBook viewers and devices such as Adobe Digital Editions, Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. assign numbers that appear to be page numbers. If the numbers seem off, there is no cause for panic. The numbers do not and are not meant to correspond to print page numbers. Instead, they are for readers to gauge their progress and easily find their place in a book.

A fixed layout ePub, however, is made to resemble the layout of the print book and is not reflowable. This type of ePub has page numbers displayed in the file that correspond to those in the print book. A device that reads fixed layout ePubs, such as the iPad or iPhone, still shows location numbers at the bottom, but they may not correspond to the numbers on the pages if the front cover and frontmatter are counted as pages. (For example, one could click on pages 6-7 on an iPhone and be directed to a page numbered 4 because the iPhone reads the front cover, title pages, copyright page, and ToC page are considered pages 1-5.)

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A Quick Note About Free ePub Converters

Beware of free ePub converters that you find on the web! The Fusion team here has received ePub files from various publishers over the recent months that were created with one free ePub converter program or another. As alluring as a free ePub conversion can be, they are fraught with failing errors.

If you choose to test one of these free converters out, check over the final ePub before sending it to your Fusion contact. Also, please confirm that the file validates. One site that will confirm that your ePub validates is:

http://validator.idpf.org/

The ePub must be 10MB or less for this validator.

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BEA

Hello all,

Just  quick note, I am at BEA at the NBN booth, so please feel free to stop by and say hello.

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3M

Hello all,

More NBN/RLPG ebook signing news published in PW today. Check out the announcement here.

We’re setting up the distribution process to 3M over the next week or so and will begin delivering your content to them to make available to libraries for lending.

The titles can be accessed via the 3M Cloud Library App on the iPad or iPhone, via PC or Mac, on the Nook, or on Android supported mobile devices.

As I wrote with the Gardners announcement, if you don’t see your title right away, be patient, we’re adding a lot (much more than is noted in that announcement), so it may take some weeks to get every title up and live. If after a few weeks you still don’t see a particular title that you believe should be there, contact your Fusion rep.

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