Category Archives: ePUB creation

Reminder About EPUB Validation

Publishers that are providing distribution-ready files should make sure the ePubs validate and are free of errors before sending them to NBN. The latest ePub standard is 4.0.1, but some vendors are still using 3.0.1 to validate files and will reject files that don’t validate to that version. To check ePubs that are less than 10MB, you can use this IDPF validator. Common validation warnings and errors are below:

WARNING: Filenames contains spaces. Consider changing filenames such that URI escaping is not necessary
SOLUTION: Remove the spaces from the files names of the .html and .jpg files inside the ePub.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.1

ERROR: element “font” not allowed anywhere; expected the element end-tag, text or element “a”, “abbr”, “acronym”, “applet”, “b”, “bdo”, “big”, “br”, “cite”, “code”, “del”, “dfn”, “em”, “i”, “iframe”, “img”, “ins”, “kbd”, “map”, “noscript”, “ns:svg”, “object”, “q”, “samp”, “script”, “small”, “span”, “strong”, “sub”, “sup”, “tt” or “var” (with xmlns:ns=”“)
SOLUTION: Instead of using a font tag, set the font size in the CSS stylesheet using the font-size property, and then apply that style to the line or paragraph that had the font tag.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.1

ERROR: Non-standard stylesheet resource ‘OEBPS/page-template.xpgt’ of type ‘application/adobe-page-template+xml’. A fallback must be specified.
SOLUTION: Remove the reference to the page-template stylesheet.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.1; This error is due to a glitch in epubcheck 3.0.1 but some vendors are still using that version, so files with this error won’t go up on those sites.

ERROR: OEBPS/Fonts/Fontname: referenced resource missing in the package (or /OEBPS/template.css: Referenced resource could not be found in the EPUB.)
SOLUTION: The font file is missing from within the ePub, In most cases, you can simply remove the src=”…” text from the place of reference since the ePub isn’t loading the font anyway.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.1

ERROR: Referenced resource could not be found in the EPUB.
SOLUTION: A link or reference is made to content not provided within the ePub. This can be caused by several things including: 1. an improperly embedded font, 2. missing image file, or 3. incorrectly written hyperlink to a web address. Add the missing content or remove the reference.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.1

ERROR: File name contains the following non-ascii characters: […]. Consider changing the filename.
SOLUTION: Change the file name of the image or html file that so that it contains only US keyboard characters.
EPUBCHECK VERSION: 3.0.0, 3.0.1, 4.0.1

If you have any questions about if your eBooks have validation errors, your Fusion representative will be glad to help.


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EPUB Validations

To make sure that files are accepted by all vendors we distribute to, ePubs need to validate to EpubCheck v. 3.0.1, which some vendors still use to validate files.

There are errors that appear when validating to 3.0.1 that don’t appear when validating to 3.0 or 4.0.1. For example, a common problem that prevents validation is the stylesheet being a template formatted for Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). Since the major sites and devices do not run Digital Editions, it is not necessary to format the ePub specifically for display in that program. If you are unable to provide files that validate, we work with a vendor that can convert your files for you.


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Tech Tips: Images, InDesign, and ePub

Object Export Options…

After setting an image in InDesign, select the image with the selection tool. At the top of the screen, click Object, and then select Object Export Options… and you’ll get the following dialogue box:

object export options

In this dialogue box, you can adjust the export options of that particular image/object when exporting to epub. You can adjust the output resolution, quality, and format. Here, you can also set your images to adjust their size “Relative to Page Width” which means that the image size will adjust to the width of any device and the different orientations of that device. Additionally, you can set the output alignment and spacing.

If you have numerous images that will all have the same export options, the same settings from the Object Export Options… dialogue box are available in the epub export settings. Those settings, however, will apply to all of the images though you can choose to not override local object export settings.

Anchoring Images

When exporting to epub, InDesign “reads” your document left-to-right, top-to-bottom and arranges the text and objects in the order in which it encounters them. This can cause some objects to appear in unexpected locations. If your text is all in one thread, when exporting to epub, InDesign will put all of your text first, then all of your images and other objects will fall to the end of the text.

To prevent this, you must to anchor your images and any other objects (tables, textboxes, sidebars, etc.). All you have to do is: select your image/object, click the blue square in the top right corner of the object, and drag it until the cursor is in the location you’d like the object to appear in the epub as shown below.

anchor before

After anchored, the object will have an actual anchor where the blue box used to be.

anchor after

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What to Expect From ePub Conversions: Custom Conversions

Titles that are especially complex might require a Custom level conversion. Titles in this category include those with custom CSS, internal links other than in the ToC, or multi-column formatting throughout the book. Provided is an overview of what one should expect during the conversion process for complex titles.

Design: It is important to be very specific when relaying special instructions to your Fusion representative. Publishers can ask beforehand how the conversion team will capture a section of the book. If necessary, the conversion team can create a sample ePub to demonstrate how the chapters will appear once converted.

Functionality: Your Fusion representative will address functionality with you before ordering the conversion. While performing the conversion, the team may discover that a request is not possible. In this case, your Fusion representative will notify you to discuss alternatives.

Accuracy: Creating complex eBook files involves adjusting the conversion processes, testing, and re-testing to correct errors. The initial output is often less than perfect and calls for reworking to address unanticipated issues. The publisher should review the final output and notify your Fusion representative of any lingering errors. She will work with you to resolve the issue.

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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 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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