Thursday, August 16, 2012

Self publishing an illustrated E book

 My Commentary                                                                                       
According to Holly Brady an E book publisher, if your considering publishing or republishing an illustrated book, like a cookbook, a children's book or a graphic novel you need to present such books in a fixed layout format. A fixed layout unlike an adaptive or liquid layout will not make dynamic changes for different mobile devices or mobile device orientations. Holly's points out that adaptive layouts tend to impede ones ability to read illustrated content in which the layout is part of the reading experience.

Assuming that Holly's point is valid how does one go about publishing an illustrated ebook with a fixed layout? According to Holly "There aren’t yet many vendors who know how to take a print book and turn it into an enhanced ebook for the iPad." She recommended two companies which translate books formatted for print into electronic publications: YUDU, and Innodata. I downloaded one of the books reformatted by Holly through YUDA and was not that impressed with the result. In addition since I already have a lot of digital layout knowledge already I'm a bit reluctant to hire a third party to accomplish something I could probably learn myself.

I did a little more research and learned that the last couple versions of InDesign have the ability to export ebooks. Exporting ebooks with a fixed layout seems a bit more difficult than an adaptive layout export but I learned by watching tutorials through that it is possible without a third party.

How to Publish an Ebook Picture Book from a Mac: for Nook, Kindle, PDF

I promised I'd post the process I used to create my ebook, "Princesses, Princesses, Princesses!" for PDF download, for Kindle, for Nook. It's actually not that hard but certain steps can be tricky. Hopefully this little tutorial will help you avoid some of my mistakes. I need to thank VonLogan Brimhall for their tutorial. It got me started. It may work well for PC users, but I am an Apple girl. So there were just some parts that didn't translate well. In addition, the dimensions they proposed for the devices didn't work for me when importing to InDesign and to the devices from there. And finally, there were a few easier tricks I learned in the process.

Remember, Kindle and Nook both have free apps for iphone and ipad and in the android market so anything sold by them can be read on those devices as well. You aren't limited to just kindle or nook users.

Here's what programs I if you don't have these 2 programs, this tutorial won't be super useful to you. I'm sorry.

  • Adobe Photoshop (any version should do- I have CS5)
  • Adobe InDesign (version CS5 is what I used, I don't know if earlier versions work, I think CS4 does)
  • Adobe Acrobat (I used Pro, you'll need more than just the reader)
I'll start with the most difficult and go to the easiest. Ah, you thought I'd start with the simple and work my way up. Too bad. Time to jump right in.

Or download a PDF of this entire post, HERE.

Convert text files to PDF optimized for ebook

Creating an Illustrated EBook
Are you considering republishing your children’s book, cookbook, graphic novel, crafts guide or travel book in digital format?

For these kinds of books, the ePub format—which allows words to flow from one page to another as your reader enlarges text or changes fonts—doesn’t work. The illustrations, sidebars, and photos you so carefully placed beside certain sections of your book take on a life of their own.
For such books, you need to create a fixed-layout file, one that displays each spread just as your designer originally planned.
Spread from Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle
Fixed-layout ebooks look great on the new tablets that everyone’s getting for Christmas (Apple iPad, B&N Nook, Kobo VOX). But they are tricky to produce, especially if you’re moving from a print book into an enhanced iBook for the iPad.
Renowned explanation graphics designer Nigel Holmes and I have been running down rabbit holes for the past year trying to get his book Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle into a fixed-layout format for the iPad. We finally did it.
And here are the top things we learned:
  1. There aren’t yet many vendors who know how to take a print book and turn it into an enhanced ebook for the iPad. We used YUDU, which is located in (surprise!) Great Britain. Innodata also works, I’m told.
  2. Price pressure on these books is fierce. You spend a chunk to have the book recreated for the iPad, and the market wants to pay $3.99 or less. Yike. Hopefully, all those folks who got iPads for Christmas will be looking to buy enhanced ebooks, which could drive up revenue.
  3. If you hold the iPad in landscape mode, you see an entire spread from the book–without a seam. Nice! But on the iPad’s 10-inch screen, the font you chose for your print book looks small—and on the 7-inch screen of all the other tablets, it’s unreadable. Of course, your readers can enlarge the text with their fingers, but then you lose the effect of the spreads.
  4. Every new format of a book requires a separate ISBN number. Per BISG.
For a little extra pizazz, we also laced the adventure story with sounds. If you have an iPad and would like to see the result, here’s a free peek.

1 comment:

  1. Ya, that’s true in order to show your graphics in a precise manner, then you must need fixed layout. Novel, children books need this format to be looked like real one and easier to read. I wonder if there is some Fixed Layout Conversion for iPad utilities there online?