Friday, December 9, 2011

From InDesign CS 5.5 to EPUB and Kindle

9781611500202-cover250 I am proud to announce a new Straight to the Point Miniguide: From InDesign CS 5.5 to EPUB and Kindle. The digital edition bundle—which includes EPUB, Kindle/Mobi, and PDF formats—is available right now, and it will be available in print soon.

This new miniguide, 76 pages in length, explains all the new features that Adobe added to InDesign CS 5.5 and how to take advantage of them when creating ebooks, both in EPUB and Kindle formats. It is not a beginner's book and assumes that you have some basic knowledge of both InDesign and EPUB itself. If you have my EPUB Straight to the Point, I think you’ll find it very useful.

The digital editions of From InDesign CS 5.5 to EPUB and Kindle cost $10 but for a limited time, I'm offering a 30% discount on my website to anyone who has already bought my EPUB Straight to the Point book (in any format and from any vendor). Just send me a proof of purchase (a receipt is good!) and I’ll send you a coupon. If you bought EPUB Straight to the Point from me, you should have a note from me in your inbox with the coupon inside.

Here's the table of contents so you can have an idea of what's inside:

Table of Contents

InDesign to ebook in 10 steps
Envisioning your book
What can you do in an ebook?
Running headers/footers
Page numbers
Text size
Other text formatting
Spacing, page breaks, and orphans
Drop caps and all caps
Non-Latin characters and other symbols
Borders and background colors
Table of contents and index
Audio and video
Creating your book in InDesign
Creating a template
Saving a template
The importance of styles
Creating a cover
Generating a cover from the first page
Placing images and controlling export order
Using inline objects to control export order
Custom positioned anchored objects
Using articles to control export order
Placing and exporting audio and video
Creating links
Creating hyperlinks
Creating cross references
Creating footnotes
Formatting footnotes
Creating a navigational TOC
Generating a TOC
Mapping tags to export
Specifying metadata
Exporting to EPUB
Adding more metadata
Generating a cover
Ordering the contents upon export
Margins, lists, and ADE
Options when exporting images
Image Size and Alignment
Image formats
Navigating the Contents panel
Looking at the CSS options
Using Existing CSS
Ready to export!
Cracking open EPUBs
Why I still crack open InDesign EPUB files
New issues
How do you crack open an EPUB?
Opening EPUB files in BBEdit
Converting to Kindle/mobi
Creating Kindle-friendly EPUBs
Body text
Page breaks
Text wrap
Borders and background color
Table of contents
Marking where a book should open
Converting a Kindle-friendly EPUB to Kindle/mobi
Using embedded fonts in iBooks
Additional Resources

I hope you find this new miniguide useful. Let me know what you think!

CompleteEPUBI've just added a Complete EPUB Package to my website. Digital editions of all four miniguides, EPUB Straight to the Point, and Barcelona Beyond Gaudí for just $39.

And that lovely cover was designed in Blender, Cheetah3D, and Photoshop by Andreu Cabré.


  1. Hi Liz,
    Congrats on your new book -- this is such a revolution we are in and your books and website are very helpful. I created an epub enriched with video, with help from your Straight to the Point, and will be buying your new one soon. Take a look at my book's website: posted below.
    This new video ebook, Rome on Foot, describes six walking tours in Rome and includes 36 short movies along with 350 photos, many maps and 600 pages of text. Free content on this web site includes the book’s first walking tour in Rome and 8 videos. You can get a sample from the iBookstore.

  2. Hi, Liz! I purchased your book today and read them all. I loved it. Thank you so much for all your wonderful ePub guides. All your books are incredibly informative and very well-done.

    However, in page 73 and 74:
    Fixed Layout EPUBs for iPad and iPhone, is a 21 page miniguide that focuses exclusively on how to create fixed layout EPUB books. Originally, the code only worked on iBooks, but the new Kindle Vox
    ---> I think you meant Kobo vox, not Kindle vox. ;)

    Because BBEdit does not allow inserting new files into an EPUB, you’ll h1ave to use Terminal or Springy
    ---> springy doesn't work in my Lion mac. I wonder if this is only my problem.

    I've tried to automate zip -0Xq file.epub mime type and zip -Xr9Dq file.epub * -x *.DS_Store. In Automator, I've create a new Services workflow and tried Run AppleScript but didn't work . I wonder what did I miss.

    Hope you will provide another mini guide that explains fixed layout picture book for Kindle Fire (like Brown bear, brown bear what do you see? book) sooner. Thanks a lot!

  3. The mobi format book is not opened in my Kindle Fire.

  4. Hmm. The mobi format works fine in my Kindle Fire. Did you look in the Docs tab?

  5. Oh, I put the book in my Book folder and that was why. Now I put the book in my Docs folder and it works fine.Thank you.

  6. I've read recent reviews on EPUB Straight to the Point that say it's good, but slightly outdated now that InDesign 5.5 is out. I have produced some ePub and Kindle books using Sigil and straight XHTML/CSS editing. I am looking to learn how to do ebooks better and more efficiently using InDesign 5.5. I have produced 4 print books using InDesign 3. I am looking to upgrade soon to 5.5 as I move into more ebooks. Would EPUB Straight to the Point still be beneficial, or is this updated guide all I need since it deals specifically with ID 5.5? I am trying to decide between this guide and your complete EPUB package. Thanks!

  7. @Dan: This miniguide exclusively covers InDesign CS 5.5 and the improvements that were made to its EPUB export. The EPUB Straight to the Point still has useful up-to-date information about everything except InDesign (and even the InDesign bits are probably helpful), including what an EPUB consists of, how to unzip and edit, and how to create special effects. In that vein, I would recommend this:

    Let me know if you have other questions or doubts.

  8. Liz,
    I did purchase EPUB Straight to the Point through Apple itunes. How do I send the receipt to you for the discount on the InDesign CS5.5 miniguide?

  9. @Gayle: Can you send me the receipt from iTunes?

  10. Liz, that bundle is perfect! Thanks! I'll be purchasing soon. Now I just have to scrounge up the money for the ID upgrade. Ouch!

  11. @Anonymous (1). Oh no, not Kindle Vox, thanks for the heads-up! I don't know about Springy on Lion as I don't use either one ... I'll ask on #eprdctn.

    And I would love to do a book on Fixed Layout for Kindle Fire. As soon as I can!

  12. @Liz: is there an email address that I missed, because I do have the itunes receipt.

  13. Gayle (and everyone): info at will work!

  14. I hope someone has a brilliant suggestion on this one, and apologies if this isn't the ideal spot for the query -- but I was hoping fellow purchasers of the Epub book and CS5.5 miniguide might be able to help. I am using InDesign's book system to combine multiple Indesign docs into a book. The styles are, as near as I can tell, identical across all the doc files. I have used the export tag mapping feature on the styles. I am STILL getting endless duplicates of some (not all) the styles in the Epub CSS. It seems to be the first few styles in each document are the ones being duplicated, once for each doc in the book.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Roger,

      What some people do is to use the new feature of ID CS5.5 that allows you to map paragraph and character styles to particular HTML tags, so instead of using CSS classes for everything, InDesign will build a lighter, cleaner EPUB with those tags. Then synchronize the docs of your ID book and export to EPUB. Later, you can update the single template.css file with no longer duplicate styles, and fill up the CSS rules for the different HTML tags.

      It is so far not automatic but less annoying and technically better made rather than clean one by one all those "duplicates" that has to be in fact an ID bug... or "feature"

  15. Hi Liz,
    I write books for a living and have recently entered the murky world of ebooks (more specifically I have just created 'Cuddle Muddle' a Fixed Layout ibook using the IBooks Author software). I am aware that Apple limits its proprietary format and so I am looking to create kids' picture books using the same images for the Kindle Fire, older e-ink Kindles, and Nook etc.

    Everything I read says that InDesign 5.5 produces a messy epub that needs cleaning up - and everything seems to ignore image heavy books. I don't want to fork out loads to Amazon for delivery costs because my images are too big, but I do want the readers to gets decent quality image and reading experience.

    So I am looking for a simple approach that will get the following published (Jpeg or Gif cover with text embedded, Contents & Copyright pages, Fixed layout landscape spreads of the picture book story- say 15, then Biography & Weblink to my page and Amazon Author page etc.) ...

    I currently have appropriate software and the will but not the comprehension to slog through a steep learning curve. Will your above book answer my needs?

    Btw do you use the Kindle Indesign Plugin?

  16. Hi Liz,

    I tried to convert an epub with video to Kindle and it did not work for the Fire. I notice your TOC for your new book does not mention Video under "Converting to Kindle/mobi." Is this feature not available for Fire yet?


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