Training Classes

InDesign to ePUB: Converting Print Books to eBooks

Prerequisites: Success in this course depends on students having this knowledge before beginning this class.

This course is intended for people already familiar with using Adobe InDesign and who have already taken the InDesign class or have equivalent experience.
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In Tracks:

This course is part of the following workflow-oriented and product- or technology-oriented learning tracks: eBook Design & Production, ePublishing & Digital Publishing, InDesign, Writing & Editorial

Student Reviews

I found Pariah’s work (both writing and design) to be most creative and his explanations about how to work effectively with [creative software] extraordinarily clear and useful for the reader.

— Karen L. Lew, Book Editor


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This InDesign to EPUB, Kindle, and iPad course shows publishers, designers, and production staff how to use the software they already use to create print books—InDesign—for the emerging ebook market. Beginning with an overview of digital publishing for the ebook marketplace, the course demonstrates how to prepare existing InDesign files for optimal EPUB and Kindle conversion. The course covers applying professional text formatting, validating EPUBs, and incorporating search-engine friendly metadata, as well as setting up publisher accounts at the major ebook distribution channels and selling ebooks directly to readers through an e-commerce site.

What You Will Learn

  • Understanding ebooks and ebook publishing
  • Examining the EPUB format
  • Using layout order, the Articles panel, and XML tags to manage content flow
  • Formatting with paragraph and character styles
  • Creating a cover image
  • Optimizing images
  • Exporting InDesign content to an EPUB
  • Including drop caps, pull quotes, and text wraps
  • Acquiring an ISBN for ebooks
  • Converting an EPUB to Kindle, iBookstore, and Nook formats
  • Distributing ebooks with resellers and aggregators

Lesson Outline

The following is a list of possible topics for you to use as a guide. Your course will be fully customized to your unique goals, workflow, and learning pace. Because every course we teach is fully customized to each group, the following list of topics to be learned should be considered a guideline, one that will be expanded or altered as required to fit your needs.

The Landscape of eBooks

  • What You Can and Cannot Do in eBooks
  • eBooks Versus Fixed-Layout eBooks
  • eBook Versus PDF
  • eBook Versus Digital Replica Format
  • eBooks Versus Interactive Tablet Publications
  • The Business of eBooks
  • EPUB, MOBI, Kindle Format 8, and Other eBook Formats
  • eBook-Reading Devices and Their Market Shares
  • eJournals, eNewspapers, and Other EPUB Periodicals

Creating a Basic eBook

Creating an eBook from Scratch

  • Beginning the Layout
  • Writing in InCopy
  • Importing from InCopy
  • Importing from a Text Document
  • Importing from Microsoft Word

Testing Your EPUB

  • On the Desktop
  • On eReaders
  • On Tablets
  • On Smartphones

Styling Your eBook

  • Paragraph Styles
  • Vertical Spacing

Converting a Print Publication to en eBook

  • What Doesn’t Work
  • Master-Page Items in eBooks
  • Removing Fixed-Layout References
  • Content Ordering by Placement
  • Content Ordering with the Articles Panel
  • Content Ordering by Anchoring Objects
  • Content Ordering by Tagging

Working with Images and Multimedia in eBooks

Exporting Images to eBooks

  • eBook Image Formats
  • Automatic Conversion to EPUB Image Formats
  • Asserting Control Over Bulk Image Conversion
  • Asserting Control Over Individual Image Conversion

Preparing Images for eBooks

  • Adding ALT Tag Alternate Text
  • Sizing Images for eBooks
  • Using Cover Images
  • Including Native InDesign Artwork
  • Captioning Images

Adding Audio and Video to eBooks

  • eBook Audio and Video Formats
  • Inserting Audio
  • Including Video
  • Making Good Video Posters

Adding Vector Graphics to eBooks

  • Creating SVG Graphics
  • Using SVG in InDesign

Fine-Tuning EPUB

Getting Inside the EPUB

  • Unzipping and Zipping an EPUB on Mac
  • Unzipping and Zipping an EPUB on Windows
  • Editing EPUBs without Unzipping Them

Editing Files Inside an EPUB

  • MIME Type
  • Container.xml
  • Encryption.xml
  • XHTML Files
  • CSS Files
  • NCX Files
  • OPF Files
  • Image, Audio, Video, and Fonts
  • File Naming

Editing eBook Metadata

  • Editing Metadata in the OPF
  • Required Metadata
  • Optional and Special-Case Metadata
  • Editing Metadata in InDesign
  • Editing Metadata in Calibre
  • Editing Metadata in Sigil

Creating Multiple-Chapter eBooks

  • Using Multiple InDesign Documents
  • Breaking by Paragraph Style
  • Breaking by Tags

Creating Tables of Contents

  • Building an On-the-Page TOC
  • Styling the Table of Contents
  • Generating the On-Demand TOC
  • Editing the TOC.NCX

Advanced eBook Design

The Role of CSS in eBook Design

  • Supported CSS2 Attributes
  • Supported CSS3 Attributes
  • Utilizing a CSS Reset
  • Creating and Using CSS Templates
  • Using Media Queries

Advanced Text Formatting

  • Basic CSS Text Styling
  • Effecting Page Breaks
  • TOC <navpoint> Styling

Advanced Image and Multimedia Formatting

  • Wrapping Text Around Images
  • Adding Captions and Photo Credits to Images
  • Adding Sidebars and Callouts

Publishing Your eBook

Preparing Your EPUB for Distribution

  • Fixing InDesign’s EPUB Export Errors
  • A Checklist for Final Preparation
  • Converting an EPUB for Kindle
  • Using the Kindle InDesign Plugin
  • Preparing an EPUB for Apple iBook Store

The eBook Stores

  • The Pros and Cons of the Amazon Kindle Store
  • The Pros and Cons of the Barnes & Noble NOOK Store
  • The Pros and Cons of the Barnes & Noble NOOKKids Store
  • The Pros and Cons of the Apple iBook Store
  • The Pros and Cons of the Rest of the Market (Kobo, Sony, etc.)
  • eBook Distribution Services

How to Publish to the eBook Stores

  • How to Publish to the Amazon Kindle Store
  • How to Publish to the Barnes & Noble NOOK Stores
  • How to Publish to the Apple iBook Store
  • How to Publish to the Rest of the eBook Stores (Kobo, Sony, etc.)

Selling Your eBook on Your Own Website

  • Techniques and Systems for Sales
  • Payment Processor Gateways
  • Fulfillment Services
  • Security Concerns
  • Do You Need Digital Rights Management?

Selling Your eBook in Print

  • The Pros and Cons of Print Publication
  • Vanity Press
  • Licensing Print Rights
  • Using Print-on-Demand
  • Comparing Print-on-Demand Services