Posts in Category "Authoring"

Creating EPUB with InDesign – online resources

We’ve posted new resources over at to help authors as they use InDesign to create eBooks and export them to EPUB. You can find three new how-to guides at that cover the following topics:

  • Creating EPUB from InDesign
  • FAQ on the InDesign EPUB export
  • Working with images when exporting to EPUB

For more general InDesign EPUB authoring resources, including video tutorials on setting up documents for optimal EPUB export, visit the new InDesign eBooks authoring center at

If you’d like have a suggestion for a future topic you’d like to see in a how-to guide, please leave a comment here.

EPUB generation library written in Java

It’s come to my attention that I didn’t really give EPUBGen a proper introduction, and so there’s been some confusion about the project.

EPUBGen project

EPUBGen is a Java library that demonstrates EPUB generation from a variety of document formats, and which may be a useful starting point or reference code for other EPUB generation needs. That is to say, it’s an effort to promote the development of a variety of tools and workflows.

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Font obfuscation code, available for review

I realize this blog might have a diverse readership so I’ll warn those of you who aren’t developers, that this particular blog post probably isn’t for you.

Unless you find reading Java code interesting, you can probably skip this article.

I’ve implemented the IDPF font obfuscation algorithm which is recommended here. The font obfuscation code can be found in the EPUBGen project, and so you can take and review, and use the code. In this article, I’m going to highlight just the portions of that project that are related to embedding and obfuscating the font information. (The project also has font subsetting and other features which I will not cover.)

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InDesign 6.0.2 and EPUB export

There’s a new update to InDesign CS4. Version 6.0.2. The update fixes lots of other stuff, so you may want to look at the release notes to see what’s fixed that is not related to the EPUB export, I’m only going to talk about the EPUB plug-in.

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RTF, Word, and FB2 file conversion

EPUBGen is a project that Peter Sorotokin has started, it’s a conversion utility for rtf files, word files, and FictionBook files. The output in each case is, of course, epub.

The project is open source, and available for download.

Note that there is also a .jar file for rtf2epub and it should work, but the main intent of this project is to provide source code and examples of the way things could be done. In other words, there’s plenty of room for developers to improve and enhance the conversion.

The project includes code to convert a couple different formats to ePub, including generating all the required files and creating the package. The project also shows how to mangle embedded fonts, how to sub-set those font (thus reducing the size of the ePub).

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Working with the cover

The covers on your books make a first impression. So when you’re creating a cover for a book you’re likely to put in some extra effort to make sure it looks good. When you’re working with EPUBs and Adobe Digital Editions, there are some simple things that you can do that have a big impact on the look of the covers.

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Options for creating the package file on a Mac

So, when I need to create an epub by hand, I’ll put everything I need in a folder, and then use the Terminal & zip it up by hand.

Like so:

  1. Navigate to the folder.
  2. zip -Xr9D book.epub mimetype *

Ok, so I realize not every one is comfortable working at the command line.

That’s where MakePackage.scpt comes in. It’s an Applescript script that will take a folder and turn it into an EPUB. It expects the folder to be the same layout as the EPUB should be. So, just as if you had renamed a file to .zip and then extracted the contents.

Anyway, it’s here if you find it useful, if not, there’s always the command line.

InDesign Secrets

Seems is starting to cover EPUB and InDesign.

Awesome. Seems there’s a real need for EPUB information for designers, publishers, and authors. Maybe this will help fill that need.

ePubPreflight version 0.1.0 (was “stylecheck”)

There’s a new tool for checking ePub files. The tool does not do validation, that is the role of the epubcheck tool. The epubpreflight tool is intended to check the things that are not mentioned in the EPUB spec, but that could be issues in one environment or another.

ePubPreflight can be found in the epubcheck downloads.

If you’d like to discuss the tool, head on over to the epubcheck discussion area

I’ll be updating the project pages with instructions on how to use the ePubPreflight, but it’s just like using epubcheck. (Run at a command line, and use ‘java -jar epubpreflight-0.1.0.jar myEPub.epub’.)

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The Mars Project “PDFXML Inspector” works great as an ePub editing tool.

If you’ve just created an ePub and now you want to make a small change, the normal approach is to rename the file with a “zip” extension, extract the contents, make the change, and then repackage the contents.

Fortunately, there’s a better way, but I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned.
It’s from the Mars Project over on Adobe Labs, and it’s called the “PDFXML Inspector”.

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