Tuesday, October 22, 2013

InDesign Export to EPUB: The Destroyer of Good Design

I've embarked on a journey of epublishing this semester and the journey has begun with a steep climb up a mountain of a learning curve.  I naively thought that a program such as Adobe InDesign would wish to work with me to make a well designed ebook.  That is not the case.  I give InDesign a file full of text and images placed ever so and then I click export > EPUB and, BAM, destruction.  Yes, I definitely wanted all my images at the end of the book, don't place them near the text they are related to that would be silly...  Apparently ebook design is more like ebook correcting.  You make something nice, InDesign destroys it and then you painstakingly correct it.

iBooks Author seems like the answer to these problems, it has been made solely for epublishing.  But Apple decided to make it solely for Apple publishing only to be read on an iPhone or iPad.  *****UPDATE 11/2/13:  Hooray, Apple now has an app to read ibooks on a desktop!!!!*******  Amazon?  Only a majority of ebooks are sold on Amazon, who would need to be compatible with them???

So it looks like I have some bitterness to get out of my system.  I think what upsets me the most is that there is so much potential for ebooks to help people have greater access to reading and to make reading more fun, engaging, and easier to learn from.  But instead there is so much confusion in ebook software and publishing that good ebooks are too difficult to make often.  Amazon doesn't publish EPUBs, the "global" format of ebooks.  Apple makes a great software program to make ebooks but only allows people to publish with them.  And reading ebooks on a desktop is somehow made challenging for the average computer owner.  It's an "electronic book" not a "only read on a tablet book."  

I think there is a large market out there for well-designed ebooks.  Glitchy, ugly looking flowable EPUBs give ebooks a bad name.  They aren't going to compare to the beauty of a printed book.  But ebooks could kick printed books' butts if audio, video, and other interactive features are added and allowed to be published by widely known ebook sellers.  Reading can become a video game, movie, or TV show, and self-publishing can be a viable option.  

YouTube has allowed every person to host their own TV show with their own personal channel; epublishing can allow the same access to writers to create published niche books for specific audiences because they don't have to go through a publisher.  I love reading self-published books that are way too unique to be picked up by a large publisher.  I want to see more and at a higher quality.  I think we are so close to getting there, but I hope Adobe, Apple, and Amazon can get their acts together and stop putting limitations up for their own personal profits.

No comments:

Post a Comment