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CANNOT get proper format conversion for eBook

New Here ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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I am SO frustrated. I am trying to get my ebook on platforms like Amazon and no one accepts PDF. When I export to ePub, it looks NOTHING LIKE MY BOOK! The formatting is off, the pictures are all jumbled around. There are no errors or anything on my document. I have NO idea what is going on and I want to get it on Kindle. I can't do HTML because of the pictures, PDF is not taking, and the epub files look nothing like my book. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PUBLICH MY BOOK when Adobe software can't even format it for the platform's needs. NOTHING is working. I need help. I'm so sad.
Thank you,

Giovanna

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EPUB , Publish online

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correct answers 1 Correct answer

Community Expert , Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

EPUB is not PDF... in many ways, but mostly in that it does not make any perfect snapshot of layout pages. It takes a fair amount of knowledge and (on every project) rounds of trial to get things right.

 

The book in the sig has pretty much everything you need to do pro reflowable EPUB and Kindle. It assumes you have reasonable mastery of InDesign and at least a grasp of CSS style coding.

 

You'll also find some basic tutorials here (drawn from/expanding on the book): http://nitrosyncretic.com/DPR/dpr_index.php

...

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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EPUB is not PDF... in many ways, but mostly in that it does not make any perfect snapshot of layout pages. It takes a fair amount of knowledge and (on every project) rounds of trial to get things right.

 

The book in the sig has pretty much everything you need to do pro reflowable EPUB and Kindle. It assumes you have reasonable mastery of InDesign and at least a grasp of CSS style coding.

 

You'll also find some basic tutorials here (drawn from/expanding on the book): http://nitrosyncretic.com/DPR/dpr_index.php

 

Happy to help with specific questions or the whole process, as well.

 

BTW — you want to export to reflowable EPUB. Fixed-page EPUB is an obsolete non-solution that is much more difficult to work with, despite seeming to be a simple/easy choice.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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Community Expert ,
Jan 14, 2024 Jan 14, 2024

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Note that if you "can't do HTML because of the pictures," you are going to have hurdles with EPUB as well — EPUB is, essentially, a packaged website and subject to most of the same layout and content limitations. If you have complex image layouts, you're going to have to adapt them to what XHTML/CSS can manage... which is quite a bit and quite fancy if you have the chops, but again, EPUB is not just a snapshot of page layouts, so you have to work within the limits of each medium.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Apr 08, 2024 Apr 08, 2024

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Export it as a fixed layout epub, not a reflowable epub, and everything will stay where it is meant to be

 

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2024 Apr 09, 2024

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Fixed layout EPUB is a horrible format for just about everything. And most EPUB readers will turn it into a jumbled mess. This discussion is several months old and was answered long ago. Everyone is welcome to contribute to this community but please, in the future, if you're going to do so, add something of value.

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New Here ,
Apr 09, 2024 Apr 09, 2024

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Hi there Bob, gosh I was just trying to help the poor lass. Nobody seems to have given her a positive answer. I recently did a marathon 640 page book for a client, and not a simple book. It contained charts, diagrams (placed as pictures) within the text flow, internal hyperlinks to other places in the book, external hyperlinks to other sites, footnotes etc. Things that HAD to stay on the pages they were placed, as often the diagram on a particular page was discussed on the facing page. So not only did the format have to stay fixed to stop the text flowing around the diagrams, which is what seems to be happening to poor Giovanna, it had to be fixed spreads. The book was exported to epub for use as an iBook (Apple) and it works perfectly. Yes, you do need to know what you are doing when exporting in order to make sure things like your table of contents and hyperlinks carry over but the final result looks and behaves exactly as it should. So, this is perfect for a Mac or an iPad, not for a Kindle which has to be created as another format, but this can be done using Kindle Creator which is free to download from Amazon, and again, you can create your Kindle book as a 'print replica' file and it will look and behave the same way. No reflows, nothing moves, everything stays as it should. I did have trouble getting my Kindle publication to include my table of contents, and didn't manage to find an easy answer on their website. Now I don't know what other epub readers there are, maybe they don't all work the same way, but my fixed layout publications work perfectly on the platforms they were created for.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 09, 2024 Apr 09, 2024

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10/10 for the effort to help. But if you'd read the thread, you'd see this has already been addressed.

 

And very complex layouts can be converted to reflowable EPUB. You just have to understand/respect the medium instead of killing yourself trying to make a rigid page layout. If page images are really needed, there's no real alternative but PDF.

 

Kindle's tools are... for amateurs seeking amateur results, and encourage every worst option for book creation. I think more would-be authors and potentially valuable books have been ruined by trying to use "the Kindle system" than, perhaps, have actually made it to completion.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Apr 09, 2024 Apr 09, 2024

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Hi James,

The thing is Amazon won't accept any other form of electronic publication. They won't sell eBooks, they will only sell their own product (Amazon owns Kindle as I'm sure you know), and they will also sell the printed book. My client wanted a printed (on a press) book, a print-on-demand file for digital output upon order, an iBook and a Kindle. She got all of the above, free of problems. One has to provide what one's client wants, irrespective of what one's personal opinion might be.

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Community Expert ,
Apr 10, 2024 Apr 10, 2024

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I'm thoroughly familiar with KDP's policies, requirements, tools and limitations.

 

But let's unpack some of this, in more or less reverse order.

 

First, what a client wants is not always a good idea, best practice, workable or sometimes even possible. If a client wants the moon painted pink and on a string, because somewhere they got the idea that's an option (or, worse, read a blog or article presenting it as NEW! or some seekret trik for business success), our first job is to bring them down to reality so that the project can be successfully completed. If they won't listen, politely decline their business. (While we're not doctors, just as a doctor won't do any damn fool thing a patient demands, I think we have something of an ethical/professional responsibility not to take on a user-guided project that will sink a lot of money in a second-rate outcome, or a flat failure.)

 

Second, I believe strongly in "respect the medium" — and for the vast sea of amateur, novice and inexperienced providers in digital publication, that might as well be posted in Uighur (ۋاستىگە ھۆرمەت قىلىڭ, by the way). Print is not digital; e-book is not print-book; EPUB is not PDF. To try and force print/PDF page rigidity into EPUB is disrespecting the latter medium and shows a lack of grasp of everything but some technical fundamentals (and a host of crappy, outdated tools). That EPUB has a fixed-layout option is not an excuse or an alternative; it's a cranky, difficult, unreliable and largely pointless format.

 

FXL EPUB has 1.001 legitimate uses, driven by market realities. the "1" is for picture-page books, those with little or no live text, like children's books and graphic novels. Once a book is composed primarily of text, and individual elements like illustrations, text pulls, tables and the like, it's no longer suitable for FXL. That is, if a page has anything but a full-page graphic and perhaps a text block or two, it's no longer a case for FXL. (The 0.001? I suppose someone, somewhere has a project that goes outside that restriction and is best served by an FXL publication. I've never seen one, though.) FXL is beloved of amateurs and novices because it seems like the simple, obvious, easy, "proper" way to do one of those e-book things. (It's not.)

 

Reflowable EPUB is the proper choice for e-books because it wholly respects the medium and brings the maximum all-around value to all potential (human) readers, on all reader devices and apps and pretty much all those that might come along in the future. If it's "loose content" (not that one-picture-per page), it should be done in reflowable format.

 

What's that you say? It's not a novel or other flowing text end to end? Irrelevant. While novels and narratives and to some extent things like poetry are easy to dump into reflowable format — and, frankly, far too many "experts" have done nothing else, whether it's one time, ten or a thousand — that is not the scope or limit of the format.

 

Yes, converting complex content to reflowable is an advanced skill. Creating elements that will stay and work together across liquid pages takes an added layer of techniques and vision. It's not something that can be done for some Fiverr or UpWork competitive flat fee, in most cases. And now we've circled back to the client, who is likely completely clueless about all of the above and chooses a book designer/creator on largely faulty understanding of what the real processes, costs and useful goals are.

 

We won't talk about KIndle here as the next step, except to say that on the technical end, the get-to-published path, the "support" of author/publishers and the tools and processes they offer... they have a long, long way to go to be considered suitable for professional work. Success on KDP far more often lies in successfully bypassing their amateur processes than in making use of them. I'll say even less about their user support community.

 

As for "opinion," yes indeed, this is all "my opinion" — as a publisher and publication designer whose experience and productions stretch from pasting things up on blueline board to converting some of the most complex books possible to successful Kindle editions to writing and maintaining what I believe is the only complete, comprehensive and technically focused book (and website) on successful EPUB/Kindle conversion. But I'll stand on that opinion.

 

Again, sincerely, full props for speaking up to offer help. But it's not really useful to skip a whole thread's contents, whether fresh or moribund, to toss in a suggestion that's already been discussed, unless you have something useful to add to the discussion.


┋┊ InDesign to Kindle (& EPUB): A Professional Guide, v3.0 ┊ (Amazon) ┊┋

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New Here ,
Apr 10, 2024 Apr 10, 2024

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Hi James,

 

Firstly, if you want to get paid for your work, you have to provide your client with what they want, not tell them that they're wrong and refuse to do it.

 

Secondly, I don't know if your diatribe really has been useful to the original plea for help. I see no response from Giovanna. I assume nothing has helped her so far.

 

Thirdly, I would encourange everyone to support the print industry and buy a book.

 

I am now exiting this forum.

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