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Creating an epub from indesign does not work with kindle because fonts are not embedded

New Here ,
Mar 11, 2024 Mar 11, 2024

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I'm creating a book with lots of illustrations & photographs and therefore layout is important. I wish to use the same format for kindle E book and for print.

 

From indesign making a PDF for print is simple and works without any issues.

 

However creating an E book is a different matter. The format accepted by Amazon Kindle is E pub. Because layout is important I need to use a fixed format epub. Creating this file from indesign does not give you many options.

 

Once uploaded to Amazon it is a accepted. However when reading the book in either a kindle or the kindle app or the web cloud kindle reader, you will encounter problems.

 

Namely that no fonts are embedded fix format layout files created by Adobe indesign. That means if your computer or application platform happens to have the fonts, then everything will be laid out as you expect. If not then some random default font is used and the layout is strange.

 

There's no list of fonts that are available for kindle devices so there is no way to even choose a font to work with them. The result is that your text will not be formatted correctly and clients will be broken in different points than you expect.

 

Is there any solution to this problem? I've seen others with the same problem and because they are able to use the reflowable format that seems to embed the fonts correctly. I have tried it with my book and it doesn't work because all the photographs and illustrations will be stacked like a pile of playing cards.

 

Because Adobe does not embed fonts in fixed format epub files, Adobe indesign cannot be used to make E books.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 11, 2024 Mar 11, 2024

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You are using three elements in combination that don't work well at all, regardless of how the EPUB is constructed. Very little of it is InDesign's fault, at least not directly.

 

EPUB is not a rigidly enforced standard. A vast amount of success or failure or just outcome depends on the reader, which is free to interpret the EPUB code any way it likes, and, for many readers out there, does so following the whim of the programmer. So you have little to no control over what an EPUB user (== human reader) sees unless you demand they use a specified reader. While Kindle does enforce a single reader (and a somewhat more rigorous standard), much of the same is true when you go outside some basic limits.

 

The first problem is that fixed-page EPUB, FXL, is an old, poorly implemented and problematic format. It should not be used except for a very limited number of  book types that are mostly "picture page" types, and never for mostly-text layouts. (If you want perfect replicas of print pages... use PDF.)

 

The second problem is that font embedding has always been somewhere between tricky and glitchy in EPUB. It works for some readers, but not others. It can be fussy about what fonts it works with, over and above the issue of those fonts needing to be licensed for e-book export. (Most are if encryption is supported — that is, the font files are encrypted so that they can't be extracted and used on their own.) And in the end, most readers give their own font preferences and the user settings (for font size, face, spacing, etc.) priority over how the book pages are encoded.

 

The third problem is that Kindle is "yet more of the same" and is very resistant to specified fonts, giving great preference to using its own system fonts and user settings.

 

So three strikes, yer out, here. The preferable method for e-books in 2024 is to use reflowable layout, learn methods for controlling page layout within that 'liquid' model (it can be done) and not to specify or embed fonts at all.

 

As for "InDesign not embedding fonts," I suspect you'll find the fonts are indeed embedded in the file — the FXL layout more or less requires them to be there — but that it's the readers that are ignoring them. If you are trying to use fonts that don't contain a licensing tag for e-book export, those would be refused, but you'd see error messages on export.

 

InDesign has its flaws and limits on EPUB creation but is probably the best layout-based tool there is for creating e-books. But there are so many other factors in play that working around ID's few limits is the easy part of successful EPUB/Kindle creation.


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

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New Here ,
Mar 11, 2024 Mar 11, 2024

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In that case I'm interested to know what is the best way of using indesign
to create an ebook which is mostly illustrations and photographs.

It cannot be reflowed because the photos all get stacked together and also
the photos and captions end up spread apart from the photo that it was
supposed to be with.

So I don't think there is any choice other than to make a PDF or a fixed
format epub

I'm kind of surprised that a PDF could not be used for a fixed flow ebook.

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Community Expert ,
Mar 12, 2024 Mar 12, 2024

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The meta topic here is that print and e-book are different media, with different strengths and weaknesses, and it's a mistake to try and make one do the other's role. With few exceptions, that mistake in e-book design is trying to make all the material rigid in size, placement and pagination. Your design and layout have to accept, and make best use of, the liquid, flowing layout.

 

Yes, you can battle the concept by using PDF (which straddles print and e-book in many ways), or the FXL EPUB layout, but even the latter is not always going to create a faithful, reliable, rigid copy of the print page. The short answer here is "use fixed layout" — but you are going to have to put up with however it turns out, as there is very little control over it after export.

 

The better answer is to learn to use InDesign, the more complex options for reflowable EPUB and a mastery of the technical layout within ID to keep images, captions and text grouped on virtual pages. You won't get a page-by-page replica of a print book, but you can get a very acceptable variation that both preserves your "content concept" and makes best use of the liquid, digital page format.

 

What you can't do is create a print layout and export directly to that reflowable layout; the "translation" between ID-for-print and

EPUB-for-flowing layout is hampered by many things, and you have to both adjust the ID layout and use additional style management (CSS) to optimize the EPUB result.

 

Or just export to PDF and be done with it; that will give you a perfect digital replica of your page layout and book, but in a form that does not really support e-book sales and management very well. And if your destination is Kindle, there are further limitations you have to accept or work around, and one of them is that Kindle really, really doesn't like using publisher font specs. It's best to let the Kindle reader handle fonts and both reduce the book file size (by removing the bulky font files) and stabilize how users will see the result. (Some books do allow selection of "Publisher" fonts over the system/reader ones, but it's never the default and IME is not even persistent; you have to manually switch it over every time you open that book. And then there's reliability of font rendering, which is less than perfect as well.)

 

The best option is to come to terms with how EPUB and Kindle work and want to work, and use them to best advantage, and not try to beat them into replicating print pages as PDF does.


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

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Engaged ,
Mar 12, 2024 Mar 12, 2024

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According to a post on the web. It says the following:

And to round off this subject, it's possible to embedd fonts for Kindle devices. First export the EPUB file from InDesgn with the fonts embedded. After generating the EPUB file, crack it open (I use Oxygen XML Editor or Author XML Editor for this). Simply delete the 'encryption.xml' file located within the META-INF folder. Then you must replace all the fonts within the Fonts folder with the unencrypted versions. The fonts within the EPUB file are enctypted, so they cannot be read.

 

That's all there is to it. Open the file with Kindle Previwer and you will see the fonts in use. Keep in mind that iBooks overrides some HTML tags with the font selected by the reader, so your embedded fonts won't work for all text on that plattform. For example <h1> tags work, but <p> tags don't.

 

Most importantly, don't do this unless you own the font, have purchased a font license, or are using an font that allows you to freely embed it.

 

Good luck!

 

Not sure if it would work for reflowable 

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