We make guidebooks, currently sold as interactive PDFs with plans to convert to fixed layout EPUBs.
I understand from posts here that page transitions only work in interactive PDFs if you are willing to jump through hoops. We can't make them work, whether in Acrobat full screen mode or not. We have tested a variety of transitions at different speeds on many pages, but none work in Acrobat or Apple Books.
However, I thought from posts here that they would work if converted to fixed layout EPUB. We have tested them in both Adobe Digital Editions and Apple Books without success. Are there EPUB hoops we're not jumping through?
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ADE is a lousy EPUB reader, and Apple's reader is a highly proprietary one that diverges a long ways from basic EPUB standards. Don't use ADE at all, and if your target is Apple users, you will need to optimize your docs for iBooks etc.
The problem you encountered with PDF is that, by and large, the interactive features don't work on mobile devices. And interactive EPUB will be very dependent on the reader. (And fixed-page EPUB is an increasingly obsolete format that should not be used for new projects in this era, but that's an aside. I'd go to reflowable EPUB if you want to maintain that direction.)
If you want an interactive doc that will work on mobile devices, there are adjunct tools that can do it (In5 is frequently recommended). Myself, I'd do it in HTML, which is platform-independent and adaptable to nearly any modern browser. And less of a stretch than you might think; EPUB is, after all, just a packaged web page.
I have heard others speculating that fixed-page EPUB is obsolete. Perhaps I am missing something. Is it not the only format which ebooks unsuited to a flowable format must be to be accepted by Apple's store?
This maybe isn't the place to go into a deep dialogue on EPUB's past, present and future, but I believe in using a medium to its strengths, not trying to make every platform do every job. Between the near-perfection of PDF as a medium for fixed pages of nearly any complexity and layout that can be easily read on nearly any device or platform out there, and the many advantages of reflowable content for books and long content, FXL EPUB is sort of an aging stepchild without any good place in the mix.
Its one remaining niche is for those who insist in using EPUB (or must comply with a publishing service that does) and have books that are essentially image-based — children's books, graphic novels, reference and how-to that are largely image-based, etc. PDF still does a better job with these as a publication (which is why you don't see online product manuals in EPUB, for example), but there are no good options for selling or vending DRM-enabled PDF, so FXL persists to try and bridge the gap.
That said, I see and deal with too many author/publishers who are intent on doing books that are entirely suited to reflowable format, but can't let go of the idea that book pages should look like book pages. Which, IMVHO, is disrespecting the medium... Ab initio...
I have read that page transitions in Acrobat on Mac have been troublesome for quite some time. I tested it here on Windows and they function as they're supposed to.
I guess one solution is to not use fancy page transitions. Simple ones add a tiny bit to a presentation... not sure they are anything but glitter and tinsel in a publication. 🙂
I am aware of in5 and we have installed their free version to test, but it is frustrating to have to subscribe to an InDesign plug-in, for virtually the same price as a complete Creative Cloud membership, to just have access to a small feature that is broken in InDesign... especially when in5 will not even export in the format you desire.
I agree that ADE is junk. Our pages look and act like trash in it. Our unoptimized docs at least look as they should in Apple Books. Will transitions work in iBooks if fixed layout EPUB pages are optimized?
Adobe seems to have a lot of money to buy competitors. If they are unwilling to use some of it to fix their products (or even tell you which features don't work so you don't waste your time), maybe they will purchase in5 and incorporate it into InDesign.
One of the attractivnesses of InDeisgn is the ability to build and integrate plugins to do things that are not 'out of the box' solutions. InDesign was originally created as a page layout tool for print and it's being post-fitted with tools into exporting to other formats. Which is fine - moving with the times, there's more to publishing these days than just print.
In5 see a gap in the market and produce a plugin that is optional for you and if it works for you and you're making money from Adobe and In5 then in turn they make money, hence, money is making the world go round.
I was convinced that Page Transitions were divided and labeled as PDF or ePub only... but after checking they are not, perhaps that changed.
If you have ideas/improvements you can make them here
If only for demonstating so clearly what it means to be tagged as a "Community Expert".
You're very welcome.
You do realise I can only tell you how it works - I don't have any power or influence to make it work the way you expect it to work.
I'm an InDesign user just like yourself, I'm not employed by Adobe and I do this in my spare time.
I've been an InDesign user since 2001.
I cannot make the program work the way you want it - but only explain it from my point of view.
As this is a forum - it's open discussion and/or a meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.
I've given you the link to the User Voice page - this is the only place at the moment where 'Your Voice' can be heard.
Hope you have a great day.
You get a lot more than one "small feature" with in5...way more. It is an absolutely brilliant piece of technology and very, very well supported by its developer. Given what Adobe has (or hasn't) done with tech that it's purchased in the past, I'm not so sure I'd want to see them buy this one.
Example of that would be table and cell styles. They bought it almost 20 years ago and haven't done a thing to improve it since.
Eugene, sorry for coming off so rude. I was angry and frustrated, but have no excuse. I know you just trying to help. I'm an ass sometimes.
Bob, I didn't mean to suggest that in5 was not an impressive product. It appears to be. But in the context of signing up to only get page transitions to work, that would be a small feature. Perhaps it's the features I use, but Illustrator and Photoshop seem so smooth and powerful, while InDesign feels klunky and broken.
Perhaps fixed layout EPUBs are obsolete and we are wasting our time trying to get them to work.
EPUB is simply not a good format at all, especially if your goal is web delivery. It's just one more layer of accessibility that can be eliminated in favor of either the very reliable fixed-page solution PDF, or the highly developed, very well supported and fluid HTML.
EPUB is good only for "electronic books" that are to be used as books, not adjunct online resources. But like PDF, it's used badly and then takes a lot of abuse from users who want it to be something else. (With PDF, it's mostly putting it up as a substitute for true web content and then having users rely on crummy browser-readers!)
ID is a fantastic tool at all forms of publicaiton. Not really fair to kick it because of limitations in one awkward niche no one really does well. 🙂
Unfortunately, the problems we have been having lately with ID, such as transitions and text anchor links going to pages unrelated to the link, have not worked in either PDF or EPUB.
But I'll stop kicking them 🙂
Thanks for your help.
But the problem does not seem to be either ID or Acrobat Reader... but the platforms and secondary-source readers. Unless I've missed something.
A lot of the common anger directed at PDF in particular is the failure to understand that not all readers are the same, and for both PDF and EPUB... the reader is everything.
No worries happens to me too 🙂
I feel the need to say this: if I bought a guidebook, I would NOT ever want to see fancy effects like page transitions. A guidebook needs to be a well structured source of information. Page transitions are simply a delay in the process of getting the information, they would drive me crazy.
And there's that. 🙂
Admit I agree 🙂
We just wanted to see how they would look. We put different transitions at different speeds on many pages, but didn't get to see any of them. I was hoping for a quick fade out/in, but now we will never know.... 😞
While our EPUB versions have not been optimized for iBooks, the guides do look good in the app. However, there is a shiver to the pages as links within the doc resolve. I was hoping a transition might smooth out the shiver, though perhaps I should first optimize the files for Apple Books and see if that smooths things out.
Keep e-book display simple and clean. Part of "respecting the medium," I think.
If you are exporting either a PDF or EPUB without any screen fancies, there should be no "shiver" or whatever, I think. You may have induced that with the page transitions and all that fancy-dance.
If you export a completely plain EPUB and it 'shivers,' I'd say it's the reader. I suppose a page-size fault or variation could be at play, with fixed page layout. But I'd try it with a variety of book documents to see if some or all of them exhibit the anomaly. It could be the reader, in general, or its specific version and implementation on your device.
We have done it both ways, clean and with test transitions, which of course don't show up. In both cases there is a bit of a shiver or jerkiness in the EPUB. The PDF is smooth. The pages are 1024x768.
Will test as you suggest. Other than iBooks or ADE, are there any readers which work with fixed layout EPUBs you might suggest?
Thorium Reader is pretty much the gold standard, standards-adherent reader. It has one persistent bug right now (long story), so a good backup is Calibre Reader. Both, especially Thorium, follow the EPUB spec closely without trying to add features, lock in a particular market or audience or just "improve" the species. Nearly every other reader, iBooks included, do some or all of that. And too many readers try to be multi-format, which never works well and is probably the core fault with Adobe's reader.
If you're going to develop EPUBs, you want a good, vanilla, one-format reader for testing and development, and then if (say) Apple is a big market and the EPUB doesn't render perfectly on their reader, you can often tweak it to work on both. But many readers are just hopeless and not worth targeting for best performance.
That was enlightening. The file worked much better in Thorium (which I was sure I had read somewhere the creators had decided to no longer support) than in Calibre, though transitions worked on neither. The page art seemed to come apart in Calibre. The shivers mostly disappeared, but not sure the transitions are as smooth as PDF.
We have seven guides, with a total of about 800 pages. If interested, links below will take you to one of the guides in EPUB and PDF. It is clean, no transitions. We put out new versions each year. The 2023 versions are nowhere near ready. Long days ahead.
FWIW: They work best in tablets. The stylized hamburger button takes you to the main menu, while the linked little maps on each page take you to a regional/section menu.
The PDF works best in Acrobat or Apple Books.
We don't really see a point for moving to EPUB unless we sell the guides through Google Play and Apple Books. We are quite happy selling the PDFs from our site. We like that people can copy their guides to all computers and devices, but easy copying also has its own problems. The 30 percent cut bookstores take does provide a measure of copy protection.
I'll take a look to see if I can say anything further that's useful.
I have no idea at this moment what your subject or focus is, but if your direct sales are good, by all means keep them up; all digital publishing (really, all publishing) has to just live with a certain amount of piracy, both benign (people copying a book around to family and multiple devices) and not.
Perfecting an EPUB for the digital booksellers would be good, but I have to ask if you've considered KDP/Kindle. It's fairly easy to go from ID to a polished Kindle book, and you then have unlimited global sales with reasonably good piracy protection. (If you spit after you say 'Bezos,' I understand. 🙂 )
My sales, my own and for clients, are enormously greater on KDP than either Ingram or Smashwords. (I am, in fact, trying to think if we've ever sold a copy of anything on the latter.) I'm not sure either of the phone platform sellers would be any better, but I've avoided them for a number of reasons.
The EPUB looks great in Calibre and Thorium. Don't have a single comment about the technical presentation or design other than 'nice work!'
And, hilarilously, you're covering an area I know somewhat... I have family and friends in Victoria who own property on some of the Gulf islands.
I would really, really avoid anything tricky like page transitions for a literally down-to-earth guide of this type. I doubt anyone will appreciate them, even on a "nice feel" level, and unless the shiver you mention affects a lot of readers to a significant degree, it's nothing to lose sleep over.
ETA: the EPUB imported into Kindle Previewer very nicely, but the graphics for the overlay of each area on the master maps don't render correctly (they are white blanks, and don't even say "Here There Be Dragons.") But that's a minor technical issue to work out; I'd say KDP/Kindle is easily within your grasp. However, given your very specific focus, you might already be reaching most of your market and serving it, and not need either the upsides or the hassles of Amazon's help.