Can I create an audio book from a InDesign file

Community Beginner ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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I have created a few books now, also published them as an ebook.  But can i use the InDesign file somehow to create an Audio book please ?

 

Thanks Stephen 

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EPUB, How to, Import and export, Publish online

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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You need to define what you mean by an eBook, which is a generic term for digital publications. There are several formats to consider - for this have a look at FXL ePub, InDesign's Publish Online, Apple iBooks and HTML5 via in5.

(Each format has advantages and disadvantages – none is perfect.) Another route is to include a hyperlink in your document to an external source such as YouTube or similar.

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LEGEND ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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You can certainly start with an indesign File. The important thing is having a clear text for the narrator you hire to read and record it, and audiobook producer. 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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Thanks for your replies, apologies if i was not very clear. I have managed to produce the ebook out of InDesign and have two books up on Amazon now.

 

Now I was hoping I might be able to use the InDesign file to create me an Audio book, someone said the epub file might be able to do it, but not found anywhere yet that tells me how this works ?? Thanks

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LEGEND ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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My understanding of audio books is that a human, preferably one skilled in voice work, reads them out. That's not something you can magic out of an ebook.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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File > Export > EPUB (Fixed Layout)

 

 

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 02, 2020 Apr 02, 2020

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I have found a site called naturalreaders.com that turns an epub file into an audio book.  But to be able to distribute the book l will have to sign up for the premium package !

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LEGEND ,
Apr 02, 2020 Apr 02, 2020

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That's just text to speech software. That's not an audio book! It would drive most people crazy, and they certainly wouldn't pay for it. Like we say: Audio Books are read out by a skilled human.  I'm sure there are many voice artists who would like the work. It will not be free. 

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LEGEND ,
Apr 02, 2020 Apr 02, 2020

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Here is some info on making an audio book. https://krystalwascher.com/blog-audiobooks-for-authors/how-much-does-it-cost-to-create-an-audiobook

There is of course the option of reading it yourself. But most people aren't skilled enough to produce many hours of interesting listening, even if they are the author.

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Man that's so crazy.  I have two book published on amazon right now too.  And I was just about to record them as audio books and re-release them (they're 1 and 2 years old now, respectively) and just downloaded InDesign. 

 

I saw that I could add audio and etc, so I was thinking  I would narrate the book and then add the audio that I master in Audition into InDesign. 

 

I used the Kindle Create app and Word for my first two books, and they just look blah and plain.  So I'm going to totally re-design the layouts and pages for each one, then copy the text into them. 

 

The trick I think would be to keep the narration in pace with the reader.  I was going to add a lo-fi melodic soundscape that didn't loop, but was continuous behind my narration.  Can andyone from Adobe advise me on if that is possible? 

 

 I guess I 'll have to check if InDesign has the option to let me embed my audio book into the file, then let the reader choose to play it through the book or just read the book. 

 

 I had even been wanting to make a VIDEO BOOK.  had this idea for a couple years.  But basically making each page a GIF or small video file with the words coming on screen, and as I read them with the audio.    

 

I could just cut or anchor each page to its own audo clip from the full recording.    Idk.  A lot to think about and create with Adobe.   ANY FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED.  NEVER USED THIS PROGRAM BEFORE

 

I think buying the full creative cloud subscription was the best thing i've ever done.   I'm a Video Director and Author, and I used to make music.  The fact that Adobe literally has all the professional tools for me to use, and they all integrate with eachother!  its just absolutely amazing.    Thanks Adobe.  And if anyone has some insight or see any obvious design flaws with what myself of the OP were thinking about creating, I would love to hear about it!   

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 01, 2020 Apr 01, 2020

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All the audio books I've listened to are recordings. In the Adobe universe, Audition would be the best option for that.

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Community Beginner ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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With all due respect.   Nobody had ever read a digital newspaper... until one day they did.  

 

If the InDesign software allows the audio to be uploaded and added in the EPUB design.  I assure you I will be making each page a damn IG Story, just with words on the screen too.   It's time for the era of VIDEO BOOKS.  I was homeless on the street in Denver about 3 years ago, when I thought that one day I would make a book like this.  And write about those cold nights and the weird people and dangerous things I went through.   And now, I own a video production company, wear a Michael Kors watch, have the full creative cloud subscription, powerful computers, and a brain full of ideas that I'm about to run with.   

 

And OF COURSE I'll use Audition to master my audio BEFORE I ADD IT TO THE BOOK  🙂 

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Guide ,
May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021

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Alas, "Video books" are nothing new. Even before the internet books were regularly converted to VHS format videos with images from the books, voice overs reading the book aloud, text appearing while reading, and crude animations / pans / zooms added to visually spice up the video book.

 

When DVDs and CD-Roms became popular, the 'video book' format was extended to include some level of interactivity. DVDs could include branching from one scene to the next. CD-Roms obviously expanded a lot on this, and the first video-based games were created. And it was quite popular to convert books to the interactive CD-Rom format as well. I still have "Mouse" and an interactive Shakespeare video/read aloud CD-Rom stuffed in a box somewhere up in our attic. 🙂

 

ePub video books are also nothing new or original. Students of mine have created these in my classes: they use after effects to create video sequences, add voice overs, include text in either InDesign and/or in the After Effects rendered videos. I've created FXL video books myselves (but stopped doing so after 1 or 2 projects, see below).

 

And of course, web technology and apps are used to create interactive animated books with voice overs. Just google animated comic books.

 

As for your idea and the practical / technical execution - a hint of reality:

  • only fixed layout epubs (EPUB3) support video.
  • FXL EPUB3 files are only properly supported on the Apple platform. Windows and Linux users do NOT have a standard FXL epub reader installed. They MUST install a third-party reader.
  • On Windows and Linux the only viable FXL epub reader is Thorium. https://www.edrlab.org/software/thorium-reader/
    (Adobe's own reader is an embarresment on many levels and will not properly display or execute InDesign's FXL epub files)
  • Because InDesign uses proprietary non-compliant linking code in the exported FXL epub files, these links do not work in any other reader except the Apple reader. 
  • Manual coding is required to fix page linking issues in the final published FXL epub files. But then they work fine in Thorium.
  • GIF only support 256 colours, and 1bit transparency. It is also very inefficient in terms of compression. Avoid GIF if a video file suffices. 
  • Video files in an epub file cannot be controlled much. They may auto-play, or not. It depends on the reader. Students and myself have encountered various issues regarding autoplaying videos in an FXL epub file. Some students combined multiple videos on the same page, and synching them up is impossible, aside from "click this video to play, then click the next one to play". Even the controls may show or not. Another thing that I found had to be fixed in code after export.
  • It is not possible to introduce actions to move to a different time index in a video. Flash could do this, and it was quite powerful. InDesign and FXL epub files do not support this.
  • In some cases InDesign might export non-compliant epub code. These pages throw and error in Thorium, and have to be manually fixed, or the InDesign page restructured.
  • FXL interactive epub files do not work on Android. Period. 
  • Synchronizing a video with a separate audio file is not possible in InDesign. You will need to combine them in After Effects or Premiere.
  • InDesign's interactive epub features haven't seen an update in a decade since they were first introduced. It shows. In my opinion the rendered code needs a rethink, and is too Apple reader oriented (which was the only option at the time and much touted by Apple).
  • Forget the Amazon Kindle market. These type of interactive FXL epub books do not work on their platform. Nor do they work on Kobos, etc.

 

In short: FXL epub files have proven themselves to be very, very fragile in both production and publishing. Not many users are willing to install a third-party epub reader just to read your video books. Apple users can just view them, but both Windows and Linux users cannot. In practice this means it is too much to ask from the average Windows user to install an extra reader.

 

And why should they? Most content runs off the web nowadays. Convenient, just works in a browser. Browsers support a wide range of interactive features - while the FXL epub 3 standard is still lagging behind and not even an official standard. Even Adobe seems to have left FXL epub 3 behind in favour of their own online publishing platform.

 

Which is why it is a good idea to consider the browser as your target platform or create an app that can be published on the app markets. You have two options:

  1. Use Adobe's publishing platform. Advantage: it just works. Publish your book, and it works. Disadvantages: almost impossible to monetize. Completely dependent on Adobe's servers. It is impossible to export your book to a version that can be hosted on your own servers (and thereby monetize them). 
  2. Get the In5 plugin, and export to the web with additional improved interactive features. And/or export directly to an app that works on Android and iOS devices. 
    You gain full control over your exported work. 
  3. Another option is external software such as PubCoder, which converts InDesign files, and then enables export to the web and as an app. Much less expensive, but the interactivity and video content must be created in PubCoder - so perhaps less convenient depending on the workflow.
  4. Or just completely forego InDesign, and instead build your interactive video book in a game development app such as Godot, Unity, or Unreal. So much more possibilities (In5/pubcoder pale in comparison), and full control over videos. Export to just about any platform, including web, apps, Windows and Mac executables, consoles, and so on. (This is what I do now - I am done with interactive epub files, unless a client forces me to go down that path.)

 

In short: video books are nothing new under the sun. And I would avoid FLX epub files altogether at this point: target the browser or create an app instead. FXL epub files prove to be too fragile. In particular when dealing with slightly more advanced video.

Just my two cents.

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