Hurrah! I’ve finally managed to create an iBook with InDesign 5, that looks and works OK on an iPad. It still needs some tweaking, but I’m pretty pleased with it. As it’s in the ePub format it should work on any e-book reader – please let me know if it does …or not!

In addition to Terry White’s tutorial (embedded in my last post), I also followed ‘InDesign CS5 eBook Publishing Made Easy‘, by Tony Harmer for Computer Arts magazine and used tips from both.  I recommend you doing the same (as the following probably won’t make much sense otherwise) – but here’s what I think is most important…

  • if your final ePub is likely to be more than 300kb consider breaking it down into chapters, with each being a separate InDesign document. I didn’t do this and, as I’m missing one entry in my table of contents, wonder if this is the reason why… It’s easy to add separate documents to a book later.
  • Create a separate InDesign document for the cover, making sure you select ‘Master Text Frame’ when you set it up. It should just consist of one image. You can add it to your iBook when you upload it to iTunes.
  • You could also create a separate document for the ‘Table of Contents’ (mine didn’t have Master Text Frame selected and works OK) You will need to select Layout > Table of Content Styles to use the ‘heading’ style you created in your maincontent document to generate this
  • I used ‘Facing Pages’ when I set up my maincontent document. To create pages automatically go to InDesign >Preferences > Type and make sure ‘Smart Text Flow’ is checked
  • When creating your ‘heading’ style, make sure you select ‘Start Paragraph In Next Frame’
  • Create styles for positioning everything, even images. The ‘Space Before’ and ‘Space After’ Paragraph Options (Space and Indents tab) are invaluable!
  • With images, place them as normal, then cut, position your text cursor where you want them to sit, and paste back in so they flow with the text. Then add the image positioning style…
  • Use tinyURL or similar to shorten urls – if they’re too long you’ll get an unexplained error when you try and export to ePub from InDesign

I wanted to add a link to eGo, the iBook, here but unfortunately WordPress won’t upload it – in fact it gave me the following message. So will have to think of another way – doh!