PDA

View Full Version : ebook with layout intensive content



Arpeggio
09-26-2011, 03:55 PM
I have a few questions and wonder what your thoughts are. I want to make a book I have in print into an ebook.

The book has many diagrams and illustrations so the layout is important. Converting to epub (with Calibre) it just stacks everything on top of each other and doesn't work at all. PDF’s keep the layout so that’s an option (LSource ebook manual suggests PDF for layout intensive material) but Adobe Digital editions doesn’t read PDF’s very well (low quality) and normal PDF readers like Adobe reader or Nitro don’t recognise DRM.

Are there any ereaders that can read PDF’s well? or I suppose I could find out how to make the whole PDF into high quality jpeg's then back into one PDF then convert to ePub so it recognises only different pages and stacks them rather than separate parts within each page. Of course that means the font size wont be adjustable, or anything else, it will be fixed like a PDF. As long as that is communited adequately to potential customers it should be fine, in the synopsis I could include something like …

PLEASE NOTE: Because this publication is dependant on page layout fonts can’t be resized.

I don't think ereaders such as the kindle would work because of the small screens, they seem best suited to text with pictures inbetween. A technical method book wouldn't work, it looks fine on larger screens though. Therefore info about that could also be included in the synopsis regarding smaller screens.


My book has audio all downloadable and is public domain (apart for commercial use). That was the only option as it's very hard to self-publish a book that includes an audio CD, while having security codes for the downloadable audio would be impossible too. Downloadable public domain suits fine as their intended commercial use isn't possible without purchase of book anyway.

The big publishers only have small fraction of their music method books in ebook format, I guess because audio tracks with ebook are only possible with a small hand full of i products at the moment.

I’m a bit cagey about giving away the domain name (apart from in the actual book) such as in the synopsis because unlike an info / promotion site its half the actual product and I’m a bit cautious of “internet bogey men” or something like that. Having said that I’m aware a lot of authors do include domains and I realize it could be beneficial in terms of marketing, e.g. the equivalent of “Look inside” wouldn’t just be limited to Amazon.


I guess this thread could have been on the non-fiction section too? some people on there might know about technical books.




regards,

Torgo
09-26-2011, 04:10 PM
Kindle can't do PDFs well, and there aren't any mobile devices I know of that are set up to sell PDF content. EPUB is basically your only choice if you need to distribute to ereaders I think.

You won't be able to do any fancy layouts in EPUB if you're targeting Kindle. For iBooks, you will be able to fix the layout - you can make an EPUB look like a PDF, basically, although it involves a lot of CSS work. You can even embed audio snippets in the pages, which I think would work well for you. The only downside to iBooks is that it's currently a smaller market than Kindle - you probably won't be making nearly as much money than you might if you had a Kindle edition available.

Alessandra Kelley
09-26-2011, 04:16 PM
PDF readers don't recognize DRM? But do you have to have DRM? It is a poor tool.

Torgo
09-26-2011, 05:44 PM
PDF readers don't recognize DRM? But do you have to have DRM? It is a poor tool.

If you want DRM on a PDF, pointless though it is, you basically have to use Adobe's DRM. But then I'm not sure any of the PDF readers I have on my iPad or iPhone support it, and Kindle certainly doesn't.

Medievalist
09-26-2011, 08:29 PM
If you want DRM on a PDF, pointless though it is, you basically have to use Adobe's DRM. But then I'm not sure any of the PDF readers I have on my iPad or iPhone support it, and Kindle certainly doesn't.

Bluefire and the OverlDrive ereader both support Adobe DRM.

You can hand-build an ePub file, as Torgo notes earlier, but it is labor intensive.

Arpeggio
09-26-2011, 09:16 PM
Thanks for the replies, very usefull. eReaders that support PDF DRM seem like the best option so I'll check out Bluefire and OverlDrive.

Yes I see the market will be limited with iBooks compared to ePub. The big publishers that do music method books seem to be limited to this too, like this one (according to what it says in the rectangular box under the cover pic)...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Classical-Guitar-Leonard-Method-ebook/dp/B003JH8WFG/ref=sr_1_26?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1317056326&sr=1-26

Amazon seems to advertise any epublication as "for Kindle" even when not, I guess a kind of "market domination" fantasy, it certainly does their format competitors no favour if customers feel misled. I read somewhere the eBook market is a bit mixed up in it's early days, a bit like Betamax or VHS.

I suppose for ePub I could still do word to pdf to jpeg back into word (1 jpeg of whole page per page) then to pdf, then finally epub and state clearly its for larger screens and not things like the kindle, but looks fine on things like Adobe editions. Unconventional but seems it might the easiest way to make it work in epub, to only recognise seperate pages rather than components within and stack them.


Any authors choose not to have DRM on their publications? how does that work out?

J. Tanner
09-26-2011, 11:34 PM
Any authors choose not to have DRM on their publications? how does that work out?

Typically the same or better. DRM only annoys people who were going to pay anyway. It's worthless against anyone determined to steal your book.

Arpeggio
09-27-2011, 12:06 AM
Typically the same or better. DRM only annoys people who were going to pay anyway. It's worthless against anyone determined to steal your book.

Thanks for your reply. I'll certianly have to give it some thought, I was kind of under the impression that no DRM would be bad for word of mouth sales for obvious reasons.

I'd love to know anyones opinion on the word > pdf > jpeg > word > pdf > ePub idea I mentioned earlier.

I'd upload a couple of jpegs to show the layout if I could but I don't think I can on here.

Arpeggio
09-27-2011, 01:31 AM
OK I just opened up a photobucket account, here's a couple of pages (the edges arent cut off on the actuaq book)...

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j461/Arpeggio2/Contents1.jpg

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j461/Arpeggio2/Page21.jpg


I guess I could have ePub by redoing the layout of the entire book (should be easy) and just have everything stacked on top of each other, it would still function. I'd just have to change a few "On the photo to the right we can see..." to "On the photo below we can see...". The Contents page probably wouldn't work though because the graphic is entirely aesthetic and can't be stacked above or below without losing its entire purpose, might have to lose that graphic but never mind. What's a good program for writing an eBook? can I simply copy and paste text and graphics from my original book and arrange as mentioned?

I'm new to ebook, wasn't expecting it to be so different from what I'm used to but there you go. Need to study it.

I tried the word > pdf > jpeg > word > pdf > ePub idea but because the width is fixed there's white space on the side and the details are slightly small.

Medievalist
09-27-2011, 01:32 AM
Bluntly, to do this book, right you're going to need to learn a little html and css in order to control image placement in epub.

Otherwise, just go with .pdf

Alessandra Kelley
09-27-2011, 05:43 AM
On the plus side, html and css aren't that difficult to learn, and it's really rewarding to be able to use them, even a little.

Torgo
09-27-2011, 01:26 PM
I guess I could have ePub by redoing the layout of the entire book (should be easy) and just have everything stacked on top of each other, it would still function. I'd just have to change a few "On the photo to the right we can see..." to "On the photo below we can see...". The Contents page probably wouldn't work though because the graphic is entirely aesthetic and can't be stacked above or below without losing its entire purpose, might have to lose that graphic but never mind.

I've come up against this trying to make EPUB picture books for the Kindle app and, after a fair amount of butchery of previously nice books, I've decided it's not worth it. I'm just going to wait for the new Kindle tablet (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/amazon-fires-new-kindle.html) and hope they add support for fixed-layout epubs a la iBooks.

The page you shared suggests to me that you'll lose quite a lot of the usefulness of the book by stacking everything. I wouldn't want to have to keep scrolling up and down to compare the fret board and the piano keyboard, for example.

Arpeggio
09-27-2011, 04:41 PM
I've come up against this trying to make EPUB picture books for the Kindle app and, after a fair amount of butchery of previously nice books, I've decided it's not worth it. I'm just going to wait for the new Kindle tablet (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/amazon-fires-new-kindle.html) and hope they add support for fixed-layout epubs a la iBooks.

The page you shared suggests to me that you'll lose quite a lot of the usefulness of the book by stacking everything. I wouldn't want to have to keep scrolling up and down to compare the fret board and the piano keyboard, for example.

I did manage to get a fixed layout in ePub format with the Word > PDF > jpeg etc etc technique I mentioned earlier. Nitro professional can convert single pages of a PDF into jpeg, they have a trial version for 14 days. Of course there will be other programs that can convert PDF to jpeg. All I did for a test was convert 4 pages of the PDF into seperate jpegs, then put them into an empty word document with 0 margins all over, expanded the jpegs to fit the whole page so it looked exactly the same as the original, then converted that back into PDF then into ePub.

On Calibres eReader it looked just like a PDF, could be scaled to fit screen and I was able to turn from page to page (rather than scroll gradually). I'm sure it would be the same on kindle for PC, Digital Editions and other eReaders. Here’s a couple of links to the pages I posted earlier made into fixed layout ePub and viewed though Digital Editions…

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j461/Arpeggio2/fixedlayoutePubtest.jpg

http://i1087.photobucket.com/albums/j461/Arpeggio2/fixedlayoutePubtest2.jpg

I’d have to increase the font size and some of the details (on the original documents before conversion). Is it possible to zoom on ePubs? I’m not saying the content will be too small but just so it’s there if anyone wants to. One reason I didn't go for that was because I thought people purchasing ePub might expect adjustable layout, then again I suppose it's only the font size? Either way even if normal ePub my book wouldn't work on smaller screens because I'd be pretty sure you can't adjust the size of notes or the 5 line stave on that.

With pictures I guess you wouldn’t have that issue? Is some of the layout side by side?

So long as customers would be happy with fixed layout and not for smaller screens ePubDRM might be the only logical way for me. I’m not sure of the market on that, inevitably smaller to an extent which is understandable, I wonder if anyone might have any idea? I’m aware the kindle has a bigger version. Guess there’s only one way to find out, and with the option of smaller screens out of the window due to musical pieces it’s not as if I will end up regretting I didn’t do it a different way.

Arpeggio
09-27-2011, 05:04 PM
Bluntly, to do this book, right you're going to need to learn a little html and css in order to control image placement in epub.

Otherwise, just go with .pdf

If I wanted DRM then PDF would be limited to readers that read PDF's to a high standard (PDF's look poor in Digital Editions). I was considering PDFDRM with a note in the synopsis what readers are best suited, such as the ones you mentioned earlier like Bluefire.

If ePub is compatible on more readers then I suppose I could do my long winded jpeg conversion thing and get basically the same product with a bigger market. Unconventional but I don't see any technical problems with that at the moment.