Mobileread
ePub format looks right on Calibre/Play Books but not in other ebook reader
#1  unkauth 10-24-2019, 11:07 AM
Hey all, I've converted some InDesign books to epub, and the format looks right in Calibre and Play Books, but not in any other ebook readers.

This is what happens to the format:
image »
image »

I've attached the ebooks below

Please help me fix this
[epub] Money Alchemy 2019.epub (6.34 MB, 22 views)
[epub] Money Well 2019.epub (6.24 MB, 19 views)
Reply 

#2  unkauth 10-24-2019, 11:14 AM
Here's another of the eBooks
[epub] Relationship Alchemy 2019.epub (3.31 MB, 18 views)
Reply 

#3  jhowell 10-24-2019, 11:25 AM
You have produced a fixed layout EPUB. That has multiple problems. It won't work with all reading apps and it won't reflow, removing one of the the main advantages of e-books over print books.

If you absolutely need fixed layout use PDF instead. But you will be far better off formatting it to allow reflow. That way readers will be able to read comfortably on various screen sizes and choose a font size that works for them.
Reply 

#4  unkauth 10-24-2019, 11:40 AM
Quote jhowell
You have produced a fixed layout EPUB. That has multiple problems. It won't work with all reading apps and it won't reflow, removing one of the the main advantages of e-books over print books.

If you absolutely need fixed layout use PDF instead. But you will be far better off formatting it to allow reflow. That way readers will be able to read comfortably on various screen sizes and choose a font size that works for them.
I exported a reflowable format, but it just didn't look as nice as having it fixed.

Is there no way for an epub to have the fixed layout format whilst having the reflowable capabilities of changing to suit the reader?
The same way pdfs do?
Sorry if that's a dumb question.

Also, you mentioned the multiple problems. Could you please help me mend those? Or maybe help me at least get this formatted to work properly in iBooks.
Reply 

#5  jhowell 10-24-2019, 01:17 PM
Quote unkauth
I exported a reflowable format, but it just didn't look as nice as having it fixed.
There is a tradeoff between having it look pretty or providing a good reading experience.

Quote unkauth
Is there no way for an epub to have the fixed layout format whilst having the reflowable capabilities of changing to suit the reader?
The two are fundamentally incompatible. Fixed layout has each word placed at a specific spot on a specific page. That requires a fixed font and font size to work.

Quote unkauth
The same way pdfs do?
I have heard of reflowable PDFs, but I have never seen one myself.

Quote unkauth
Also, you mentioned the multiple problems. Could you please help me mend those? Or maybe help me at least get this formatted to work properly in iBooks.
That is not my area of expertise. There are professional e-book formatters who can help.
Reply 

#6  jhowell 10-24-2019, 01:47 PM
Quote jhowell
If you absolutely need fixed layout use PDF instead. But you will be far better off formatting it to allow reflow.
Rereading what I wrote I see that I was a bit unclear. I am recommending using reflowable EPUB as the best choice. Using fixed layout is a less desirable alternative.

And if you go with fixed layout, PDF works more consistently across reading platforms than using fixed-layout EPUB.
Reply 

#7  Tex2002ans 10-24-2019, 02:55 PM
jhowell hit the nail on the head. This is Fixed Format (FXL) EPUBs.

These things are a readability/compatibility nightmare, and should only be used in extremely rare cases (Children's Books/Comics).

In the case of normal books full of text, they should be completely avoided.

FXL has been discussed extensively on MobileRead in other topics, and Hitch over at BookNook.biz has written a few blog posts about the advantages/disadvantages:

http://www.booknook.biz/ebook-conversion-basics/about-kids-books-as-ebooks
http://www.booknook.biz/our-ebook-products/fixed-format-ebooks

Long story short:

Quote jhowell
There is a tradeoff between having it look pretty or providing a good reading experience.


Quote jhowell
The two are fundamentally incompatible. Fixed layout has each word placed at a specific spot on a specific page. That requires a fixed font and font size to work.
Exactly.

Quote unkauth
I exported a reflowable format, but it just didn't look as nice as having it fixed.

[...]

Also, you mentioned the multiple problems. Could you please help me mend those? Or maybe help me at least get this formatted to work properly in iBooks.
... have you actually tried reading Fixed Format on a cellphone? (Or even a large PDF?)

Trying to read a 6"x9" PDF and shrinking it down to a small screen, you have to pan-and-scan + pinch-zoom around. It's extremely annoying. Imagine this, but even worse, with FXL EPUBs.

InDesign -> EPUBs is also no trivial matter. No matter how much Adobe tries to make it seem like InDesign is "a one-button push", it's not.

In order to create a proper ebook, that works across readers, you have to be able to understand the code and clean it up.

Quote jhowell
I have heard of reflowable PDFs, but I have never seen one myself.
Tagged PDFs are becoming a lot more common, especially with more Accessibility regulations going around.

Now, how well actual PDF readers support the reflowable side... (I don't use Adobe Reader, so I have no idea.)
Reply 

#8  FrustratedReader 10-24-2019, 03:56 PM
What everyone says. Real ebooks that work on any size screen reader, app or dedicated hardware MUST be reflowable. Otherwise it's not an ebook.

Fixed layout is for paper. PDF is really a way to preview paper print on a screen.

If you don't have any eink based ereaders, then install both kindle/mobi apps and epub apps on a phone. No larger than 6".

I test by using two kinds of kindle, two kinds of Kobo, a 5" Sony PRS350 for ePub, a Nook Simple Touch, Calibre ebook viewer set to similar to a 6" reader on 1920 x 1080 screen, a 7" LCD tablet with ereader app and 6" phone apps (much smaller screen than 6" eink as it's widescreen or more).

Forget fixed ePub. Use ordinary FIXED PDF if you really really need a fixed layout. You then MUST decide on a physical page size. Likely any device less than a 8" or 10" screen is then useless. There is a good reason why Sony's Electronic Paper PDF only gadget is 13.8" if you can afford it. They have a smaller one, but it's not so useful!


Absolutely FORGET fixed layout unless you are doing stuff for 8" tablets or larger (ideally 10") or paper. Absolutely forget fixed layout for other than coffee table books, graphic novels, comics, Manga, printed books such as courseware etc.
Reply 

#9  Tex2002ans 10-24-2019, 05:02 PM
Quote FrustratedReader
Use ordinary FIXED PDF if you really really need a fixed layout. You then MUST decide on a physical page size. Likely any device less than a 8" or 10" screen is then useless.
PDFs on larger phones might be "okay" once margins are cropped. For example, the textbox of a 6"x9" Fiction book¬ówith cropped margins¬ówould fit without the need to do pinch-zooming. But the issue then becomes readable font-size.

Overall, PDFs on phone still suck atrociously.

Quote FrustratedReader
What everyone says. Real ebooks that work on any size screen reader, app or dedicated hardware MUST be reflowable. Otherwise it's not an ebook.

Fixed layout is for paper.
I agree.

I don't consider FXL EPUBs "real ebooks", they nullify every advantage of EPUBs, and do fixed-format even worse than PDF.

Just as "Reflowable PDFs" do reflowable even worse than EPUBs.

Use each format for what they're best at, and it's best not to cross the streams!

Side Note: If you want even more information on why Fixed-Format EPUBs are awful, watch the talk "Building Ebooks that Last" from ebookcraft 2019.

It was given by an editor at Houghton Mifflin, and included many stats on why books get returned.

Hint: Fixed Format ecosystem is pure hell... so along with being a pain, expensive to produce, etc... it's also the most complained about+returned format there is (one stat she gave at 16:00 is "Fixed Layout = 50% of errors, <2% of sales").

Quote FrustratedReader
If you don't have any eink based ereaders, then install both kindle/mobi apps and epub apps on a phone. [...]
Yep, always best to test on actual physical devices. If not, then at least use a standards-compliant reader like Adobe Digital Editions on PC/Mac.

Not many handle Fixed Format at all though. And like I mentioned, each ecosystem is going to have their own insane quirks (InDesign "FXL EPUB" exports code that works for iBooks only).
Reply 

#10  unkauth 10-25-2019, 03:57 AM
Thank you all for your advice/expertise.
These are for my boss, who prefers things be very set and orderly as they are on fixed layout ebooks. I'll try explaining the benefits and such as well as you all have

I will export reflowable versions then
and PDFs if she really wants the fixed look
Reply 

  Next »  Last »  (1/2)
Today's Posts | Search this Thread | Login | Register