Thursday, August 21, 2014

How to create dual-orientation fixed layout EPUB from InDesign

The 2014 release of InDesign CC creates really nice fixed layout EPUBs that will work on iOS and Android devices. However, when you view your fixed layout EPUB on an iPad with iBooks, our content will appear in only a single orientation, either portrait only or landscape only, depending on the orientation of your InDesign layout and what you choose for the “Spread Control” option in the EPUB - Fixed Layout Export Options dialog box. 

If you want your readers to be able to view your content in either portrait or landscape view, do the following:

1. Export your fixed layout EPUB from InDesign

2. Use eCanCrusher to expand the exported .epub file into a folder

3. Open the folder created by eCanCrusher, and locate the file named “content.opf” in the “OEPS” folder

4. Open this file with a text editor. Edge Code (part of your Creative Cloud subscription) is a good tool for opening and editing this type of file

5. Find the line <meta property="rendition:orientation”>landscape</meta> or <meta property="rendition:orientation”>portrait</meta> near the beginning of the file

6. Change landscape or portrait in this line to “auto”, so that the line appears as <meta property="rendition:orientation”>auto</meta>

7. Save and close the content.opf file

8. Use eCanCrusher to compress the folder back into an .epub file


Inkling said...

What will FL-EPUB done in portrait look like in landscape? It'd be great if it'd become two facing pages.

It'd also be wonderful if someone created a drag-and-drop script that's do this automatically. Poking inside epub files makes some of us nervous.

You could even advertise your app or services while it does the conversion.

Keith Gilbert said...

@Inkling: In iBooks running on an iPad, a portrait orientation InDesign file set up as facing pages can be viewed single-page-at-a-time when the iPad is held in portrait orientation, and two-page-at-a-time (spreads) when the iPad is held in landscape orientation. But this only works if you change the text string as described in the post.

Inkling said...

Many thanks. I've submitted a feature request to Adobe to make this a checkbox in EPUB-FL export. You can do the same here:

I queried and got answers from Apple a few months back about what EPUB-FL means for the iBookstore.

1. At present, Apple can't treat reflowable and fixed layout versions of a book as the same book. At best, you can give them the same title but different ISBNs and make them part of the same series. Books in a series will appear on a book's web page so, hopefully, potential buyers will see the two versions.

2. Each version must be a separate upload from an author/publisher, with regions and prices set separately. Be sure to make each upload part of the same series. Setting a series later means going through Apple staff.

3. Buying one version does not give readers access to the other. They need to buy both to get the benefits of both. That matters because most EUB-FL books will display but be unreadable on a tiny iPhone screen. That's perhaps the biggest downside to publishing a FL book right now.

These handicaps are so frustrating, that I suspect Apple will correct them in the near future.

--Michael W. Perry, Inkling Books

Peter Nicholas Liptak said...

I've changed the files as described in two different epubs and it worked beautifully, until I noticed that about half the images on the pages went missing. They show up as empty boxes or boxes with question marks. Any idea how i can fix this? (the original fixed layout epubs showed all the images correctly).