Creating My 1st iBook for the iPad with Adobe InDesign CS5

These are exciting times in the publishing industry! The tools have never been better to get your word out. With the introduction of Adobe Creative Suite 5 and in particular InDesign CS5, my head is spinning thinking about all the possibilities. I can use one industry standard app to publish for Print, for the Web with NEW Interactive features and now more easily than ever to standard eBook Reader formats such as ePUB. There’s also a lot of excitement around the Apple iPad. The beauty here is that I can use my new found publishing power and Apple’s popular device to get my content in front of more eyeballs than ever.


The Project

As you may know I co-authored one of the best selling books for the iPhone, “The iPhone Book”. I’ve been very happy with the success of that book and of course as soon as the iPad was introduced, many eyes turned towards me to question if I was going to write a book for this new device. While the project seemed interesting (and still is), I wanted to try something a little different this time around. I wanted the iPad Book to be an iBook on the actual iPad. All of my books are already being laid out in Adobe InDesign. So there’s nothing new there, except there is something new there in terms of capabilities. The enhanced capabilities around the ePUB format and Interactive Document publishing beyond PDF. So I wanted to do two things: I wanted to get a sample out there of what an iPad book on the iPad and I wanted to experience first hand what it was like to create one from scratch using InDesign CS5. So I enlisted the help of my colleague at Adobe, Colin Fleming (eBOOK guru) and Colin gave me the inside scope and even some sample demo documents that he had put together. This was a great jump start and helped me avoid some stumbling blocks. Yesterday, I started my sample “25 iPad Tips” and today I have a FREE iBook that you can download right here.


The Making of my 1st iBook (ePUB)

The iBooks App on the iPad reads standard ePUB documents and Adobe InDesign CS5 just so happens to export them out directly. Great! There are some limitations that you have to be mindful in your document itself. These are limitations on the standard more so than of InDesign. For example, InDesign is an amazingly powerful page layout application that pretty much allows you do do anything you want on the page. However, ePUB has limitations on how the content has to flow to make it possible to have this single document on a multitude of different devices. I recorded this video to walk you through some of those things to look out for:



Downloading and Installing my FREE “25 iPad Tips” Book

The first step is to download my ePUB file here. Once you download the ZIP file, unzip it and you’ll have a short readme.txt file and the actual “25 iPad Tips.epub” document. Open iTunes 9.1 and higher and simply drag the ePUB into the Library area of iTunes on the left side. It should now appear in the Books Area of iTunes and once you plug in your iPad via the USB cable, you can select it as a book to sync in the Books Tab in iTunes. Enjoy!

Don’t have an iPad yet, but still want to check out this book?

You can actually still download it above and use the FREE Adobe Digital Editions Reader to read it on your Mac or PC. Download Digital Editions here.


More info

You can learn more about the ePUB format here and here, also checkout this white paper. You can learn more about Adobe InDesign CS5 here.

Also check out Tom Petrillo’s recording on 4 different output methods from InDesign here.


The Bottom Line

You’ve never had the tools you have today to get yourself published as easily as you can now! As far as I can see Adobe InDesign is not only the leading Page Layout app for print, but now it’s the leading (and pretty much only) option to go straight to ePUB from the SAME layouts you used for print.


UPDATE: Download my template

Many of you have asked for it and therefore I’ve done it. You can download my InDesign template file here. This is exact InDesign CS5 document that I used for my iBook sans the images and majority of the text. You can use it to see how I constructed the document and how the frames are placed and linked. Enjoy!


UPDATE 2: InDesign CS5 to iBookstore Whitepaper

Here is a link to a whitepaper outlining the steps to get your ePUB on the iBookstore.

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