Adobe’s professional layout tool, InDesign, has a steep learning curve but is perhaps the best app in existence for creating great looking print books as well as both reflowable and fixed-layout epubs. It doesn’t do Kindle mobi and KF8 formats, but you can send the epub to Amazon and probably get better results than sending them a Word document.
The fixed-layout epub format, if used on tablets, will have the same page breaks and look almost identical to the print version. That makes it great for textbooks and any other book where there is a need to make page references. Most important of all, your content is in one document in one app not several documents in several apps. Edit there, and all the copies, print and digital, change. That prevents a lot of headaches.
Adobe just released the latest update (12/01/2015). For many, the most useful new features are the enhancements to the already nifty Publish Online feature. Before, users could upload and offer for view a document that looked similar to print version, but it wasn’t precisely the same and could only display one page at a time.
Users can now choose the option of displaying pages side-by-side and in a format that to my eyes looks identical to the print version. It has a host of attractive features, including thumbnails across the bottom and a Contents page that will jump you to the actual page in the book. You can also choose (or not) to include a downloadable PDF version of the book.
To see what it looks like, you can view my most recent book here:
Play with the icon-based options at the bottom and you’ll see that it is an excellent way to post all or part of your book online. You can even embed those pages into your own website with the </> option.
Publish Online has quite a few benefits. If you want, you can publish books that way and let Adobe handle your hosting. You can also use it to release samples of your book to attract readers. Also, if you’ve got beta readers who review your as yet unpublished book and offer advice, this is a good way to provide them with a copy.
Whatever use you make of it, Publish Online could hardly be easier. Simply select Publish Online from InDesign’s File menu and choose your options. It’ll upload automatically and then give you a link you can distribute to whoever you like.
In my case, this is the third in what will soon be four books in my “Hospital Series,” one audience of which are nursing school students. Unlike most nursing textbooks, they’ll be inexpensive—$2.99 in the case of the digital versions. Being able to post those books online means I can contact nursing school professors and offer them identical-to-prnt samples without spending a penny on printing or postage. That’ll save me a lot of money and help recoup the cost of my Creative Cloud membership.
Let us know if you can think of other uses for this easy-as-pie way to publish online. One might be to use it to release a free online guide to your published books for readers who want to know more. You are only limited by your imagination.