concept to publication

Month: August 2011

Controlling content order in epubs

Lately I’ve been exploring the new epub functionality in InDesign CS5.5. One of the things that has previously been difficult is controlling the order of objects in the epub document. If you just exported epub by default you would probably get the story first and then all the images afterward. The new ID makes correcting this much simpler, as explained in this video.

Fun with verbs

How does a hurricane move? It “barrels” and “churns,” to judge from the most popular verbs. “Lumbers” is the oddest verb choice, yet it is used rather often, I guess to convey a large scale (hearing it on the radio this morning led me to this investigation). But can a hurricane really “march”? I guess that’s to show inexorability. Can it “aim”? Here’s just a small sample of today’s journalistic prose at work.

  • “Hurricane Irene … makes its way toward the US mainland.” –ABC News
  • “Hurricane Irene [is] churning toward the New York/New Jersey area.” — ESPN
  • “Hurricane Irene churned on a northwest track.” –Scientific American
  • “Irene churns toward North Carolina.” — Bloomberg
  • “Hurricane Irene … advances toward the East Coast.” —
  • “Hurricane Irene may be hurtling menacingly toward the coast.” — Wall Street Journal
  • “Hurricane Irene … barrels toward the East Coast.” — Technolog
  • Hurricane Irene barreled toward the region. — Boston Globe
  • Hurricane Irene made its way toward the region.” — Boston Globe
  • Irene continues to steam through the ocean.” —
  • “Hurricane Irene … roars toward the U.S. East Coast.” Los Angeles Times
  • “Irene lumbered into the Bahamas.” —
  • “Hurricane Irene … bore down on the Bahamas.” — PBS
  • “Irene … spins toward the Bahamas.” –WSBTV
  • “Hurricane Irene slammed the Bahamas [and] heads toward the East Coast. — Washington Post
  • “Irene takes aim at Long Island.” NY Daily News
  • Hurricane Irene aims its fury toward the North.” —
  • “Hurricane storms toward Philly region.” —
  • “Hurricane Irene moves toward the Carolinas.” — Charlotte News
  • “Irene continued its march across the Caribbean toward the U.S.” — Fox News
  • “Hurricane Irene marched north.” — Wall Street Journal

Happy birthday, Jorge Luis Borges

Feliz cien duodécimo, estimado señor autor!

jorge luis borges on imaginary books

1616 landing page

1616 landing page

I made a simple landing page for 1616. (It’s just a big image map — a picture with clickable areas –that’s about 200 KB.) If it doesn’t load and look okay for you let me know.

There’s room to expand to the right. If I get another blurb or two I’ll shift the brief descriptive copy right. That copy is adapted from the publisher’s catalogue. Even though I live in Richmond, home of Rosie the Riveter, I would not normally refer to my own writing as “riveting.” But I am trying to be a good compliant author.

UPDATE 1: The blurb text was too small so I moved the descriptive copy right. Compare the finished page to the thumbnail above by clicking though on it.

UPDATE 2: I added a simple slide show of sample spreads.

Links for Friday, August 12

“Every separation is a link” — Simone Weil

On e-books and print books

It seems clear at this point that, particularly in genres like romance and science fiction, e-books are cutting into print sales.

Right now we’re in a transitional period where books are simultaneously published in both formats. But, as Eoin Purcell has observed, drawing even a small percentage away from the average book’s print run makes the economics of its publication very difficult.

One solution, which I don’t think Purcell considers, is to price up not the print book but the e-book, to compensate for the skewed economics on the print side. So far, despite some grumbling, there hasn’t been very much sign of price resistance to e-books. Once you own a reader you have a natural motivation for filling it with content (or else your purchase of the reader feels foolish). Of course, if one group of publishers’ prices get out of line with others they will have a problem. Just another area where big corporations have a clear advantage.

In the long run, more books will probably fall into one side or the other — many books will be published in e-format only (not much need for a physical copy of that disposable romance novel). Then there are books like the kind I currently do, art museum catalogues. So far I’m not aware of a satisfactory e-format for such books. This also pertains to my own forthcoming title, 1616, which has a large illustration and layout component. If anyone can tell me how to make this into a good e-book, I’d really like to hear. Really.

Human flowers

human flowers

More like this at Web Designer Depot.

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