Work Flow Questions

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Sorry for the long-winded question, but any comments would be helpful. If anyone can point me to another discussion or article that answers my questions, that would be a big help, too.

Anyway, I started out working with InDesign, but I found the learning curve pretty steep, plus I'm still amazed that you can't work directly with HTML. So I switched to Sigil, which I love, except that you can't put subfolders in the Images folder, which is why I'm going to check out Calibre. I also need to learn how to work with iBooks Author, as I hope to create versions for both Amazon and iBooks.

I also want to learn how to make fixed layouts; I've only made reflowable epubs so far.

So here's my question: What would be a good work flow if I want to create four versions of an epub, as follows:

1. Amazon Kindle (reflowable)
2. Amazon Kindle (fixed)
3. iBooks (reflowable)
4. iBooks (fixed)

Is it easier to create a reflowable epub, then convert it to a fixed layout, or vice versa?

Is it easier to create a Kindle version, then convert it to an iBooks format, or vice versa?

I think I read somewhere that you can import an epub into iBooks, then convert it to Apple's format. I haven't yet learned if you can do the opposite - import an epub made with iBooks into InDesign, Sigil, etc.

I have another question regarding fixed layouts. InDesign effectively bars you from the HTML. It also creates a lot of code bloat. I'm not sure if the same is true of iBooks Author or not. If iBooks gives you access to the HTML, then I'd be tempted to create a fixed layout in iBooks first, then somehow convert it to an Amazon Kindle version.

Another possibility I've considered is designing my layout in Dreamweaver, previewing it as a web page, then importing my HTML into Sigil or Calibre. Have any of you ever done this?

Thanks for any tips!

I think, the apple software has the capability to display the standard EPUB, no need to care about a proprietary appled solution ;-)

Amazon is a problem, because their devices are only intended to prevent their customers to get access books in the standard format from other shops.
They have KindleGen to convert the standard EPUB to their proprietary stuff, well it has bugs and gaps, but they have a guideline as well, how to create the EPUB to get something out, that is presentable on their poor devices.

Therefore, as the major steps you have to create a good EPUB to cover your needs.

Fixed Layout is only meaningful for specific books with a lot of graphical content, for example comics - you can for example use SVG for content documents with width and height of 100% and a viewBox to scale it automatically to the available viewport.
For documents with a lot of text fixed layout is problematic concering readability and accessibility, therefore no good idea.

In general it is quite simple to write the XHTML content with a text editor, for SVG it depends on your content. CSS as well with a text editor, not really a problem as well for the EPUB specific OPF and NCX files.
You basically need additionally a ZIP tool to generate the EPUB, if you have created all these files as you like, no need to specific programs with their own restrictions and bugs.

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