“Most of my e-book business comes from my print clients,” Raven explains. “I’ll do a print book for somebody and they’ll say at the end, ‘Oh, can you make an e-book too?’”
Those requests are now easier to fulfill, thanks to InDesign’s new features, such as drag-and-drop creation of in-line graphics (essential to reflowing e-books), the ability to preview export details related to Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) creation, and an improved Table of Contents workflow.
The ability to produce both ink-on-paper and digital books from the same page layout file should make offering e-books a no-brainer, but there is little evidence to suggest that the printing industry has seized this opportunity. Raven says that e-books, like her designs, are most likely to be produced by print-on-demand firms rather than traditional offset printers. “The traditional printers—I get their newsletters and things, but I haven’t seen any sign they’re getting on board for e-books,” she observes. “Print-on-demand companies, however, often include e-book creation as part of their printing service.”
Non-print output options for InDesign CS5.5 include more than just e-books. Magazines, newsletters, and brochures can be published to Apple’s iPad using the Folio Producer tools. The Folio Builder panel enables the addition of interactive content (video, audio, slideshows, and 360-degree panoramic images). The Professional and Enterprise editions enable publishing to other tablet platforms as well as the iPad.
As dramatic changes sweep across all forms of communication, the printing industry must master new capabilities in order to thrive. It’s time for printers everywhere to embrace interactivity and learn to communicate across multiple channels, even if that means hiring new people and/or finding new outsourcing partners. CS5.5 makes it possible for prepress technicians to easily master the new skills that print buyers demand. It’s a call to action that will enable the printing industry to retain its vital role in information distribution.