I’ve been using Smashwords solely to publish my ebooks and then have them do the distribution to other retailers. They claim all the ebooks they accept into their premium catalog must conform to Adobe Digital Edition’s eReader app. Well, I build my ebooks from scratch using xhtml code. I used to use Adobe’s InDesign for book layout. Well, it tends to generate lots of unnecessary code. Ebooks don’t need much code for them to come out right and display well on many readers.
Well, I already figured out to get the cover images to display properly in Digital Editions using a little extra code, which is completely unnecessary for apps like iBooks or Calibre. Now Smashwords tells me the thumbnails are getting cut off at the bottom. Again, it’s another problem with Digital Editions. Both iBooks and Calibre display the thumbnails properly.
I have looked up on Adobe’s site how to fix the problem with the images. No such luck. I don’t think Adobe knows how to do it right and be compliant with online retailers. Does Adobe even communicate with the ebook retailers to even know what size they prefer for cover images? Probably not. They’ve convinced me they are always a step behind with electronic publishing.
I currently use Calibre to build my ebooks and they come out fine. I always test the final epub file using the online validator and there are no problems. (If there are, I do go and fix them.) To make things worse, I couldn’t contact Adobe directly to even inform them there is a problem with how images display in their software.
I used to use more Adobe software until I kept having problems with the logic board in my MacBook Pro. (Which thankfully Apple replaced without any hassles…) But then I couldn’t do anything with Adobe’s software. I wasn’t allowed to use it anymore. New logic board (or motherboard for you pc users) means you have a new computer.
So I switched to freeware. And what did I discover? Software like Calibre, which I can use to build ebooks easier and faster. Plus the resulting ebook is a smaller file size than what InDesign could generate. Another plus was that the freeware tends to use fewer computer resources. That’s not to mention that the battery tends to last longer as well.
After using freeware, I also learned that Adobe’s software is crappy and overpriced. I could easily replace printed book layout from InDesign to LaTeX, which works much better. So I had to take a month to learn a new markup language, but that really wasn’t such a big deal. I also was able to replace both Photoshop and Illustrator with Gimp. Why would I want to pay for software that isn’t that great when there are free options out there that also work better?
I just wish the ebook retailers realized that Adobe doesn’t know much about ebooks on the code level or how to design a decent ebook reader. Perhaps Adobe will fix their eReader, but I’m not holding my breathe for it to happen.