Oookay. I decided to start working on the Rita PDF today. And very quickly the scope of the problem crept to “hey maybe I should put it out as .mobi and ibooks as well”.
And… no. Just no. Trying to wrap a bunch of landscape-format images in either of these formats is a royal pain in the ass. Amazon’s .mobi plugin for Indesign gives me a file that displays as four tiny thumbnails that won’t zoom in. iBooks Author is… oh god this thing is a fucking nightmare there is no way to say “please give me 40 blank pages”, I have to fucking select the “insert->pages->pages->blank” menu item BY HAND, REPEATEDLY, because there are no keyboard shortcuts for it. There’s an “insert chapter from Pages or Word document” menu item, which sounds like a good idea… until I discover that there seems to be NO WAY to make TextEdit save a new document as a Word document in Mountain Lion, and iBooks Author won’t import fucking RTFs. WHYYYYY APPLE WHYYYYY. There is no fucking way I am going to drop in sixty pages by hand, especially not when they all come in at like a quarter of the screen and have to be resized individually. *headdesk*
And Indesign’s epub output, which supposedly can go into iBooks, just generates a one-page file.
So yeah I don’t think I’m going to be making my comics available on Amazon or iBookstore any time soon. Not unless someone pops up who has done this before and is willing to do the conversion for me. Graphicly‘s cost of $150 to turn a PDF into these formats and a few others suddenly seems a lot less steep now that I’ve actually poked at this stuff; it is a royal pain.
And also oh god why is iBooks shifting color like crazy when I dump a PDF onto my iPad. It looks perfect on my computer. Aaagh. The Kindle reader seems to handle it okay at least. But aggh.
Oho, if I tell Indesign to convert the colors to the Apple RGB space during the PDF export, iBooks then displays the right hues. Good. Okay now I just need to generate new images for the pages with gloss, scale everything down to like 150dpi instead of the ~400dpi I sent to the printer, and I’m in business.
(Other little tweaks to do for the PDF release: scale up the ask blog excerpts because they’re illegible on the iPad, add a final page that tells people they can share it all they like in a non-commercial fashion and has a little pitch for the printed books with the cool gloss.)