Digital Comics: Formatting Your Comic for the Nook (ePub)

ePub logo designed by Ralph Burkhardt

8/18/11 IMPORTANT UPDATE: We’ve updated our Nook ePub template so it works better with the black and white Nook Readers. Our new ePub template is resizable. If you’ve already bought Formatting Comics for Kindle and Nook, just delete the old version and then download the latest version! (If you have trouble at any of the sites, shoot us an email with your purchase history or receipt, and we’ll make sure you get the updated ebook.)

Check out our updated process for formatting ePubs


So what’s all the fuss about ePubs these days?

Well, you can read all the details at the ePub entry at Wikipedia, but for digital comics creator, the key fact about ePubs is that it’s the file type that’s used by the Nook from Barnes and Noble.

And sales of IN MAPS & LEGENDS for the Nook tripled for us in December compared to November.

So I’ll again stress to digital comics creators to get on board with the Pub-IT site for the B&N Nook.

What the Heck is an ePub File?

An ePub is basically a fancy ZIP file. Like a ZIP file, an ePub file simply holds all the content of your comic. This content includes the “metadata” (author and artist names, publisher, language, issue description, etc.), the images for every page, and some content pages that use XML code to format all the pages.

When you’re done putting the ePub together, all you need to send is the .epub file, nothing else. All the pages of your comics are embedded in the .epub file. Pretty cool.

The trick is getting those files in there.

Try Our ePub Template

UPDATE: See our new process, here: Digital Comics: Formatting Your Comic for the Nook (ePub), UPDATED

Credit Where Credit is Due

Huge thanks to Alex de Campi for her tutorials and templates she created and shared for her wonderful digital comic VALENTINE. She’s a true trailblazer in digital comics, and Niki and I have learned a lot from her.

Wrapping it up

So… Any questions? Did this work? Please let me know one way or the other by leaving a note in the Comments, below. Feel free to share this page with other comics creators.

As always, if you wanna say thanks, you can  buy an issue of IN MAPS & LEGENDS in a format of your choice. Thanks!

For more information about formatting for the Nook as well as the Kindle, check out our ebook, Formatting Comics for the Kindle and Nook.

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21 thoughts on “Digital Comics: Formatting Your Comic for the Nook (ePub)

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  2. Have you had any problems with the fact that your images are in landscape rather than portrait? We’re new to Nook, but we tried to format a comic for Kindle like that and it was rejected – they demanded portrait.

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    1. Hey Gavin — we got a few nastygrams back from ol’ Amazon about our comic being landscape, and they asked us to change it, but we haven’t done so. We just left it as is, and they haven’t bugged us since.

      Did they not even let you upload yours?

      Maybe if your cover is portrait, that may help…?

      Good luck!

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  3. Amazon went so far as to de-publish our comic. We ended up redoing it in portrait rather than have them pull us again. The cover was in portrait from the get-go, so that wasn’t an issue. It still reads well on the Kindle (and better on the kindle app for the ipod – we had a complaint when it was in landscape), so we’re okay there, but the Nook has an even smaller viewing area that portrait isn’t an option. No nastygrams from Barnes & Noble for you guys?

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    1. Gavin — that’s a pain. The only real issue I could see with a landscape comic is for readers using the Kindle/Nook app on a desktop or laptop. Not sure why Amazon would de-publish you.

      No nastygrams from B&N yet (knock wood!). I wonder if it’s ’cause we hit the dimensions just right, and no complaints…

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  4. InDesign CS5 can export to the epub format but there necessary steps to take.
    1. The final CSS file needs 30pixels of margin on the top, left and right sides and 12 on the bottom. That gives the Nook/C the room.
    2. InDesign exports from left to right, top to bottom so if text frames or graphic frames are opened wider than the content, be sure to eyeball the file first and move elements to their proper position based on left to right, top to bottom.
    3. Finally, to have graphics appear within document flow where they originally do, cut them and paste back into the text field as a characters. That will make exported images stay were they need be.

    Oh, and if you have captions for images, group them with the images and cut-paste them together.

    I know InDesign CS5 isn’t free, but this might help somebody somewhere.

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  5. What about the Ipad? Have you successfully posted a landscape page oriented graphic novel to the Ibookstore?

    I have tried to do so and had it rejected as having graphics that were the wrong size.

    Just wondering.

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    1. We did — our comic is landscape-oriented, and we kept our portrait cover, and then added our landscape comic pages after that in the ePub we sent to the iBookstore. Please note that we had to use a third party called LibreDigital to get our comics into the iBookstore. We’re not selling many there, but it’s good to be in that store as well.

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      1. Wow. Would I like to see that xhtml. Any idea on page dimensions etc?

        I understand that the Ipad auto-rotates, or is that something the user can turn off? Since your pages are landscape, if they tilt the pad, how do you make it not rotate the images to then be the wrong way?

        I am not doing a graphic novel, but some sheet music and am trying to get the largest screen size possible and am trying to do landscape oriented pages that will work on the Ipad but so far….no dice and the submission process is obtuse to put it mildly. I am also using a third party, lulu.com.

        Any tips would be most appreciated!

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  6. WebPoster — did you try to download the .doc file above w/ our template? Download the ComicTemplate.doc file to your hard drive, and then change the “.doc” to “.epub” at the end of the file name. Then change “.epub” to “.zip” and you can check out the code in the various files for the epub.

    Or shoot me an email at mjasper@gmail.com and I’ll email you a sample epub you can take apart.

    Here’s one way to deal with the auto-rotate issue:

    A note about iPad orientation:

    You may need to lock the screen orientation on your iPad to keep the iPad from trying to display IN MAPS & LEGENDS sideways.

    To lock the iPad screen orientation:

    Hold the iPad horizontally.
    Double-click the Home button at the bottom of the iPad to bring up the task switcher.
    Swipe right on the task switcher at the bottom to bring up the iPod and iPad controls.
    Tap the Orientation Lock button (pictured to the right) to lock the orientation to horizontal.
    Press the Home button to exit.

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  7. I’ve been able to convert successfully to the epub format however I’ve repeatedly been rejected with the particular publisher due to table of content inaccuracies and author credits. Focusing on author credits … for example on the cover of my comics i note the inkers. The meta data doesn’t allow for such specific attributes such as letterers, inkers, colorists etc and I can’t responsibly take their names off the materials for the sake of approval. Any suggestions would be appreciated on how to address this … thanks!

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    1. Hi Rich — thanks for reading and leaving a comment. And sorry about the headaches with Pub-It (I’m assuming that’s the distributor you’re talking about, above.).

      What you can do is open up your epub file and edit the content.opf file to add additional contributors with the following line of code:

      Joe Smith

      Add one line of code for the penciler, and one line of the code for the inker.

      As for the Pub-It site itself, when you’re uploading a file, you have the option to click the Add Another Contributor button to add your inker. Just set the inker up as another “Illustrator.” That’s the best the system can do right now.

      Hope this helps! Thanks again.

      Like

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