XP Publisher Design Profiles. One HTML, Multiple Book Formats

This article introduces the concept of Design Profiles to allow the easy production of multiple print and e-book editions from a single master XHTML5 source.

Design Profiles

Publishers have long had the challenge of producing multiple print and e-book editions for each book published. This is usually done on DTP applications like InDesign using multiple copies of the first file created. Low return editions such as a Large Print edition are either produced quickly with lower production standards, or not at all.

The multiple print edition plus e-books challenge is more easily addressed by digital content production systems that have been designed to directly address the workflow requirements while delivering productivity, agility, quality and lower costs.

One significant feature Axis12 has focused on in Cross Platform Publisher, perhaps more than any other feature, is what we call Design Profiles. That is because it really delivers significant productivity with unprecedented flexibility

Design Profiles is where you have one master managed HTML file and can create and generate multiple print and e-book formats from a single XHTML file instantly or at any time. Any book in Cross Platform Publisher can be quickly switched between multiple profiles.

The Problem

Multiple Print Editions

Publishers have traditionally produced a print edition set of books along the lines of the following:

  1. Hardcover First release a Hardcover, possibly with a large print edition at the same time (for Print on Demand ordering).
  2. Trade Paperback Then after some time a trade paperback edition,
  3. Mass Market The print life of a book may even go to a Mass Market format as the book ages,
  4. Other Editions Or it could be turned into a part of an omnibus edition, collectors pack or other marketing package.

In the past this was done with multiple DTP files. That makes managing the files a significant challenge and means the addition of expensive "Asset Management systems" to the technology mix; or managed in folders; or files are all over the place. A further complication is the file you created three years ago wont open in todays DTP application version.

Generally each of these editions comes out at a different time, months or years apart. This means promotional pages and previews of other books needs to be changed on each edition.

To address the multiple print editions challenge Cross Platform Publisher supports Design Profile "Exclusive Includes", which can be sections, pages and blocks. This is explained later.


At the same time as all the print production effort is going on, the ePub2 or ePub3 and Kindle formats are also required. E-books are now generally delivered at the same time or ahead of the print edition.

Currently e-books don't follow the edition-down strategy followed by print books but may in the future. There is certainly a requirement to produce a preview editions.

Axis12 has produced books as both reflowable and fixed layout editions where the content has been appropriate. If the HTML tagging is correct and complete as delivered with Cross Platform PublishingXHTML (FX) this is easy to do with Design Profiles.

Axis12 has also produced multiple interactive+audio fixed layout ePubs editions for Apple fixed-layout, Ingram Vital Source and Kindle fixed layout requirements using different Design Profiles to handle the very different reading system capabilities.

Default Design Profiles

Cross Platform Publisher has a set of default Design Profiles that make it relatively easy to switch between editions. Our default print book Design Profiles are:

  1. Hard Cover
  2. Trade Paperback
  3. Mass Market Large
  4. International Mass Market Large
  5. Large Print

For e-books there is currently no formal classification so we have simple numbered Design Profiles:

  1. eBook 1
  2. eBook 2
  3. eBook 3
  4. eBook 4
  5. eBook 5
  6. In addition custom Design Profiles can be defined and created for any special format requirement. For example the same XHTML can be the source for student and print editions of text books.

    What is a Design Profile?

    A Design Profile changes the complete sets of CSS for print, reader (digital book) and the editing interface that is applied to the HTML content for format generation with the Cross Platform Publisher production environment. Each profile supports CSS for both a print and an e-book edition.

    The single XHTML5 can have the Design Profile changed at any time. Each Design Profile has its own set of CSS and other template components. These can all be independently visually edited. Design Profiles can also be copied if typographic and other presentation changes are minimal. Each Design Profile supports print and e-book outputs.

    Therefore each Design Profile edition can have different page sizes, typographical designs and other content using open and accessible CSS rules.

    In the illustration Writer CSS means the CSS the editor sees while editing content, Reader CSS means the CSS that will be used in e-books and other digital content generated formats and Print CSS means the CSS design components for the respective print edition. Cross Platform Publisher uses the PrinceXML" PDF rendering engine.

    Design Profile "Exclusive Includes"

    FX allows the insertion of sections, blocks or even just paragraphs that are for an explicit Design Profile edition using only the majesty of XML and XSL processing before final packaging. All that is needed is a simple class statement applied to a block. FX uses the prefix -*-rw to define a Design Profile exclusive include for packaging processors.


    In 2013 publishers don't just need typesetting, digitisation and conversion services. They need complete digital content strategies addressing current requirements as well as being ready for a fast changing future.

    It appears to be a confusing and complicated world, but that is because the wrong tools are being used.

    Digital content business strategies are impossible from a desktop production environment. In this environment multiple editions (print and e-book) means multiple files, and corrections on one, means potentially corrections on all files. With the desktop approach, as the format count increases costs increase in proportion.

    Cross Platform Publisher not only delivers the formats quickly and easily, but it also delivers a complete long-term digital content ownership strategy for publishers of all sizes.

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About Us

Axis12 specialise in building, hosting and supporting high traffic, content heavy web applications for both the public and private sector that help them achieve their Digital First aspirations. We recently implemented Cross Platform Publisher for the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom, which has transformed the way online reporting and publishing is carried out.