EBook formatting requires the concerned to take care of several things. Different tips are followed by experts to achieve the desired level of perfection and precision. Ten of the most prominent among one are brought together here.
EBook development and web development are completely different things
Web developers are professionals who are excellent at developing web sites, which are meant to be displayed in web browser. However the job of eBook developers is to design books that need to be read on eReaders and other similar devices. The technologies involved with electronic book reading are very different from the Web. More often than not, what may suit the Web might not go well with an eBook at all.
In simpler words, a person hired explicitly for conversion of EBooks should be well versed with the specific technologies involved in eBook designing.
The process required in electronic book development is not fun by any means; it’s dreary with endless styling and clean-up that needs to be done manually by a professional regardless of the efficiency of software programs being used. Hence, if anyone is interested to convert their electronic book manually, they need an ebook developer and not a web developer.
EBooks without a fixed layout-the silver lining
Reflowable eBooks make it possible for the reader to resize the book’s font or reorganize the book. It is possible to increase or decrease the size of the text. Whether you’re reading landscape or portrait, the book’s contents will get restructured as per the specifications selected by the reader.
A different type of format is the ‘fixed layout’ format that is helpful for the publisher or author in individually defining the pages of the book. In this format type, readers cannot alter the font size and the book’s images also do not change as per the preference of users. Fixed layout ePub conversion is very well suited for tablets but doesn’t necessarily at times work well with iPhones.
Un-enforceable nature of the stylistic elements
Dropcaps, an essential part of every text is almost impossible to control, as far as eBooks are concerned. One can try and exercise control with the help of CSS, and they still won’t be well suited for every instance. This is in fact one of the basic eBook formatting tips.
This happens because, even if one programmes the code with dropcaps, all devices have a different style of displaying them. 80% of the time it will be unsuited, especially in case of readers with overriding settings. All devices constitute a font size difference and have different line heights, which in most cases is likely to intrude with the display of dropcaps.
EBooks and hanging indents
One cannot force the hanging indents in an eBook as one is compelled to make the use of negative indents or what is called- padding, in order to make them work. Electronic book readers are not very efficient at handling those. In the CSS, it is not possible to instruct the making of a hanging indent and fails to work on most devices, when tried.
EBooks with headers and footers
In an electronic book, one may not be able to spot running headers and running footers. As eBooks lack the concept of what are called fixed pages, the pages of the book reflow as per the device being used; hence one cannot do so, other than by using a fixed layout which is not suited for eBooks at all. And keeping the style in mind, one cannot use headers and footers. Most readers have their custom standards and cannot be overridden.
EBooks and Body Fonts
Most e-reading devices, such as kindle, iBooks or other softwares used for eReading let the reader decide the preferred font for the book.
MOBI is more suited to Kindle as compared to Word files
Earlier on, Amazon only accepted the MOBI file for publishing in Kindle Bookstores. Now, when it comes to formatting eBooks for kindle, one can submit a file from Word to kindle eBook store and it is accepted. The only issue however is, on auto-conversion by kindle, the result may be what you wanted or it might go wrong. If one was to look at it with a realistic approach, a word file needs to be worked on majorly, if it has to be auto-converted by Kindle and companies offering professional kindle conversion services always do that . Additionally, if one uses the Kindle’s auto conversion process in order to make submissions to Amazon, they shall also have to make way to get their EPUB, if they want to publish to the Apple store as well. A version for print will have to be designed additionally.
International Digital Publishing Forum has the responsibility to ensure that the EPUBs are valid as per the specifications. Platforms create different problems as they all have varying criteria. There is some randomness and alchemy in the process.
There are some practices one must follow to ensure things don’t go wrong when loading an EBook on iPhones. Experts who are professionally indulged in formatting eBooks for publishing are aware of all relevant procedures.
How are eBook covers design different from Print Covers
As far as EBooks are concerned, the cover is a separate file and is also inside the book at hand. However in a print book, the files on the interior and the cover are submitted separately.
Adding multimedia and videos
Table of Contents
A system of table of contents is included in the eBook, so as to enable the readers to see a drop-down menu, inclusive of the table of contents. In an eBook, there is no presence of tactile setup of pages like normal books that one can physically touch. To simplify the process of getting to a particular section of the book, a table of contents is much needed, even if it is a short story or just a lone chapter. There is also the need for a clickable page that is linkable, just as the contents table for crafting best multimedia eBooks. The reader’s prime focus is the reading experience as opposed to formatting that anyway is different for different devices.
EPUB replaced by EPUB3
EPUB’s most important update is the EPUB3; in case the work at hand is not too complex, there will be no noticeable change. The older EPUB2 conversion can be put to use. Most platforms yet do not support the latest version, so there may be no dire need to change or upgrade. However with epub3 conversion services incentive lies in making the book interactive in nature.
Additionally, one must use styles that are compatible universally and not make it complicated. Like mentioned earlier, there are a plethora of things that can hamper the successful publishing of an EBook and most elements of design are beyond one’s control. The most logical step to take in regard of eBook conversion services and styling is to keep formatting to a minimum and not include formatting that is inline. Lesser control one exercises, the better the EBook looks.