E-book layout considerations

By Kevin • February 14th, 2012

What do you do with e-book files once created?

Book-layout applications InDesign and QuarkXPress can export print books to epub files, but re-design is necessary to optimize the e-book experience. The epub is used by Nook and Apple devices whereas a mobi file is preferred for Kindle.

There are layout considerations for converting print books to their electronic cousins. “Front matter” found in print books – the dedication, acknowledgements, and copyright page – are often placed at the rear of an e-book.

I typically start an e-book with a cover photo, then an author-title page followed by a table of contents with each heading hyperlinked to its respective chapter. I include lead-off chapter illustrations or photos. However, illustrations or photos other than lead-off are typically deleted when designing an e-book, unless the illustration, art or photo directly helps the reader understand what is being read. With e-books, much consideration is given to minimizing file size while maximizing the reading experience. Bottom line: For the Kindle, Nook and smartphones – text remains king since your book might be read on devices with screens that measure only a few inches wide.

After you have successfully created and tested your e-book files with software provided by giant online retailers, the next step is to create an electronic billboard via Author Central on Amazon, for example, so the world can read about you and your book. Prospective buyers can preview a chapter before deciding to click the “BUY” button.



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