How to format an eBook to achieve best results is a tiring question as many factors are to be considered. Formatting eBooks is not an easy job; it requires patience, skill and exceptional attention to details to get the desired results. In the grand scheme of formatting a digital book, one has to take exceptional care to make it look exactly like in the desired aesthetics.
Let us look at a few of the most important elements which can improve the overall look and feel of the eBook, if taken care of while formatting an digital book.
Developing an eBook is an entirely different beast than developing a website:
Designing a digital book is not like designing a website and many have a feel that both are the same. This is the first thing you have to keep in mind while getting started to design and these are as different as cheese and chalk. As the case is, it is imperative that you assign the task to a professional or an organization that knows what the whole business is all about if you are not that confident to carry out the task in-house. An important idea to keep in mind is that an eBook is a realization of replicating the feel of reading a physical book and it only takes very little incongruity to thwart the whole user-experience by not getting the expert to do it.
The good news of most eBooks not being fixed-layouts:
When you want to format, your primary intention is to reach as many readers as possible and provide them with an exceptional reading experience. However, you need to make sure that the layout that you want for the eBook is the best and it suits most devices, since people read on an iPhone, a tablet or even a computer or laptop. So your eBook must look great in all devices irrespective of the size and must be ‘reflowable’—it must be able to resize the font size, the page must flow naturally to the next content, creating an experience that the reader would love to have over and over again.
Style elements that cannot be forced:
There are certain elements in an eBook that you cannot exercise complete control over. For example
- Hanging indents
- Running headers and running footers
- Body fonts
Since these elements cannot be utilized to the extent you may desire or require to, they have to be intelligently used to strike an exceptional balance to not hurt the overall aesthetical and stylistic image of the electronic book. Certain electronic Books have a way with certain design elements and you need to know which is which and how that works for the best results.
For Kindle, MOBI is preferred over Word files:
In case of eBook formatting for Kindle, certain things are to be kept in mind. When Amazon forayed into ePub business and started to have Kindle, they provided kindle file format support only for MOBI eBook formats. So, it was easier to simply convert ePub to Kindle format. However, as times passed Word files too became an acceptable format and it works just fine. But the real problem started coming up when the Word files are auto-converted; the end results were not really fascinating. As a result, if you need your Word file to look dashing and exceptional, you need to work on it very hard. So these things have to be kept in mind while you race to get your files formatted. Experts indulged in the professional provision of Kindle eBook formatting services are well acquainted with all the said.
Understand the standards for eBook formatting:
Another important aspect to take care of while formatting is to understand the various standards that different platforms keep. Though the standards are released publicly, there are areas that are gray and of ambiguity. They can create reading issues differently on different platforms. As a result, it becomes extremely pertinent that you have a thorough understanding of the standards and the good grasp of them to get the best results. To get the best looking and exceptional eBook, you really need to work your ways through to it.
Test your digital books:
One of the most fundamental things to do to ensure that the eBook is of desired format, style and it responds in the desired ways in different platforms is to test it. It is quite possible that the book might appear a little off or a little sideways on different platforms and appear a little bizarre on another. Things like these are bound to happen and unless you test as many times as to ensure exceptional performance, you may not get what you need. Most of the e-publishing service providers have a separate team exclusively for the testing processes.
Print covers and eBook covers:
Covers have the distinct role making the book look appealing and attractive to the people looking at it. It must be intriguing enough while creating a distinctive feel for the book. Unlike a book where a separate cover document and interior file are fed into the printer, in a digital book, the cover art is fed as a separate file altogether. Also, it will also be present in the book.
Incorporating rich media into eBooks:
Creating rich media ePubs is rather tricky, especially when you need to call content hosted on external servers and they refuse to connect due to security issues. The best way that works in every scenario is to capture the screenshot of your video and to create a link of the image to the video hosted on an external server. So you would need to get the desired result according to the requirements under check. Adding enhanced eBook features always help.
Table of contents (TOC):
One of the most challenging tasks when it comes to ePub formatting is to replicate the feel, ease of reading a book holding in your hand. To reproduce the feel is also the most fundamental objective of every eBook creator. One of the best ways to do that in an eBook is to create a table of content just like in a book. Most of the times, unlike with a book, it is difficult to know where the reader is at with an eBook and having a table of content addresses the issue appropriately.
The new ePUB3:
The avatar of ePub has changed to ePub3. You may not notice the difference between the two, if you are not taking advantage of the intricate capabilities of the format. The newer platform is very robust and suits best if you are trying to make the eBook more interactive and rich in media. The idea of this advanced paper to digital conversion services is to bring in more personal and interactive feel to the reading experience. So, if you are making an eBook with a lot of interactive media in it for the audience that appreciates higher degrees of interactions, it is imperative that you use ePub3.
Even when you pay enough and more attention in creating a sparingly formatted eBook, things might go awry as there are many stylistic elements that stay beyond your control on several platforms. One of the best ways to avoid these inconsistencies is to keep nominal design elements and to get rid of inline formatting. One thing very peculiar about an electronic book is that the more you try to keep a finical approach to designing, the better it fares for you and the reader.
Well! If you want to stay away from all the complexities involved in the process, you can seek the assistance of any of best companies offering conversion and formatting services for eBooks