Why You Should Think Differently When Formatting Your Next Ebook

by | Oct 14, 2013

Though many publishers and authors have welcomed the advent of ebooks, there is still much debate between consumers who prefer traditional paper books and those who have opened their arms to digital books.

While some of their customers may be reluctant to switch from paper to electronic reading devices, ebook creators are continuously coming up with ways to win them over.

One of the major factors affecting an ebook’s success is formatting. After all, this is a whole new ball game compared to paper books, where the format you create and produce is exactly what your readers receive. With an ebook, readers can change the format to fit their preferences, from shifting file formats using ebook conversion services to changing the appearance of the text using in-app features.

In order to keep up with the growth of ebook publication, publishers must recognize the differences between producing paper books and digital books. The growing range of tablets and ereaders means that the look and presentation of your ebook could change depending on which devices are used to read it. Here are three reasons why it’s important to approach ebooks differently.

4 Tips to Keep in Mind for Your Ebook Formatting

Original formatting and file types

Ebook conversion services allow readers to convert their files for use in different devices, but this opportunity can be a challenge for ebook creators. While you may publish your ebook in a certain file type (XML, MOBI, EPUB, or simply PDF), readers are likely to convert your file to their preferred format.

To simplify the conversion process, it’s important that ebooks are developed cleanly, without stylization, and with only elements that you intend to keep for the final product. Since most ebook formats are based on some kind of HTML, it’s advisable to format your work using that language.

Device compatibility

The wide variety of tablets and ereaders means that size is also a factor to consider. Some devices, like tablets, are larger in size versus an early e-reader or a mobile phone. This physical difference alone is enough to affect the reader’s experience.

It is no longer as simple as knowing the dimensions of a single page of paper and then managing the physical construction of words and paragraphs within that page. With ebooks, developers must be prepared to make provisions for small, medium and large screens.

App compatibility

There are many different reading apps available today, and many of these apps pride themselves on offering opportunities for user customization. Most allow readers to change the font and background colors, or to choose from different font types and font sizes. Some make provisions for smaller or larger spacing.

Two different ball games

With users able to tweak so many elements, ebook formatting cannot be done in a fixed and final manner. Developers must leave room for further customization by readers, especially for those who will use conversion services to suit their device and app requirements. Ebook creators must ensure that their original formatting is open to possible modification.

It’s important to ensure that reading your ebook is a practical, comfortable, and enjoyable experience for your readers, even for those who are used to paper books. Keep in mind that ebook readers expect much more in terms of flexibility and compatibility, therefore formatting your work as an ebook should remain a completely different task from formatting it as a hard copy.

The rise of the ebook is a great opportunity for writers. While there may be kinks to be ironed out, there are also many opportunities to broaden your audience while maintaining your connection with your earliest readers.

For even more book formatting tips, check out the guide over at Kindlepreneur.