It’s the Details

Unlike print books, e-books aren’t based on pages. It is one long flowing document. The detail_from_frontalreading device and user preferences determine the “pages” as the book is viewed. For this reason, page numbers and headers/footers aren’t used in an e-book. There’s no way for the e-reader to know where to place them. Some e-books are also based on HTML programming code.

This is the basic code used for web pages. This doesn’t mean you have to learn how to program; it just means that some of what we generally think of as standard formatting won’t work. Lulu’s E-book Creator Guide states, “If it’s not on your keyboard than it may not convert properly.” However, if you have some basic knowledge of HTML programming you might be able to tweak your document a little more.

Elements of an E-book

Your e-book has some basic elements. Those elements are

  • Cover
  • Content
  • Photos, graphic, sidebars, pull quotes.

You may be thinking, “Well, of course, a book will have least a cover and content.” Since an e-book is fundamentally different than a print book, there are other elements to consider: Font and file name are important elements.

Font

(I understand typeface is the technical term for what I’m discussing. However common usage in the electronic world the terms have become interchangeable. I will use the term font, which means a computer program that represents a typeface, for all references here.)

Generally for ease of reading, whether in print or electronically, serif fonts are used for the body and san serif is used for headlines and sub-heads. (Serif fonts have the small decorative lines on the letters. Times Roman is a serif font. San serif fonts don’t have the decorations. Ariel is a common san serif font.)

I would guess there are thousands of serif and san serif fonts now available. That’s not to mention the decorative fonts like Old English and Script. Save the decorative fonts for specific uses. Stick to basics for your e-book. Times New Roman or similar font for the body text is generally accepted and converts well to all formats. Ariel, Helvetica are two of the standard fonts for headlines and sub-heads, and they also convert well.

Children’s books follow the same idea. While a font that looks like a crayon mark or felt marking pen may be cute, it is harder to read for young eyes. Take a look at reading textbooks. They use the same serif and san serif combination. One reason for this is that the serifs on the body text allow the eye to naturally flow from one letter to the next, and from one word to the next.Remember, you want your reader to have a good experience. That experience begins with ease of reading.

File Name

File name? How could that be important? Aren’t people going to just see my book title? You never really know how your reader is going to download your e-book. If you offer it only on Amazon, iBooks, or stores for specific e-readers, the file name may not be an issue. But if you are going to offer your e-book through other outlets, including your website, the file name can mean the difference between your book being read and ending up in the electronic trash bin.

I have an e-book that is titled “BPTRBW.” After opening it a number of times to see what it is, I now remember what book this is. But that file name tells me nothing. Quite simply, name your file the same as your title. You don’t need to include any subtitles to make it easy for your reader to find on a computer or e-reader. It also isn’t necessary to add the words “e-book” to your file name. You may want that for your personal use, but not for your published e-book.

When you are making your e-book, it’s the little details that make the difference in the reading experience. From the beginning you want to consider each of those little details.

What little detail do you consider at the beginning of your e-book project?

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