Managing and maintaining layouts can be a significant issue because epub (and mobi/prc) is a reflowable format; unlike a PDF, the page structure is not pre-set and fixed by the publisher, but changes according to the reader and its settings.
Consequently, publishers and authors need to be aware that they have less control over layout.
This can be problematic for writers and publishers of poetry or of books containing long figures and pictures.
Editorially, you also need to be aware of the impact this will have on the current use of internal referencing (the numbering of pages won’t work).
In ebooks, complex tables can cause some problems. Again, this is because epub (and mobi/prc) is a reflowable format.
The screen size varies between devices, and the font and font size differs per user. Depending on the settings selected by the reader, one can fit 3 to 11 words in a line on an e-reader device or tablet. This can have an undesirable effect upon the presentation of tables, impacting on column alignment and what can be seen on the screen.
With epubs, the reader can select the typeface and font size from the range offered by the creators of the e-reader, tablet or app. The iPad offers a wider selection (the default being Palatino) but the consumer decides the font they want to use, not the publisher or author.
Some devices, such as the original Kindle e-ink device, are monochrome only: when producing for e-readers, keep in mind that if your colours are not contrasting enough, your readers might won’t be able to see what is on the picture.The majority of ebook files in the market are reflowable, which means that the text can be resized by the reader who gains control over the settings. However, it means that illustrations and captions do not always stay together; there is no control over where the illustration will fall on the screen and whether there is sufficient space to accommodate the caption as well. At the moment, these formats are not able to accommodate landscape captions.When the title is particularly dependent on keeping the same layout as the print version (as it would be with an atlas or a picture book for instance) then a reflowable ebook will not offer a good reading experience. For titles like these, we can produce fixed layout files for you, though the conversion cost may be higher. This is an option that allows the print layout to be recreated almost exactly by turning each page into an image and inserting tags around them.
This option is supported by certain retailers such as Apple, Amazon, Kobo and Nook. Apple, Kobo and Nook all support fixed layout epub files, though each one requires a slightly different version, which can lead to additional conversion charges. Amazon supports fixed layout in their KF8 files.
We can also produce web-optimised PDF files for you, which are the favoured format of some library suppliers. These files offer the functionality of a regular PDF file but have linked bookmarks and a lower file size in order to make them more manageable and user-friendly.
If you are interested in producing ebooks of highly-illustrated titles, there are several options available. Please contact us to discuss the next steps.
Converting a print index into epub and mobi/prc format is far from ideal. Currently the approach is to convert print page numbers into sequential numbers, those sequential numbers are then hyperlinked to the top of the equivalent print page. As epub/mobi is reflowable, the index reference itself could end up being several screens away from the top of the equivalent print page which makes navigating to the reference awkward. Some publishers choose to drop the index because of this, while others decide to live with the weaknesses associated with a converted index.
- Special sorts and non-Latin based languages
Non-Latin based languages cannot be easily accommodated at the moment. Mathematics is also problematic (and expensive) to convert.