Once an author decides to turn his manuscript into an ebook, he needs to take a critical decision of choosing an appropriate format in which the ebook is to be published. There are mainly two types of ebook formats – fixed-layout and standard/reflowable layout. Let’s take a detailed look at both of the formats in order to choose the perfect option for your ebook –
1. Fixed Layout
As indicated by its name, the fixed layout format acts as a digital lock on the text and image placement, just like a PDF. With a fixed layout, everything will appear on the digital screen exactly where you place them. The location of the content (text and images) will be fixed and will never wrap or change. Readers will have to zoom in or out in order to get a closer view of any particular section of the ebook. Apart from that, to see the rest of the page, they would have to use the vertical and horizontal scroll bars. In a way, a fixed layout is essentially the digital version of typesetting. This layout serves as a big bonus when the design and look are important i.e. certain images have to go with the particular parts of the text. For instance – image heavy publications like comic books, illustrated books, cookbooks, recipe books, coffee table books, technical publications etc.
It is worth adding that not every retailer accepts a fixed layout eBook and even the eReader device support is limited. This is because fixed-layout formats include KF8 (Kindle Devices), ePub3 (Apple, Google, Kobo) and PagePerfect (Barnes&Nobles). All these formats have larger file sizes and are more expensive to produce and update.
Besides, readers face difficulty in reading with such a format as they cannot change the fonts, spacing, margins or text size whenever the font size is too small.
2. Reflowable Layout
Also known as the standard layout, it provides responsive text and images. Its look and positioning on the screen mainly depends upon –
- Screen dimensions (of a mobile, tablet or desktop)
- Screen orientation (portrait or landscape)
- Selected text size
In reflowable layout, content is treated as floating text and images. This means when a reader switches between landscape and portrait views, the content automatically gets rearranged according to screen orientation and size. By optimizing readability as per new screen dimensions, readers can conveniently read even on smaller screens. This feature provides the best reading experience to today’s tech-savvy generation which accesses digital content on different types of electronic devices with varied sizes/shapes of the screen.
A reflowable layout is basically the go-to option for publications that have a simple, one-column layout and usually include text. For instance – novels, fiction and non-fiction books. Unlike the fixed layout, reflowable content is supported by all ebook reading devices and apps.
Just like with other new technologies, there are a lot of factors which one needs to assess before picking the right format for the ebook. Authors need to make a decision considering their estimated budget and genre (of the ebook). Nowadays, ebook authors mostly opt for ePub development as it offers both fixed and reflowable format. Besides, when it comes to publishing a standard book that is compatible with all readers at a really low cost, EPUB3 proves to be the best option.
How does DRM fit into this picture?
The Internet might be a godsend for authors who wish to get their work published and read, but it could also be a nightmare. Luckily, DRM (Digital Rights Management) provides a form of protection to the digital content. It is set out by digital book publishers in addition to the traditional copyright laws to keep your intellectual rights intact. Authors may rely on professional DRM service providers to avail expert assistance.
What SunTec Digital Can Do For You?
eBook formatting is one of the biggest challenges that self-publishing authors need to face prior to ebook publishing. SunTec Digital has on board a team of highly skilled ebook developers well-versed with its technical know-how. Our experts will not only help you in choosing the right format for your ebook but will provide ebook development solutions too. Write to our experts at email@example.com to get started.