Are you considering republishing your children’s book, cookbook, graphic novel, crafts guide or travel book in digital format?
For these kinds of books, the ePub format–which allows words to flow from one page to another as your reader enlarges text or changes fonts–doesn’t work. The illustrations, sidebars, and photos you so carefully placed beside certain sections of your book take on a life of their own.
For such books, you need to create a fixed-layout file, one that displays each spread just as your designer originally planned.
Fixed-layout ebooks look great on the new tablets that everyone’s getting for Christmas (Apple iPad, B&N Nook, Kobo VOX). But they are tricky to produce, especially if you’re moving from a print book into an enhanced iBook for the iPad.
Renowned explanation graphics designer Nigel Holmes and I have been running down rabbit holes for the past year trying to get his book Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle into a fixed-layout format for the iPad. We finally did it.
And here are the top things we learned:
- There aren’t yet many vendors who know how to take a print book and turn it into an enhanced ebook for the iPad. We used YUDU, which is located in (surprise!) Great Britain. Innodata also works, I’m told.
- Price pressure on these books is fierce. You spend a chunk to have the book recreated for the iPad, and the market wants to pay $3.99 or less. Yike. Hopefully, all those folks who got iPads for Christmas will be looking to buy enhanced ebooks, which could drive up revenue.
- If you hold the iPad in landscape mode, you see an entire spread from the book–without a seam. Nice! But on the iPad’s 10-inch screen, the font you chose for your print book looks small–and on the 7-inch screen of all the other tablets, it’s unreadable. Of course, your readers can enlarge the text with their fingers, but then you lose the effect of the spreads.
- Every new format of a book requires a separate ISBN number. Per BISG.
For a little extra pizazz, we also laced the adventure story with sounds. If you have an iPad and would like to see the result, here’s a free peek.
8 thoughts on “Creating an Illustrated EBook”
We absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be what precisely I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write in relation to here. Again, awesome blog!
lv m40938 http://leonardocosta.com/sale.asp?url=lv-m40938-b-3371.html
I’m always interested in what others have to say about their experiences. Sharing experiences helps us all figure out how to use these new tools to best advantage.
If I am allowed to – check out this trial book I am currently designing. I think the format is great on my Mac, PC, ipad and Android phone but how does it read for others! http://www.jeremybroun.co.uk/DTA
The book looks good on my devices (Mac, iPad). Did you create it with iAuthor?
Thanks for this info. Very helpful. I will report back after I have tried and tested some of your recommendations.
If you can do PDF from Indesign then you can convert it to fixed layout with our service http://www.magicepub.com
Hi Holly, thanks for the info re yudu. did you create the ebook with a yudu pro account to obtain all the functionality, including the ability to publish for tablets and mobile devices?
When we started working with Yudu, there was very little do-it-yourself functionality on their website, so we worked directly with the tech guys there.
We were just interested in publishing to the iPad because the book–Pinhole and the Expedition to the Jungle–is heavily illustrated. It would not have worked on a small cellphone screen. If you take a look at a sample chapter of the book, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Now I believe Yudu has more DIY functionality.