eBooks Don't Have Pages | Writing Nights

eBooks Don't Have Pages

It is tempting as an author to take dictatorial control over the publishing process, particularly when you are self publishing.  Umlauts must be ordered just so, paragraphs must march smartly, headings and headers flying in formation atop the deployment.

That is fine when you are working with the printed version. Feel free to regiment every aspect of the print book, from bastard title to the end of the rear matter. However, that same attitude can be ruinous if applied to the eBook format.

eBooks don't have pages. eBooks aren't books. They aren't PDF's, they aren't documents. eBooks are compressed webpages. Most eBook readers have a page-turn animation to simulate paging through a book, however in reality all the reader is doing is scrolling down.

Because of this, there will always be some compromise in the eBook design. There is no way to perfectly recreate the print design in the eBook. In my conversion I'm not aiming for verisimilitude. That's impossible. The best that can be achieved is taking stylistic cues from the design.

Again, eBooks have no pages.

I'll demonstrate.

There should be a button somewhere on your app that will allow you to change the formatting of the book while you read it. If you click that button it will allow you to change the fonts, and sizes of the text you're reading. It's important that you understand that your readers will be able to do this. It is also important, that you understand your book will look slightly different on every device, and every app that it's viewed on.


So I clicked the button, and I widened the viewing area, and I increased the size of the text, as well as chose a goofy font I don't think anyone ever uses to read a book. You will notice that the heading didn't change.


I also opened the same book in a different device, and then in a different app. Just so you see how the book looks different based on the device it's viewed on.

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Because all your readers can visually alter your eBook on the fly, there is really no point seeking to have the eBook conform precisely to the print design.  For one, that is impossible, and two, even if it were possible, the end reader will likely never experience your book that way.  Your readers will have configured their e-Reader to suit their preferences, or elder eyes.