Fixed Layout Books
If you have a beautifully designed Children’s Picture book or a Photography book with images laid out in specific layout or perhaps a Magazine or Comic the standard way of formatting an ebook may not be enough and it may be better to have your book as a fixed layout ebook. At EBooks by Design we can help you decide whether it is suitable option for your book.
Fixed Layout ebooks replicate the layout of the printed version of a book. Unlike the standard reflowable text option, fixed layout books will preserve that beautiful layout you have spent hours designing. They come in two main formats, ePub and mobi (Kindle) and they are great for Children’s Picture Books, Photography/Coffee Table books, Magazines, Comics and books with a complicated design. We do not recommend them, though, for books that are predominately text.
Fixed layout books allow things like read aloud books where the words light up to match the narrator on the accompanying soundtrack which is great for Children’s books or Language books. You can also add things like video, audio and pop-ups. There are lots of possibilities with the fixed layout option. This does come with some restrictions though. The reader cannot change the text size, though most devices will allow the reader to zoom, but this does then mean that whole page cannot be seen and the reader will have to pan and move the page around to see everything.
There are two main factors that you will need to consider before deciding on a Fixed Layout option for your book. The first is that they are much more expensive to produce as they have to be coded for the individual devices so we have to charge for each format separately. The second is that the range of devices, apps and retailers that accept fixed layout ebooks is more limited than the standard reflowable text option. It is growing all the time as new devices come onto the market but really you will be restricted to tablet PCs like the iPad, Google Nexus, Kindle Fire etc. (whilst they will work on smaller devices like the Kindle Voyage or Paperwhite they will not look as good as the smaller the eReader the more the layout will be shrunk to fit the screen, unlike with the reflowable text option which can be read comfortably on any size device).
EPub Fixed Layout
The Epub fixed layout format is made using ePub3 and is the most flexible and widely accepted format for fixed layouts. In addition to supporting for more features like audio, video, pop-ups etc, ePub3 is the most widely adopted format that is accepted by all the different retailers. Apple, Kobo, and Google accept epub fixed layouts.
Kindle Fixed Layout
Amazon’s Kindle Fixed Layout is not as flexible as the epub version. It does not allow page zooming (although it does allow you you magnify different regions of the screen) or read along audio. Also because of the smaller screen sizes of the different Kindle Fires books with lots of text can end up with the text looking very small which is one of the reasons that Amazon have introduced a minimum size for the text used in a fixed layout ebook. One area that the Kindle fixed layout format excels in is Children’s picture books because of the limited amount of the text used.
iBook Author is another fixed layout format which can produce beautiful looking books. But as the name suggests it is a format that is restricted to Apple. You can only view the books on iPads and Apple Macs/Laptops using iBooks. It was originally meant for student text-books but it is now used for Cook books, Photography books and Children’s books etc. as well. Like the ePub fixed layout option iBook Author allows you to add audio, video and animation. Contact us for more details.
Something that should be mentioned about the iBook author format is that the license agreement stipulates you can only charge for a book in iBooks format when you distribute it through Apple’s store, not if it’s available elsewhere. This means, for example, that you could not sell it from your own website. If you want to distribute it from your own website then you would have to give it away for free on your website and the iBookstore. This only applies to the iBook Author format and not the ePub format that you can also use for Apple iBooks.
Page Flip books are books that look like real books with pages that the reader controls with their mouse turning the page like a real book. Unlike the other fixed layout options formats, though, there is no retailer that accepts them for sale. They are mainly made for websites and used for advertising a book or showing a sample. (One platform will show your fixed layout ePub book as a flip book and that is the iPad – this must not be confused with a proper flip book – it is something unique to the iPad.
At EBooks by Design, we are experienced in all of these formats and can provide them at a great price. If you want a beautifully designed Fixed Layout eBook then contact us for details.