Ebook Formatting Tips

Choosing the ebook formats to use

  • Amazon Kindle (mobi), epub, etc.

General limitations for ebooks

  • Because ebook formats are traditionally reflowable, there are no pages. Type size can be adjusted by the user, along with line spacing and even the typefaces used.
  • Some types of books are not good for ebook formats (calendars, picture books, recipe books, and the like).

Ebook formats with greater limitations

  • Proprietary formats, like Kindle, have many limitations. List the things that are unavailable in this format.

More flexible ebook formats

  • Open source formats, like epub, are more flexible and allow far more options.
  • PDF is considered by some to be an ebook format, but it allows nearly everything a print version may contain. One other big difference is that PDF books are not reflowable; they have a fixed page layout.

Converting tables to pictures

Because ebooks are reflowable and because the user can change things like font size and typeface, tables are a problem. To get around this difficulty, tables need to be converted to a picture format so that columns and rows are properly maintained.

Using color

  • Not all ebook devices display color, so any dependency on color needs to keep this in mind, including in the contrast within pictures and any text that may refer to the color of things like headings.

The finished ebook

  • Once the ebook has been formatted for the desired channels, you have the opportunity to look at the finished work before it is distributed to the various marketplaces.