Obviously, not all non-fiction books are "tricky" to format for ebooks.  Most memoirs, for example, are formatted very much like fiction titles, but with images.  But many DIY, self-help, medical, diet, exercise and other non-fiction books can be real bears to format.  Why?

Remember, a Kindle screen is precisely 3½"x4¾" in size, with a ¼" margin all-round.  A book that is laid out and created at 8½" x 11", has 93.5 square inches of space.  A Kindle/Nook screen, by comparison, has a mere 16.62 square inches.  This means that an e-reader screen has only 17.78% of the space of the typical PDF or default Word page layout.  When most publishers create their pages, for their books, they work in "Letter" size in their word processors, which is the 8½" x 11" size.  When print designers do layout, they use the book's trim size, which can be 6" x 9", or any number of other sizes.  When charts, tables, diagrams, etc., are laid out at these sizes, they're laid out to make the best use of the available space, by using it all.  When those same diagrams, charts, tables, lists, and so forth, need to be fitted into the much smaller screen of e-readers, not to mention, made to work within the limitations of those e-readers, it can be quite demanding to do properly.  Sometimes, it can't be done at all.  Not every single non-fiction book can be made into an ebook (for example, extremely complex books full of mathematical formulas, due to limitations on how ebooks can/cannot set horizontal or vertical alignment exactly.)

And don't forget other aspects in non-fiction books; sidebars, pullquotes, images with captions, illustrations, icons, and the like.  Many ebooks can't display sidebars (like the millions of e-ink Kindles).  When that happens, we have to think of creative ways to display the same content in a different way that "tells" the reader that what they are reading is removed from the regular narrative flow.  Sometimes, we have to do that one way for one reader, another way for a different reading device.  This is quite common for Amazon books.  We have to create what are called "media-queries," which really just mean, "if/then" instructions that tell the book "if you're being read on an e-ink Kindle, show this paragraph THIS way, but if you're being read on a Kindle Fire, use this other formatting."  That type of hand-crafting takes time and expertise, and can't be done from within a word-processor like Word.  That level of detail can only be done with HTML, XHTML and CSS coding, to make your ebook function perfectly on the different devices.

Obviously, not all non-fiction books are "tricky" to format for ebooks.  Most memoirs, for example, are formatted very much like fiction titles, but with images.  But many DIY, self-help, medical, diet, exercise and other non-fiction books can be real bears to format.  Why?

Remember, a Kindle screen is precisely 3½"x4¾" in size, with a ¼" margin all-round.  A book that is laid out and created at 8½" x 11", has 93.5 square inches of space.  A Kindle/Nook screen, by comparison, has a mere 16.62 square inches.  This means that an e-reader screen has only 17.78% of the space of the typical PDF or default Word page layout.  When most publishers create their pages, for their books, they work in "Letter" size in their word processors, which is the 8½" x 11" size.  When print designers do layout, they use the book's trim size, which can be 6" x 9", or any number of other sizes.  When charts, tables, diagrams, etc., are laid out at these sizes, they're laid out to make the best use of the available space, by using it all.  When those same diagrams, charts, tables, lists, and so forth, need to be fitted into the much smaller screen of e-readers, not to mention, made to work within the limitations of those e-readers, it can be quite demanding to do properly.  Sometimes, it can't be done at all.  Not every single non-fiction book can be made into an ebook (for example, extremely complex books full of mathematical formulas, due to limitations on how ebooks can/cannot set horizontal or vertical alignment exactly.)

And don't forget other aspects in non-fiction books; sidebars, pullquotes, images with captions, illustrations, icons, and the like.  Many ebooks can't display sidebars (like the millions of e-ink Kindles).  When that happens, we have to think of creative ways to display the same content in a different way that "tells" the reader that what they are reading is removed from the regular narrative flow.  Sometimes, we have to do that one way for one reader, another way for a different reading device.  This is quite common for Amazon books.  We have to create what are called "media-queries," which really just mean, "if/then" instructions that tell the book "if you're being read on an e-ink Kindle, show this paragraph THIS way, but if you're being read on a Kindle Fire, use this other formatting."  That type of hand-crafting takes time and expertise, and can't be done from within a word-processor like Word.  That level of detail can only be done with HTML, XHTML and CSS coding, to make your ebook function perfectly on the different devices.

Remember our Fallen

Memorial Day, originally called "Decoration Day" was created
to honor those who have been slain in defense of the US.

  
william zhang 310797 unsplash small

As many of our returning customers know, we close on the holidays to recharge our batteries, as we're normally open 6/days/week.  As a former servicemember, I feel strongly that Memorial Day should be observed--and remembered.  

We'll be closed, administratively, from 5:00 p.m, the night of May 24th 2019 through the morning of May 28th 2019.  Production will be full-tilt boogie while the office is closed, but in Admin, phones will not be answered and emails will only receive auto-replies until we're back on our regular schedule. Books that are in production will be shipped, fear not.  

Thanks, and have a happy and safe--and memorable--Memorial Day.
(image courtesy of William Zhang, Unsplash)