eBook Micro FAQ

OOOOOHHHH, My Precious...Fonts?

Most people are not aware that just like books, the vast majority of fonts are copyrighted1.  Which means that you need to license that copyrighted font before you can use it in an ebook.

The Kindle e-ink devices can only display a single font, called "Caecilia," which is essentially a Times New Roman clone, which looks like this:

 

 

Fever Breaking, on a Kindle e-ink device, displaying the default Caecilia font.
Fever Breaking, on a Kindle e-ink device, displaying the default Caecilia font.
 

 

 

Now, with the advent of the Kindle Fire, as well as ePUB format, numerous other fonts can be embedded.  Many people use the fonts available through Word or their word processing programs on their computer--like "Calibri" or "Georgia," without knowing or realizing that those fonts are copyrighted, and are licensed to Microsoft, or Apple, and not to them, individually.  For that matter, even licensing a font to use for "desktop publishing" is not the same as licensing a font for an eBook.  

You can see screenshots of books that have used embedded fonts, versus how the book will appear on a Kindle e-ink with only the default Caecilia font, sprinkled throughout this article on font licensing and embedding. 

 

 

 

Madman Dreams, on the Kindle Fire Device, using an embedded font.
Madman Dreams, on the Kindle Fire Device, using an embedded font.
 

Madman Dreams, on the Kindle e-ink device, using the Caecilia font.
Madman Dreams, on the Kindle e-ink device, using the Caecilia font.

 

 

 

The Brimstone Murders, using four fonts, on the NookColor.
The Brimstone Murders, using four fonts, on the NookColor.
 

Orb, with a chapter head font to match the cover design.
Orb, with a chapter head font to match the cover design.

 

Is Using Fonts a Problem?

Using embedded fonts is not a problem, for the formats that support their display (Kindle Fire, ePUB formats, iBooks, NookColor, etc.), as long as the fonts are licensed.  Just as you would not want your work used without your permission, or payment, the same is true of font designers.  If you want to use embedded fonts in your book, we can achieve this in one of three ways:

  1. You can, as the publisher, go out and license the fonts, download them, and then provide them to us for use in your book;
  2. We can assign one of our Publisher's Assistants to go out and license the fonts for you, and we'll charge the font price to you as an expense, plus the cost of our PA's time ($35/hour) for searching, finding, purchasing and downloading the font.  Other than actual time expense, we don't "markup" the font price in any way; or,
  3. We can use Open Source (OS--freely licensable, for no money) fonts that are available on the Net, in lieu of your "copyrighted" font.  This usually results in a fairly significant cost-savings to you, as most fonts require the use of three (3) licensable faces (regular, italic, bold, at least), and sometimes more.  Each face tends to run about $30+/-, so licensing a font can easily run $100, just for one.  We charge a single fee that includes our embedding fee, that is significantly less expensive than the average licensing fee plus the embedding fee.  Obviously, due to the uniquity of some fonts, you'll want to use the original, licensable version, and that's just fine with us. 
  4. If you don't like our collection or selection of the OS fonts that we choose for your book, we can assign one of our Publisher's Assistants to go to the various Open Source and Creative Commons-licensable font sites (in other words, free or nominally-priced) and find similar free fonts from which you may choose, in lieu of the more-expensive copyrighted fonts.  For this we charge solely our PA's time for searching, comparing, and finding the replacement fonts, of which, of course, you have full final approval.

Of course, you can also peruse the free font sites yourself--like DaFont (my personal favorite), http://www.dafont.com, FontSquirrel http://www.fontsquirrel.com/ , or Urbanfonts http://www.urbanfonts.com/ (don't let their homepage scare you)--to find freely-licensable fonts that you can use in your final ebook!


Important note:  using a font that is in your Word font-options (drop-down list), or Pages "font suitcase," and having it display inside the manuscript, or the PDF, is not sending us the font.  The font files must be sent to us separately, by downloading them from either one of the font sites mentioned above, or by licensing and downloading them from the copyright-holder font foundries.

To see other examples of beautiful embedded fonts, please visit our Main Showcase Entrance, to see screenshots of examples of our work.  You can see how a book with embedded fonts appears on a Kindle Fire, a Nook, and the Kindle e-ink device, by clicking through the various Galleries.  Each Gallery has a lightbox show, with captions, so simply double-click an image and it will enlarge, and allow you to freely view all the images in a given gallery by clicking the forward/back arrows. 

1Technically, under U.S. law, fonts are not subject to "copyright" itself.  They are, however, Intellectual Property, and courts have upheld that web fonts, in particular (which are what are used in ebooks) are subject to rights and licenses.  (SeeAdobe Systems, Inc. v. Southern Software, Inc.; for a quick overview, the Wikipedia article that discusses this is here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property_protection_of_typefaces) and http://scripts.sil.org/cms/scripts/page.php?site_id=nrsi&id=UNESCO_Font_Lic.  As our company deals with intellectual property every day--yours!--we won't violate the rights of a font copyright holder, no matter how large or small.  We wouldn't do it to you, and we won't do it to them, either. 

 

It's Easy For Your Formatter To Do This Social Media Linking For You...

If you wish, it is easy for your formatter to include links to your fan pages on Facebook, your twitter account or your blog. You should type a page with the needed information and links. Plan to put this information either on an “About the Author” page, or an Acknowledgments page, or even a Praise Page (relevant blurbs and reviews, placed in the front of the book so potential buyers can see good stuff about your book, upfront in the LITB, to help induce them to buy it.)

But, BEWARE:

Please note that you should be careful about where you put what links. For example, don't put links to your book on Amazon for a book to be uploaded to Apple. Apple will reject it. Don't talk about your Apple book in an edition to be uploaded to Nook. Don’t put links to your books on Apple in your Amazon books.

How Do I Get People To My Books?

If you've done this before, you know what a pain it is to try to figure out what to do about the links.  Do you keep an ePUB for each company?  One for Smashwords, one for B&N, one for iBooks...you can see how this would make you pull your hair out.  So, what's an author to do?  A very good strategy is to make sure that you have a great landing page on your own website. Make all the links in your books go to that page. On that blog page, or website page, you can put links to all your books on all the retailers. This is the simplest way to do it. Also, if something changes, this way, you do not need to reissue the eBook (and pay to have it re-made!). You can make the changes on your blog page only. This saves you money and time.

And Don't Forget...

The Amazon Author Central pages!  Far too many authors just blow off the Author Central pages, thinking "I don't want to just talk about ME!!  That's boring!"  And you're right, if that's all you did, it would be. But you can do all sorts of really cool stuff with Author Central; you can pipe your blog posts in there using an RSS Feed (trust me, it's not hard).  You can put up videos.  You can post announcements, and even have discussions on your own forum.  Don't miss those opportunities!

 

Can You Make My Scene-Breaks The Way I Want Them?

We can easily make your scene breaks easy for the reader to see. We use some white space above the first paragraph of the new scene. We usually put the first paragraph of the new scene flush-left against the left margin, so that it is obvious to the reader that something has changed, and that this is a new scene.

Sometimes a scene-break is simple; in modern contemporary literature, it's generally designated by a flush-left paragraph (instead of an indented paragraph), with some vertical spacing above it, as you can see here in Jackie Collins' "Chances:"

 

Jackie Collins' Chances, showing a scene-break indicated by a flush-left paragraph.
Jackie Collins' Chances, showing a scene-break indicated by a flush-left paragraph.

What If I Want To Jazz It Up?

But sometimes an author wants a little extra flourish. This can be obtained with the use of a "fleuron," a graphical device used to create visual impact, and to indicate scene-breaks.  You can see an example of the use of a fleuron in Sig Nilsson's "Howling of the Wind," below, shown on the Kindle Fire Previewer:

Howling of the Wind, demonstrating the use of fleurons for scene-breaks.
Howling of the Wind, demonstrating the use of fleurons for scene-breaks.

 

Scene-breaks can be whatever you choose--but whatever you choose, be consistent.  Many authors like hashmarks (###) or asterisks (***) in lieu of a graphical fleuron.  These are perfectly acceptable choices.  A reader can distinguish between a scene-break for a passage of time, versus a switch in POV (Point of View), as long as you are consistent with what you choose

What's The Best Way to Show Scene-Breaks?

In ebooks, even more than print, it’s important to give your reader visual cues when things change.  For this reason, we encourage authors to use vertical whitespace to provide cues for changes in the narrative like scenebreaks.  While vertical whitespace is created differently by file conversion companies than by most writers, you can achieve the same impact by marking your manuscript with something as simple as 3 asterisks in a row. e.g., * * * .  That cues your reader—or your conversion house—that your book has moved forward in time; that a POV has changed, or that the reader has entered a new scene. 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Examples (click to enlarge in a lightbox):

 
 

A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
A fleuron used to create a scenebreak in The Howling of the Wind.
 

In Stephanie Fine's terrific YA novel, "The Howling of the Wind," Stephanie alerts her readers to a scene change by using both a graphic (in the trades, called "a fleuron,") as well as a flush-left paragraph to show the start of a new scene.  In the comedic romp, "Jan of Cleveland," shown here on a Nook device, author Liz Kingsbury McKeown uses both a Blackletter font to set the medieval time-travel mood, and vertical whitespace to indicate a scenebreak almost immediately after her first chapter opens.  

Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland
Both Blackletter and whitespace used effectively in the comedic romp, Jan of Cleveland

 

As you can see, fleurons, vertical whitespace, and flush-left paragraphs, used alone or in combination, can be very effective. 

 

 

 

My Book Has Chapter Heading Images.  Will Those Look Right?

It depends.  Sometimes we can, sometimes we cannot.  As we explained back in What are the Limits of eBook formatting?, there is no such thing as absolute vertical or horizontal positioning in an eBook.  If you used a picture of an apple, let’s say, as the letter “a” in every Chapter heading that had an “a,” it's possible that it would not come out perfectly.  Kindle e-ink devices, remember, do not allow for inline images, so it is highly likely that the layout won’t match your print layout perfectly. 

But...

However, many creative ideas can make the Chapter heads look very similar to the print book.  This is something to bear in mind when you are putting together your manuscript.   To show you how Chapter heads can work, see the below examples.  The first is a handbook for "The Hyster Sisters" in Kindle Fire format, with the chapter graphic; the second is the same book in Kindle e-ink format.  These work because the chapter images are above the chapter title.  They would also work if below. What does not work very well is when the image or graphic is incorporated in the same line as the text. 

 

 

The Hyster Sister Chapter Heads, shown here on a Kindle Fire device.  As you see, these work well, no matter the device, because the artwork is above the text of the chapter head.
The Hyster Sister Chapter Heads, shown here on a Kindle Fire device. As you see, these work well, no matter the device, because the artwork is above the text of the chapter head.
 

 

Same book, now on a KF7 Amazon reader (e-ink).
Same book, now on a KF7 Amazon reader (e-ink).

 

 

There Isn't Just One Table of Contents in an eBook

There are two different types of Tables of Content.  We know this is confusing, but stick with it a moment.

  • The first type is the kind you are used to seeing in print books.  It lists the chapter on the left and a page number on the right.  We call this the “inline" or “HTML” TOC, TOC meaning “Table of Contents.” 
  • The second kind is actually usually invisible to the naked human eye.  It's a navigation aid for the device--it tells the device where each chapter or section or piece of content is, what order it goes it, and where it exists in the hierarchy of the book.  This is called the "NCX."  If you've been researching ebooks for a while, you've probably seen tons of questions about "how do I make an NCX?" from folks who are uploading Word files and trying to make those work.  

We make both kinds of TOCs for Amazon.  Amazon requires it.  Users access the first type of TOC by clicking the Kindle device and clicking or tapping “Go to-->Table of Contents.”  In this type of TOC, we create links from the Table to the respective chapters.  When a reader clicks “Chapter 1,” the reader is taken right to Chapter 1.  This is how that type of Table of Contents works.  

 

The traditional type of TOC, in a Kindle Book.
The traditional type of TOC, in a Kindle Book.

 

The normally invisible kind of TOC, that guides the device, on a Kindle book.
The normally invisible kind of TOC, that guides the device, on a Kindle book.

 

As we said earlier, the second kind is called a “toc.ncx.”  It’s a TOC that is actually not typed on a page.  It is invisible inside the ePUB book. However, when a user opens the ePUB book, they can see the full Table of Contents, always available, on the left-hand side, in a reader like ADE (Adobe Digital Editions, pictured below).  In some readers, like the Nook, they tap an icon and the table pops up, ready to be used to navigate wherever the reader wants to go.  

 

 

An ePUB displaying the invisible TOC NCX.
An ePUB displaying the invisible TOC NCX.

 

At Booknook, we make both kinds and put both in every ebook, so that your readers can use whatever type of TOC they prefer.  This meets Amazon's standards, Nook's and Apple's iBooks, as well as others.  

 

 

If your book is a children’s book, with two page spreads, yes, we can make those pages work in what are called Fixed-Format eBooks. Fixed-format books are, as of this writing, (and still, as of May, 2015, when this article was updated), device-specific.  This means that a book made for the Kindle Fire device will only work on that device.  It can't be used on for iBook or for Nook.  A NookKids’ formatted book will only work on Nook, and so forth.  Generally speaking, this format is almost always used strictly for children's books, at the time of this writing (September of 2012), although, at the time of updating, it is making increasing inroads in textbooks and cookbooks, as well as some coffee-table books.  See below for some splendid examples!

 

The lovely Fox and the Fawn, demonstrating Kindle's
The lovely Fox and the Fawn, demonstrating Kindle's "pop-up text" to enhance readability. This is a Fixed-Format Book.
 

 

Two page spreads cannot at this time be incorporated into a book that is normally formatted on the rest of its pages.  This means that if your book is reflowing throughout, we cannot make a single two-page spread and insert it in the middle of the book.  An ebook is either all fixed-format or all reflowable.  It cannot be both mingled together.

 

Here, you'll see two different "fixed-format" versions of the same book.  The vertical format displays "The Big Galoot," by renowned radio personality Shadoe Stevens', in Kindle Fixed-Format for the Kindle Fire device.  The red "text" box is a pop-up text box that the child can swipe with her finger to advance through the book, paragraph-by-paragraph or page-to-page.  Below that is the same title, this time in the iBooks e-reading application on the iPad.  In this view, it is rotated (the device is turned horizontally) to display a "two page spread." 

 

Shadoe Stevens' The Big Galoot--the red box is the Kindle display of the pop-up text for this book.
Shadoe Stevens' The Big Galoot: the red box is the Kindle display of the pop-up text for this book.
 

 

The Big Galoot, now on iBooks, in landscape view.
The Big Galoot, now on iBooks, in landscape view.

 

 

 

Fixed Format books are expensive to make, and as stated above, are limited in usage to very specific devices.  For an author to put her book on three platforms, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Apple devices, she'll need 3 different versions of the same book.  The results can be very spectacular, and you can embed audio in both the NookKids' books and the iBooks-versions.

You Can't Force Images and Text to Stay On The Same Page

The answer is:  sometimes.  Generally, the answer is really “no,” because unlike print formatting, eBook formatting does not have precise control over vertical and horizontal alignment.  As we discuss in Text reflows--or wraps. and Is it true that readers can change how my book looks?, text in ebooks reflows.  This means that when people resize the font, as the sample images in those articles show, the reflow of the text might move an image to the next screen.  Or, it may move a caption for an image to a new screen.

For some things, like images with captions, we can use commands called “keep-togethers," but not every device honors this command.  In fact, most don't honor the command.  We put the commands in there, to "future-proof" the book, so that when the devices do honor the commands, the images and captions will stay together--but for now, the vast majority simply ignore it.  Therefore, while we do the best we can, we can’t guarantee that certain things will stay together on every device, at every font size, and every font, available on the market.   

As you can see in the linked articles, the text highlighted in purple (for the Prince and the Pauper examples) is on one page with the image when the font is smaller.  When the user makes the font larger, the text becomes separated from the image on a new "page."  This is the challenge of ebooks--they are constantly changed by the readers, using smaller and larger fonts, different-sized devices and in some cases, even different fonts. 

Devices don't really "understand" the idea of two separate elements--an image and its caption--as being part of the whole.  That's why the images and the text can "come apart."  (This doesn't happen in Fixed Format, but that's a route you should take only if absolutely required. You can read about Fixed-Format eBooks in the eBook Productions section by clicking that link, if you think you need that layout option.)  

It's important to embrace the concept of "reflowing text" as you embark on your digital publishing journey, as this will save you a lot of aggravation and stress.

eBooks Don't Have Running Headers and Footers In The Book Itself.

Although numerous devices now show running headers--like Title and Author name on the iPad iBooks reader, for example--the ebooks themselves don’t have running headers and footers.  When you see a  header and footer in an e-reader, it is created by the use of data that we embed invisibly inside the book.  On most readers, you will not see a running header or footer for numbering as you do in a print book.  The example below, from Oscar Cisneros' enhanced (audio) ebook, "The History of Dying Stars," shows you a two-page spread example of how the iBooks reader on the iPad device creates and displays a running header (title and author name) on the device.

 

Oscar Cisnero's The History of Dying Stars, showing a running header created by the iPad Device.
Oscar Cisnero's The History of Dying Stars, showing a running header created by the iPad Device.

 

 

Well, here’s a surprise—eBooks don’t have page numbers. 

Because text reflows there are no page numbers in ebooks.  As you can see, it would be silly to put page numbers when the pages or screens change all the time.  A word could be on “page 13” one minute, and then with a user change of font size, on “page 15" the next.  

In fact, an eBook’s “pages” are actually an illusion, created by the device.  In reality, an eBook is one very long webpage (or a series of very long webpages), and the view of the “pages” changes as each device  opens it, and as each human reader chooses his font size and, in some instances, the  font.   Some devices, like the Nook, create "faux" or fake page numbers, to give the human reading it a sense similar to that of a print book.  For example, in "Frumpy to Fabulous:  Flaunting It," shown below, you can see that the Nook device has created a fake page number in the upper-right-hand corner, along with a "running header" with the title name.  These are both functions of the device, and are not actually present in the e-book itself

The Kindle devices use "Locations," rather than the faux page numbers, and they serve much the same purpose; to give the reader a basis from which to judge his or her progress through the book.  

Some e-reading software also creates fake page numbers.  One program in particular, Adobe Digital Editions, which you'll likely use in your review of your ePUB ebook, creates a "page number" every 1,000 characters, that you can easily use for reference while proofing your book.   You can see an example of this in the yellow-highlighted spot below--Adobe Digital Editions ("ADE") creates a fake page number, that does not exist in the actual ebook.  While displayed on the page in ADE, it is not displayed this way on devices like the Nook, as you can see in the first example. (n.b.: in 2015, when this article is being updated, ADE displays page numbers that it creates at the bottom of the page; this image, below, is from the 2010 version of ADE.) 

 

Frumpy to Fabulous, displaying a page number in the upper-right-hand-corner. This is created by the device, on the fly, and those numbers are not in the eBook itself.
Frumpy to Fabulous, displaying a page number in the upper-right-hand-corner. This is created by the device, on the fly, and those numbers are not in the eBook itself. (Click to enlarge)
 

The Prince and the Pauper, displaying the faux page number it creates, on the right-hand side.
The Prince and the Pauper, displaying the faux page number it creates, on the right-hand side.

 

Ebooks work like old-fashioned webpages.  What goes on behind the scenes is just one big long scrolling webpage. This means that “pages,” as we think of them, are an illusion.  There are no pages in ebooks.  The illusion of pages is created by careful conversion and by the eBook-reading devices.

Experienced eBook formatters know how to use coding to provide the appearance of page breaks before Chapters, and white space to show scene breaks. 

Footnotes can't be put at the bottom of a “page,” like we do in print, because there are no pages.  Therefore there is no “bottom of a page.”  But you can put your footnotes as endnotes to your chapter or to the book, whichever you prefer.  Sometimes, if there are only a very few notes in the whole book, you might like to just use a bracketed number right there in the sentence. [1]Like this, to cite the footnote. We can do whatever you like best. 

To make using endnotes or footnotes easy, we create two-way links.  The reader clicks the superscripted number2 link in the narrative text--and then is "jumped" to the footnote.  After reading the footnote, she simply clicks the footnote number to be taken back to the location in the text from which she jumped.  On many devices, there is also simply a "back" button that serves the same purpose--to take the reader back to where she was in the narrative flow.  Easy to use!

You can see some examples of what "pop-up footnotes" (footnotes that do display on the same page as the superscripted or annotated note number--some devices have that capability) look like in the Complex Layouts Gallery (look for the Demand of Blood pages).    

 

While an eBook can strongly resemble a print book, it won't be identical. Print-designed books can use some elements that ebooks can’t; for example, columns.  However, we can strongly channel the feel of your print book.  

We've created a Showcase Gallery of various and sundry books, so you can compare what eBooks in ePUB and MOBI formatting look like, compared to print books; in some cases, we're displaying the original print layout. You can browse the Main Showcase Entrance to find the categories of books that interest you.

It's not necessary to give everything up--don't believe what you read on some of those "DIY" forums.  It's absolutely true that a lot of the higher-quality formatting can't be done, if you're uploading a Word file; but when books are being coded by hand, many of the aspects of the original print layout can be retained.  Here's just one sample, below, displaying, from left-to-right, print, ePUB and MOBI formats of our work on John Gray, Ph.D.'s book, "Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice."  

 

Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice, in the original PDF-print layout, as it appeared in print.
Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice, in the original PDF-print layout, as it appeared in print.
 

The same book, now in ePUB format.  Note that the fonts, layout, etc., are the same.
The same book, now in ePUB format. Note that the fonts, layout, etc., are the same.
 

Now in MOBI Kindle format, the fonts and layout are still retained.
Now in MOBI Kindle format, the fonts and layout are still retained.

Isn't this the type of quality that you want for your book?  You labored long and hard to get it done, to write it, edit it, and ensure that it is the very best book you can produce.  Don't fail to cross the finish-line by using second-rate ePub formatters.  The truth is, not all formatting companies are the same, and not all formatting work is of the same quality.  When you shop around--and we strongly encourage you to do so--make sure you check the independent reviews of any formatting company's work.  Not just the "selected" reviews that they put on their website, their testimonials--the kind of reviews and rankings that are loose in the wild, the kind that they can't control.  Ask to see their work, and make sure you download 1-2 samples of their book work from Amazon, B&N, etc., to be sure that you're going to get what you're paying for, and what you expect to get.

 

Instead of linked indices, it is often better to use the built-in search function that is available on most devices.  By the time of this writing, it might be available on every device.

When you use linked indexes, the only thing that the page numbers can link to is the page where the text used to be in your Word file.  Or in your PDF file.  In the eBook, when a user clicks that, it might be several “screens" away from where the word is actually used.  (This is due to how Word sets the index links when you generate them automatically).  You can see how this could frustrate your reader.  This is why we recommend not using linked indexes.  If you want them, we are happy to provide them, but please give the matter some thought.  Remember that you want your reader to have the best possible experience.  Below you can, on the left, see a screenshot of a search on an iPad, and on the right, the result of clicking one of those search results.  Click the images to enlarge in a lightbox.  

LJ Sellers' The Baby Thief, showing a word highlighted, that the user wants to search for in the book.
LJ Sellers' The Baby Thief, showing a word highlighted, that the user wants to search for in the book.

 

For some books with only a few notes, a small bracketed annotation--i.e.., [1] inserted in the sentence might be best.

Thanks to L.J. Sellers, a Booknook.Biz client, who now has a major publishing deal with Amazon, for letting us use screenshots from her bestselling title, "The Baby Thief" on an iPad for this FAQ article.  You can read more about L.J. Sellers at Amazon by clicking here. 

The book now displays the search results, which you can go to with a tap--and then back to the page you were reading.  Pretty cool, eh?
The book now displays the search results, which you can go to with a tap--and then back to the page you were reading. Pretty cool, eh?

 

When we say that text “reflows,” we mean that when a user changes the font size, or the font, the text adjusts.  If the font is bigger, there will be fewer words per line, and fewer per page.  From beginning to end, the text changes to suit what the user has asked it to do.  You can see examples in this article: Is it true that readers can change how my book looks? and in this article addressing how the appearance of a book alters just by changing the font size.  If a font is enlarged, the screen will display fewer words per line, which means that the next paragraph will have moved downward, in this case (the example images--click to lightbox and zoom) to the next page.

The Prince and the Pauper, on Adobe Digital Editions Reader, with the font size set at medium.  Note the purple-highlighted text.
The Prince and the Pauper, on Adobe Digital Editions Reader, with the font size set at medium. Note the purple-highlighted text.

 

For example, look at what happens when we do nothing but change the text size of an ePUB, shown here in Adobe ePUB reader, of Mark Twain's beloved, "The Prince and the Pauper."  In the example on the left-hand-side, the text is set at the default medium size, and we've highlighted some text on the same "page" as the image in purple.  In the first image, on the left, you see that the text occurs on the same "page" as the image.  When we resize the font, however, by using the lower-case "a's" at the top of the reading pane, merely one size larger, you'll see that the very same highlighted text "moves" to the next page (screen), and is no longer visible on the same screen (page) as the illustration. This is because it "reflows," using larger letters, fewer characters and words per line, and the entire book is re-rendered, from beginning to end. In this example, the highlighted text moves from being on the same "page" (screen) as the illustration, to the next "page" (screen), because it's reflowing to accommodate the larger font size.  

This is what we mean when we say that text “reflows" and that it is very difficult to try to control what a user sees at any given time.  EBooks are not like PDFs or print, and it will be very helpful for you to understand this early in the process so you can learn not to worry about things that cannot be controlled.

The same book, The Prince and The Pauper, in the same reader, but now the person reading it has set the font size simply one click larger.
The same book, The Prince and The Pauper, in the same reader, but now the person reading it has set the font size simply one click larger.

Our sincere thanks to Ignacio Fernández Galván for graciously agreeing to let us use his lovely ePUB creation of "The Prince and the Pauper" for demonstration and explanation purposes on our website.  Ignacio--you're a steely-eyed ePUB Pilot. 

In almost all reading devices, users can change the font size.  In the Kindle, the font can be changed from the default size of 3 down to the smallest size of 1 and the largest size of 8.   (See our the screenshots of an example ePUB in this micro-article FAQ: Text reflows--or wraps.

In many ereading devices, the human reader can even change the font style.  This will also affect how the book looks, not only in the font.  This will change the spacing between letters and words, changing your book yet again.  For this example, we thank Connie Pontious, author of the charming children's book, "Sharon and Eleanor," for allowing us to use her lovely work for our  example.    ("Sharon and Eleanor" is available on Kindle by clicking here.)  These screenshots were all taken from an actual Nook device.  Top row left:  The book with "Ascender Sans" font chosen, default size; Top row, right:  The book with "Georgia" font chosen, default size.  Second row, left:  the title with Georgia font, smallest possible font size; Second row, right; the same page, also with Georgia, using one of the largest font sizes available. 

Sharon and Eleanor, on a Nook, with Ascender Sans Font chosen
Sharon and Eleanor, on a Nook, with Ascender Sans Font chosen
Sharon and Eleanor, still on the same Nook, now with the default-size Georgia chosen by the reader.
Sharon and Eleanor, still on the same Nook, now with the default-size Georgia chosen by the reader.
Sharon and Eleanor, on the same Nook, now with the Georgia font size set much, much smaller.
Sharon and Eleanor, on the same Nook, now with the Georgia font size set much, much smaller.

 

What's important to remember, when you view the above images (you can click any of them to launch them in a lightbox), is this:  

...this is exactly the same book, on the same device. The only thing that's changed is that the person reading it has chosen a different default font to read it with, or a different font size.  That's why making eBooks is so tricky--the person who formats them has to be able to ensure that no matter what your reader does, the book will still work, function, and read properly, despite the reader's choices.  

To start with, there are some basics:

  • No backgrounds or background images can be used on any eBook that will be converted into Kindle (Mobi) format. While this feature/formatting is supported in what's called "KF8" formatting (the more-advanced formatting that was introduced with the Kindle Fire devices), the restrictions still hold for the older devices.  See below about how this can be addressed.  
  • Text boxes or pull-quotes will have to be formatted (generally) differently than in print.
  • Images in Kindle e-ink volumes can't be wrapped inside paragraphs, but can have this in ePUB format.  Again, this is now supported in KF8 format, but not KF7 (for the older e-ink devices, and the Kindle for iPad/iPhone reader).  
  • You can’t put text over an image in an Amazon eBook.  This is true unless a book is being made in "Fixed-Format," see our article about this:  Fixed-Format eBooks
  • You can only use tables that are about 3 columns wide, and very few rows.  This is still true, as of 2015.  
     

For most things, you can only have a single column of text.  No “newspaper-like" columns.   (see the Figures below:  Sample of Kindle e-ink device text, Font Size 1 and then the same exact book "page" in Font Size 8)  Some small areas with two column items can sometimes be made to look right by using tables, but this formatting trick needs to be used sparingly. 

Many graphic elements, like characters from foreign languages, can’t be used.  Generally, we recommend that most indices be omitted, or simply entered without page numbers.  Almost every eBook reader out there has a great search function.  This makes it better for your readers and less expensive for you!

 

Prince and the Pauper, Font Size 1
Prince and the Pauper, Font Size 1
Prince and the Pauper, Font Size 8, on a Kindle e-ink device.
Prince and the Pauper, Font Size 8, on a Kindle e-ink device

How To Send Us Your Materials:

When we are contacted by prospective clients, we are often asked how to send physical materials to our office, or, we receive an email telling us that something has already been sent (CD's, thumbdrives, sometimes actual books, etc.). While we appreciate the enthusiasm, we respectfully request that unless we expressly request them, please: do not send any physical materials to our office. If we need them, we'll ask for them, but there is almost nothing you can send that isn't sent faster and better via the Internet.

If You Have LOTS of files, or big ones:

We are an Internet-based business, and everything you would ever send to us, for conversion and formatting, can and should be sent either in email, via Dropbox, YouSendIt, or other methods. If you have spectacularly large files (over 20MB), or more than one file, don't use our Contact Widget; instead use our corporate Hightail Account, which allows multiple files to be sent, or anything up to 2gigabytes in size. If you have a Dropbox account, simply send us a link to your files for downloading. We do not need the covers for your books to provide a quote, although we will need them for production, should you elect to proceed with us. You can find the Contact Widget at the top of every single page (look up!) on the right-hand side of the main menu. Just hover-over the contact menu item and click the "Contact Us" link. The Contact widget can only accept ONE file. If you try to send more than one file, or a file larger than 20MB, the Contact Widget will not function, so please use the Hightail link in this article instead.

The Hightail link, again, is here: Hightail. If you have a Dropbox link, please just send it to us in email. If you don't have a Dropbox account, but would like one, (many authors find it invaluable for preserving easy-peasy back-up copies of their work) click this link: Get Dropbox Account.

We Do NOT Return Any Physical Materials Sent To Us

We do not return any physical materials sent to us--not thumbdrives, CD's, etc. If you need to have a book scanned, please discuss this with us first, as we shall most likely refer you to Golden Images, in St. Louis, MO, for scanning expertise, rather than scanning in-house. We highly (highly!) recommend Stan Drew, Golden Images' owner, as his scanning services are, literally, second to none in the business in this country. His website is here: WWW.PDFDocument.com. His phone number is 636-375-9999.

We archive any books/manuscripts sent to us, in any fashion, for six months, on our servers, as we've found that many people come back to us, months after we send out a quote, to proceed. At the 180-day mark, we delete manuscripts, materials, etc., sent to us for quoting off our servers. If people inadvertently send us physical materials, like a printed-out manuscript, we will shred them at the same time. Again: if you send us a printed-out manuscript, we will not return it; we shred it. Or a thumbdrive or a CD, which we'll wipe clean (thumbdrive) or shred (CD). This is why we request that you use the Internet to send all materials for quoting, thanks. Please note that almost all literary agents and publishers have the same policies now--all materials are to be shipped eletronically, over the Net.

 

We thank you, sincerely, for abiding by this request.

Back up to the Menu, which is a direct link to our Contact Information page! That page has all the ways to reach us, and our Contact Form. You can send us your manuscript for quoting directly by uploading it to us there, and a note to go with it, so we know how to reach you. That's the fastest method to get a return quote.

About the Contact Widget: the Contact widget can only accept one file, not two or more, and it cannot accept files larger than 20MB. This generally means that most fiction titles will not have an issue, but if you have an image-heavy memoir, in Word or PDF, or a graphics-heavy non-fiction title, you may need to use our corporate YouSendIt Account: CLICK HERE. Simply click that, and you can upload as many files as you need to, up to 2gigabytes in size, to us, and we'll receive them and be notified almost instantly. We do not need your cover to provide a quote, but we do require the manuscript and any and all graphics it will contain--all images, charts, drawings, fleurons, etc.

Alternatively, our phone number is also on the Contact menu, and the phones are answered after noon, MST. If you're not that familiar with the US Time Zones, here's a link to a World Time Zone map: http://www.worldtimezone.com/ . We're in Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America. This means that in the summer, as Phoenix does not "do" Daylight Savings Time, we are 3 hours BEHIND the East Coast (so if it's 10:00 a.m. in Miami or New York, it's 7:00 a.m. here). In winter, we are 2 hours behind (so again, 10:00 a.m. in New York, it's 8:00 a.m. here.) Generally, if you live on the East Coast, it's your best bet to try after 3:00p.m. your time. Please, if you call us before our phone hours, hanging up without leaving a message and calling us back 5 times in a row before noon won't get you a live person. We don't phone-harass people; if you leave a message, you'll receive nothing more back from us than a polite return phone call.

 

Calls are generally returned 3 days a week, and phone appointments are encouraged, especially in our High Season (from Labor Day through midnight, December 24th, when we are running crews 24/7). Although we run crews through Saturdays, emails and phone calls on the weekends are not returned until Monday, thanks.

With regard to sending us materials for review, quoting or production, please see our article here in the FAQ, Sending Materials. (Simply click that text to be taken immediately to the article.)

Thank you, we look forward to hearing from you.

 

 

Will You Upload My Book For Me At Amazon?

We are often asked to upload books for clients, to Amazon, NookPress or iBooks.  Sometimes even Kobo.  

Generally, No, We Won't.

With regard to uploading, we do not do that for you.  Why not?  Because it’s in your best interests if we don’t.  To do the uploading for you, you’d have to give us your username and passwords, and for that short time we’d have access to your financial information, purchase history—you name it.  At Nook, in order to upload the book, we’d be able to see your Social Security number, as well as banking information.  We don’t want to know that information, you shouldn’t want us to know it, and, if those reasons aren’t enough, it’s actually against Amazon’s Terms of Service for someone else to do your uploading for you.  Yes, we know that some companies advertise that they’ll do it, and they do—but they shouldn’t.  Uploading is not hard to do, and it’s better for you to be safe than sorry.  (See Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing Terms of Service, section 4.3, under "Account Security.")  

Remember:  you're the publisher.  Don't get taken in by so-called "digital publishers" that charge you the same or even more than we do to make your ebooks for you, charge you to upload the books, and then, on top of all that, take a percentage of your sales as a "publisher," just for uploading your books.  Uploading is easy, once you have a completed book, and you shouldn't pay someone a piece of your royalties just for doing that.  

BUT, If You Feel You Need Help:

If you feel really uneasy, we do offer our "Author's Concierge" consulting service, starting at $50/hour, and we'll sit on the phone with you while you upload, if that makes you feel more comfortable.  If you'd like, we'll do a Face-to-Face Video conference, via Skype or a Google Hangout.  

Believe me when I say, of the 100+ times a year I'm asked this, not 3 clients ever come back for uploading help, because as we said--once you have a professionally-made book, the uploading is EASY.  

Are you looking for Snazzles? SnazzySnaps?  

Looking for SnazzySnaps?  You're in the right place.

You're in the right place.  Just click here, and you'll be taken to the SnazzySnaps.photos page.

Go To SnazzySnaps!