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Desktop Publishing for Ebooks

written by: KateG•edited by: Laura Jean Karr•updated: 5/31/2011

If you are about to layout your first ebook then these guidelines can help you to get it right the first time.

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    Dealing with Ebooks for the first time can be a challenge. If this is your first book layout, then you have a project that is several hundred pages. That doesn’t mean that laying out an Ebook should be a punishment. A lot of your existing skills will help you to be successful when laying out an Ebook. Those skills along with a solid design, and knowing what the Ebook reader needs are all you need to make successful Ebook layouts. Along with the skills and the eye for design today we are giving you a handy guide to some special designs of the Ebook reader.

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    Size Matters

    I bet you always had a sneaking suspicion that it is true, we are referring to book font size and text size. With an Ebook reader you spend a lot of time staring at a screen. You can get eye strain but having the proper font size and adequate spacing there won’t be a strain, and make the book more readable. Of course this is a double edged sword, it can also make it so comically large that it takes six scrolls to get through one page of text. There has to be a certain balance struck. If you are stuck on this one think of a web page that is very text heavy those guidelines should get you set up for an Ebook.

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    The Colorful World

    To most people color will be confined to the images that you produce. Most modern monitors are capable of carrying hundreds of images and also using extremely high resolution images can slow down download and load time of an Ebook. This is going to be a judgment call so just make sure your images aren’t blurry. When in doubt it’s better to sharpen an image with GIMP than what it is to increase it’s dpi.

    These are the kinds of things we take for granted because whatever the size of a sheet of paper is and with Ebooks this is a little different. Make sure your page size isn’t wider than your average screen, and you might want to create your work on a desktop than a laptop. Laptop screens tend to be slightly wider than desktop screens, especially older desktop screens. If the reader has to skip back and forth than they are likely to miss lines making the Ebook incoherent.

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    Fonts and Borders

    Some fonts can be done in small amounts. This can cause Ebook reader frustration. The same is true with lines, borders and outerlinear page breaks. Visual clutter makes it hard for readers to focus on the screen. If you ever use a border make sure it’s consistent so the reader is accustomed to seeing it on every page.

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    Any desktop publisher that spends any real time working on web design in general will be perfectly fine working on publishing Ebooks. The project may be a little larger, but readability and good design are still the same.