Preparing for Fixed Layout Ebook Design
Are you preparing artwork for a fixed layout e-hanced book or interactive book? Or maybe it’s something you are curious about. It’s important to know the specs for the device it will display on. Currently, Apple’s iPad is getting the lion’s share of artfully designed enhanced and interactive books. Yet there are many tablets available to consumers with an assortment of screen resolutions, or sizes.
If you are coming from a traditional pbook (paper book) background to the fixed layout ebook world, you’ll find that there are some restrictions and many liberties in designing for ebooks. Today, we’ll look at just one possible restriction: restricted screen size compared to large formatted pbooks.
You’ve possibly have held a beautifully designed coffee table book and marveled at the large color reproduction of a painting or photograph. Unless you have a very small coffee table, your digital coffee table book will seem rather small in comparison.
The chart above shows 10 of the leading tablets and their screen resolutions. The iPad stands alone with its 1024 X 768 resolution. Even if you’re designing a fixed layout book for one tablet size, it’s important to look ahead just in case your book becomes so popular that it would reach a larger audience if it were reformatted for other tablets.
As you can see from the chart, there are currently four major screen resolutions. As mentioned earlier, the iPad and its iOS operating system is the most popular for interactive book content. However, tablets using the Android operating system have a large installed base and the designer should consider designing for it as well. Keep an eye on the Kindle Fire. Although it uses the Android operating system, it is highly customized, which makes it stand alone as does the iPad. This will necessitate a rebuild of your book. Yet with their marketing muscle and popularity, (even though they have yet to release the tablet), they may be soon courting authors and designers to provide content for the Fire with some very enticing offers.
I’ll go deeper into fixed layout designing for tablets in a later post, but I’ll leave you with this one final suggestion. When you are preparing full screen graphics, you might plan your layout for the 1280 X 800 resolution. Then put guides over your design that matches a smaller resolution. Put the most important elements of the designs within the smaller size while keeping the artwork interesting in the outlying areas. This way, you can save the file under a new name, then crop the image. Later, if you decide to build your book for the larger resolution screen, you will have minimal work to cause it to fit comfortably in the larger format.
What’s your plan for designing for ebooks? We’d love to hear about it.