Designing Fixed Layout Ebooks for Various Screen Resolution Tablets

Preparing for Fixed Layout Ebook Design

Screen Resolution and Ratio Chart for fixed layout ebooks


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. Read more »

Books Unplugged – Getting Nostalgic Over Traditional Books

Books Unplugged

Books unpluggedI read a book the other day. There’s nothing so special about that except that it wasn’t back-lit. It wasn’t downloaded nor did it need recharging. The book was Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer. It was a YA (young adult) page-turner; one that prompted me to look for additional books in the Fowl series.

I found Mr. Fowl in my local library. It was in the ‘books for sale’ section. I purchased the hardbound edition with the metallic dust jacket for $1. Read more »

On the Road

San Franscisco

I’m traveling as I write this post. I’m in San Francisco, where there has been a small earthquake. Of course all the news media can talk about is ‘The BIG One. The searched the city and found a resident who had a wine glass fall from a shelf and break. That’s what I call ‘Desperation News’.

Now, to more meaningful news. I drove up to Patiluma to visit the TWIT Brick House. This is where Leo Laport and friends produce cutting-edge technology podcasts. More on this and back to ‘Hunger Strike of the Mind’ when I return home.

Hunger Strike of the Mind

I’m departing from the usual ebook news of iPads, Kindles, apps and the like to address something near and dear to my heart; the education of our youth. Just as we’ve seen shake-ups in the music, movie and now book publishing industries due to advancing technologies, I believe it’s time for a major overhaul of the education industry.

While reading technologies will play an important role, neither teachers, administrators nor politicians will lead the way out of the morass of a failing educational system. Students themselves must be the major movers to secure solutions that will prepare them for their future.

In my last post, I advocated a hunger strike of the mind by students. Since this idea is still percolating in my mind, I’m going to end this post here and hopefully return with something more than a cute catch phrase.

Muffin Tops, Outdated Textbooks and Public Education

More Muffin Tops in the Classroom

When textbooks fail to prepare students for the for the future, those textbooks should be kept out of the classroom. If outdated textbooks are a problem in your school, you might apply the homeless shelter solution. Here’s what I mean: One episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s popular television show (now canceled) featured a director of a homeless shelter refusing a donation. In the show, a bakery had cut the tops off of muffins and given the bottom portion, which no one wanted, to the shelter. The bakery thought they were doing something good. The shelter director, incensed that someone would offer a less-than-complete food product, had a different view of the bakery’s offering.

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Interactive Children’s Books – Children Teaching Children

Interactive Children’s Books

Interactive children’s books have been around since the time I was a child, and that has been over 50 years ago. I would interact with my books by drawing in them. I’m joking, though I did draw in most of my books. Interactivity in books was a part of my young reading experience. My favorite interactive books were pop-ups. It was a thrill to turn a page and see it fan up to a castle or a ship on the rolling seas. Interactive Children's Book app for the iPadAnother type of interactive children’s books used tabs that extended from a folded-over page. By pulling on the tabs, one could make the eyes blink on a cartoon character or an arm swing a baseball bat.

For those who decry interactive ebooks as gimmicky, they might consider that publishers have always used ‘gimmicks’ to sell children’s literature. In fact, interactive gimmicks are used to sell adult ebooks as well. Consider the amount of pinching, scrolling, tapping, searching and other actions involved in reading the typical ebook on tablet devices. Of course, they’re not gimmicks, but a continuing evolution of reading. Very little reading we do electronically is comparable to opening a traditional book, leaning back and simply flipping one page after another. One unfortunate outcome of book technology it that future readers may consider page flipping boring and thus miss out on that tactile experience. Read more »

iPad – New Truck in Town Backing Up to the Docks of Book Publishers

The Truck

There’s a new truck in town. It’s not an 18-wheeler, nor a 4 wheeler. It’s  the 1GHz dual-core iPad.

TruckI picked up the word ‘truck’ from some very bright tech journalists at Twit TV. A truck, as they (Leo Laporte, Alex Lendsay and Andy Ihnatko) have described it is a fast, powerful workhorse/workstation of a computer. Think 12 core Mac Pro for the 18 wheeler model.

Some on us who don’t have to haul heavy cargo, like 12 channels of audio and 4K video have a smaller, more nimble truck to move our goods. The goods we’re trucking are ebooks and the ancillary processes that go in to their creation. The second generation iPad with the addition of some powerful apps is moving it from a consumer solidly into a prosumer device.

In the place of big rig computers, the iPad is being backed up to loading docks of book publishers, authors, designers and illustrators. Read more »

Tribute to Steve Jobs – The Artist


I’ve laid down less money for cars than the amount I dropped for my first computer. The Apple IIe was the latest model, but the IIc looked sexier.

Tribute to Steve Jobs

Apple IIc & me

I took the IIc home and closed myself off in my den to get acquainted with the future. Naturally, I did what most people were doing with computers in 1978? I began to write code. I was blown away when I programmed a triangle to move across the dark monitor screen. Eventually I realized that Apple wasn’t made just for geeks, but equally for artists. With the right floppy disk, I could paint pictures. I was smitten.

I’ve been smitten with Apple products since that first encounter in 1978. The Apple IIc was merely an artist tool in its infancy. Yet I knew that whoever came up with that idea would one day make a computer that would fit as comfortably in the my studio as did my paint brushes and easel.

Apple evolved quickly. Today, 30+ years beyond that IIc, Apple devices are more my easel than the wooden ones in my studio. Read more »

Moving Tales Presents – The Unwanted Guest – Interactive Book Review

The Unwanted GuestMoving Tales are the producers of interactive books for the iPad and iPhone. The Unwanted Guest is an old folk tale adapted from a book entitled Yiddish Folktales. The Unwanted Guest is, as the producer name implies, a moving tale; one told with passion and artfully ‘painted’ using contemporary tools.

The Unwanted Guest is a ‘rags-to-riches’ story told with several interesting twists and turns. It also shows a unique perspective of true riches. It seems at times that we become complacent and tolerate people and/or situations that are not healthy. The Unwanted Guest reminds us that a creative idea coupled with hard work can win us the freedom we deserve. Read more »