Ebooks AREN’T the Same as Paper Books so Don’t Try to Make Them the Same

One major topic we explain upfront to authors when converting their books is that not only won’t their ebook look as nice as their paper counterpart, it would be a mistake to try and make them look the same.

I know this sounds silly but they are two different animals. Readers read ebooks much differently than they do a paperback or hardcover. There are multiple reasons why so we’ll just touch on a few major ones.

  • E-Reading devices allow the reader to set their font and font size to their own preference. Why do they do that? Because they like it that way and who are we to force our preference on them. And because they can change the font size, there’s no telling how much information will be shown on any one particular digital page. For example, if you were to make your title page text large and the reader has selected a larger than normal text size, your title could fall onto two different pages. I don’t think you would argue that that’s a good idea.
  • E-Reading devices are not the same. They come in different sizes. Their software acts differently. On a Kindle, you can change the Words per Line whereas you can’t do that using the iBooks app on an Apple device.
  • Reading software can be run on other devices. For example, if you like buying all your books from Amazon or B&N, you can still read those books using their apps run on an iPad or read those books on your computer. And they would all feel different. Different enough that you may change your settings depending on what device you were using.

We certainly expect to always receive documents for conversion that have more than a couple of different fonts, multiple font sizes, and ways to layout text. Yet, our goal is to consider the reader first. We go through a rigid conversion process to create a master file that we then convert to different formats (e.g. epub, mobi). We then test those files, manually, on different devices. We do not believe that even the best auto-conversion tool would be able to create the best reading experience of your book on multiple devices.

You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book. Just as you wouldn’t skimp on editing and proofing it (right!?), don’t skimp on a proper conversion for it either.

About the author -


Funderstanding is a resource for teachers, parents, and students to stay up to date on education-related issues. The company focuses on innovative and progressive approaches to inspire learning in classrooms as well as homes.

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