Ebook Creation: Fixed Format vs. Reflowable Ebooks

I’ve been working on the second book in my How to Create Ebooks series, which will be focused on making fixed format ebooks. Fixed format ebooks work particularly well for children’s picture books, though there are number of other useful ways to use the format.

I came across a video on Lynda.com (full disclosure, I am an affiliate) recently that does a great job showing the differences between reflowable ebooks (usually used for novels and text-heavy books) and fixed format ebooks. Hopefully this clears things up for anyone who was wondering!

Comparing the looks of fixed vs. flowable EPUBs

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Publishing Children’s Ebooks

The children’s book market is expanding. According to IBISWorld, “e-readers and other popular devices, like tablets and smartphones, make books easier to buy, read and store. Animation and other extra features made possible by these and other devices are making e-books particularly attractive to children.”

Jane Friedman also reported that “Children are starting to read e-books at a younger age, and the e-book format is growing as a percentage share of all books purchased. (It increased to 21% in 2014, up from 14% in 2013.)” She shared a great chart from Nielsen on where books rank for different age groups. You can see it here.

It may still be easier to go the traditional route to publish children’s books (and by children’s books I mean heavily illustrated books, not YA), but more options are popping up for those who want to self-publish. To get a better feel for how it all works, I self-published my first picture ebook, called Apple’s Adventures. I’m also in the process of editing the second book in my How to Make Ebooks series, which will focus on how to create picture ebooks, also known as fixed format ebooks. Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 5): Read Aloud Code

In this series on how to create a fixed format ebook, I have covered how to setup a fixed format ebook, how to add images, how to place text, and how to embed fonts. In this post I’ll go over how add read aloud functionality to your children’s story. I recommend this only for fixed format children’s ebooks, because it can be tedious adding all the extra code (and children’s books are nice and short). Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 4): Embedding Fonts

fixed_format_font_example

So far in this series, I have covered how to setup a fixed format ebook, how to add images, and how to place text. In this post I’ll go over how to embed fonts, to make your ebook even more unique. You can use this trick for both fixed format ebooks and reflowable ebooks. Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 3): Placing Text

Fixed_Format_text_example

In the last two posts of this series, I covered how to set up a fixed format ebook and how to add images to a fixed format ebook. In this post I’ll cover how to place text on specific parts of a fixed format ebook’s “page,” which includes placing text on top of the image. Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 2): Adding Images

fixed_format_sigil

In my last post on creating fixed format ebooks, I covered how to set up your files in Sigil so that ereaders and tablets know to treat your ebook like a fixed format ebook. This post I’ll talk about how to treat images in picture ebooks. Continue reading

How to Create a Fixed Format Ebook (Part 1): Setting Up Your Ebook

I’m finally working on the second book in my “How to Ebook” series, and I’ve decided that this time around, before I ask for beta readers, I’m going to blog the book. So for the next few weeks, I’ll be posting articles that detail how to create fixed format ebooks, which are most commonly used for children’s picture books. These weekly articles will assume that you know the basics of how to make an ebook (if you want to learn, you can either pick up my book or try out my course on Udemy).

My favorite ebook creation tool is Sigil (which happens to be free), and although it is no longer being updated, I still think it is currently the best program to use. It is possible to make ebooks in other programs, or even just using a text editor, but for these posts, I’ll be explaining the steps using Sigil.

In this first post, I want to go over how to set up an ebook file and get it ready for the fixed format. All the images are screenshots taken from a children’s picture book I’m working on, called “Apple’s Adventures.” It’s about a fun snail that lives in an aquarium, and if you’re interested in seeing the final product, please sign up for my New Books NewsletterContinue reading