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Understanding E-Book Limitations

The idea of creating your own e-book can be exciting. That is until you see your own content in an e-book format. Those design ideas - are for the most part not included in the final hand-held device rendering.

Last week, I spent most of the week reading Cooking Books in e-book formats. During the week I jumped between using the Kindle app on my phone, iPad, MacBook Air, and HP laptop - each device presented a different experience with a changing array of tools.

NOTE TO SELF: Drop caps do not work on the Kindle app.

What you can expect from one device to the other:

  • The device determines the best settings for the content.
  • The reader can select:
    • The Font.
    • The size of the font.
    • How wide to make the columns.
    • How many columns to use.
    • How many words to include on each line.
    • How much space to include in the leading (space between lines)
    • What the background color should be: white, black.
    • And what page margins to use.

A few other end-user considerations:

  • Image wrap rarely works well.
  • Images need descriptive captions as images often load onto the device screen alone and out of context.
  • Aligning images with content is different, as break pages can occur unexpectedly.
  • Kindle does not support Drop Caps.