Keys to successful ebook formatting include both visual appeal and technical considerations. The appropriate use of visual elements and behind-the-scenes technical decisions can contribute significantly to ease of use for a reader. Remember that reviews of an ebook, as well as the number of potential sales, can be negatively affected by ebook formatting mistakes that seem unprofessional.
A key point in the visual aspect of ebook formatting is the use of white space. Readers might have difficulty taking in the content of an ebook if the text is visually dense or spreads too far across the page. Allow plenty of white space to aid the reader in visually processing an ebook's content.
Graphics can help support the content of an ebook. When preparing the ebook's content in a text editing program, avoid resizing images after they are imported. Instead, make any needed changes to graphics or photos within a more appropriate application, then import the finished image.
The cover of an ebook is also important for visual appeal and the appearance of professionalism. An attractive and well-designed ebook cover could have a positive effect on overall sales. Technically speaking, the cover must be able to scale from thumbnail size to a large image without losing quality.
In laying out the ebook's overall design, keep in mind that an ebook should function more like a webpage than a traditional two-page book spread. Readers who view an ebook on a digital reading device will be able to determine their own font settings, resolution, and screen size. It is also helpful to remember that many readers prefer being able to see an entire ebook page at once on their screen, rather than having to scroll downward to view all of the content.
Many novice ebook creators choose to use a PDF format because it is viewable on all platforms. Those with a technology background might want to try ebook formatting using other formats, such as HTML. The use of complicated design elements such as multiple subheadings, sidebars, or tables will make ebook formatting more difficult for the novice. In this case, hiring a professional to handle the technical aspects of design could offer better results and less hassle for the author.
Some digital reading devices will not allow special fonts. Authors might choose to use only standard fonts in their ebook formatting. Another choice is to provide a specially formatted ebook for each potential digital reading device.
If using an HTML format for an ebook, tables can be integrated either as HTML or as an image. Remember that a table is not searchable if it is in a graphic image format. An HTML-coded table is searchable by the user but can be negatively affected by user resizing on the digital reader.