Two Paths for E-book Creation

There are two paths one can take to go about creating an e-book file. 

The first way is to have the e-book be a secondary product of formatting a manuscript for a print-on-demand book.  This means the e-book would be created from the Adobe Indesign file generated for the print book, but with some changes to the file.

The second way is to skip the print format, or do only an e-book format in Indesign.  One could also go directly to creating an ebook exclusively from the original Word document.

Two Types of E-book Styles

In addition, there are two types of styles that can be used when creating an e-book.

  • The first style is a “reflowable” style.
  • The second type is fixed or static.

Reflowable E-book Styles

A reflowable style, the most common e-book format, allows the text and images in a book to “flow” with the device settings.  So for instance, if your Kindle has the font set to large, the book would adjust itself to that setting and “flow” the text differently. Because the text will flow across various pages depending on the font size, page numbers are useless.  The same goes for footnotes and endnotes. Hence, reflowable ebooks are usually set up with a hyperlinked table of contents.

Because of this adaptable nature, certain formatting that looks great in a print book won’t translate well to an flowable e-book. For instance, the print book translation to an e-book may lose special font support, exact spacing constraints, and the placement of images, tables and sidebars. In addition, lines, boxes, and area shading are not supported in a reflowable design. A

Fixed E-book Styles

A fixed eBook is essentially a static document, similar to a PDF. It will look very similar to its associated print-formatted book interior. Children’s books, art and photography books, and other complex or heavily formatted books are usually set as fixed e-books.

Hence, you can see why rates for e-book designs depend on the project details.  The type of book, and whether it has already been designed for print-on-demand, and the author’s vision for it make a difference.