I managed to squeeze out one more “This Week’s Articles” before leaving on vacation. The feature will be on hiatus until mid- to late July. I’ve got a number of reviews and other posts scheduled for while I’m gone, so the blog will continue to be active in my absence.
Author Carolyn Jewel posted a very clear explanation entitled “Why eBook Formatting Matters — A Case Study” on her blog, complete with screen shots from the Berkley-produced edition of one of her books as well as from a version she herself (a former web designer) produced. This article, dated May 28, only came to my attention this week, but it’s definitely worth reading. Formatting an e-book for attractiveness and ease of reading is clearly worth the (small amount of) extra time, effort, and expertise required. Jewel’s formatting of the same text is so much better and more readable than the Berkley version that it makes the publisher look like an amateur.
There’s really no excuse for shoddy production values in professionally-produced e-books. To be fair, I’ve read some very well-formatted e-books, but I’ve also bought e-books that were dreadful, and that’s not counting typos and grammatical errors. Publishers spend time and effort to produce good-looking print books, paying cover artists, designers, and typesetters to get professional results. Why are some of them apparently content to issue e-books that look terrible and are hard to read? If bad page or line breaks, white space between every paragraph, and other examples of bad formatting bother you as a reader and purchaser of e-books, let the publisher know. Maybe if enough of us do so, they’ll start paying more attention to formatting.
Citia produces iPad apps of non-fiction print books. These are not e-books in the classic sense; they don’t reproduce the entire text, but boil the main points down into a series of “cards”. Richard McManus’s “Reimagining Books: How Citia’s iPad App Compares to a Paper Book” (ReadWriteWeb) looks at Citia’s version of What Technology Wants, by Kevin Kelly, and compares it to the print version.
Wanderful Interactive Storybooks is reissuing almost all of the “Living Books” series of interactive books originally produced by Broderbund in the 1990s, updated to work on the iPad. (Jeremy Greenfield, Digital Book World)
Baldur Bjarnason explores what is and is not “Bad Writing.” Although I don’t agree with him in every particular, he makes some excellent points, and the piece certainly gets the reader to think! It’s well worth reading.
Here’s an interesting idea for independent authors (and others): Author Solutions has come up with a way to sell your e-books in person! I particularly like the implication for bricks-and-mortar bookstores. (Digital Book World)
As the agency-pricing lawsuits and settlement deals drag on, it may be helpful to explain some of the terms and background as well as the implications of the proposed settlement. Jane Litte of the Dear Author website & blog does just that in “Agency pricing and MFNs are like peas and carrots or why the DOJ settlement won’t disallow discounting.”