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So who would get the most from a fixed-layout EPUB? Designers certainly like to control that the format gives them over the content, but it's not always about what makes the designer happy. The audience experience, and effective delivery of your message is what should be most important when deciding on your digital publication format. Keeping that in mind, fixed-layout EPUBs would not be ideal for small screen devices like smartphones. Any text would be rendered too small to read and thus your message would not be transferred. Larger screen devices like tablets and computer monitors would be your primary targets.
So what kind of digital content would readers be looking for on these devices? Art books and any other book that's image heavy would certainly take advantage of the fixed-layout EPUB. The focus here is primarily on the imagery, with full-page and two-page image spreads, but very little text. Comic books could take advantage of the fixed-layout EPUB because they are illustration heavy. Many times these illustrations span multiple pages. The story itself is actually carved into little panels to help direct the reader's eyes, and that's very important for the storytelling.
Children's books are also very image heavy or graphics heavy, and those images tend to span multiple pages. They have very little text and the read aloud features available in the EPUB format is a definite possibility. Anyone producing marketing materials could take advantage of the fixed-layout EPUB. Once again, you have control over the layout of the content. Many times, these promotional materials are very dependent upon that layout to deliver the message.
Lastly, fictional works could certainly take advantage of a fixed-layout EPUB, especially when an author wants to decorate their books with a lot of images and have the text wrap around them. Instead of using a PDL format to achieve this, the author could use a fixed-layout EPUB and the benefit would be that they could offer this in the Apple iBookstore. The fixed-layout EPUB delivers some impressive features, but it's not for everyone. Because of their static layout, they could be next to impossible to appreciate on smaller screen devices.
However there are markets where fixed-layout EPUBs can truly be appreciated for what they are. Any image heavy document or one that is dependent upon layout for the effective delivery of its message is a prime candidate for the fixed-layout EPUB.
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