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The benefits and shortcomings of a fixed-layout EPUB

From: Digital Publishing Fundamentals

Video: The benefits and shortcomings of a fixed-layout EPUB

Now that you know what a fixed-layout EPUB is, let's talk about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this format of Digital Book. You get a control over your layout, including your image and graphic positioning, your text wrapping and line breaks, the fonts that you use, and the text size. The text itself is also accessible, so it can be selected, copied, searched, and bookmarked. The images, well they can be a full- page image or they can span two pages.

The benefits and shortcomings of a fixed-layout EPUB

Now that you know what a fixed-layout EPUB is, let's talk about the advantages and disadvantages of choosing this format of Digital Book. You get a control over your layout, including your image and graphic positioning, your text wrapping and line breaks, the fonts that you use, and the text size. The text itself is also accessible, so it can be selected, copied, searched, and bookmarked. The images, well they can be a full- page image or they can span two pages.

Your table of contents in a fixed- layout EPUB is different as well. Instead of just a list of text, the table of contents includes page thumbnails. These page thumbnails are also seen at the bottom of your screen as you're thumbing through the fixed-layout EPUB. The table of contents page thumbnails are also automatically generated, so you don't have to create them yourself. Fixed-layout EPUBs are still the EPUBs and so they can be sold in the Apple iBookstore.

Now let's talk about where these fixed-layout EPUBs fall short. First of all, they are very difficult to reproduce and very time intensive. Right now there is no automatic creation or export feature currently available in any layout tool for fixed-layout EPUBs. Because there is no automated workflow here, hand coding of the content is the only option for right now. Since you're going to be hand coding this content, it's a good idea to have an advanced knowledge of HTML and CSS.

And perhaps the biggest drawback is the lack of support of fixed-layout EPUBs. Currently fixed-layout EPUBs are only supported on the iPad with the iBook app. The fixed-layout EPUB is a very powerful publishing format, but it has its own share of vices. Before deciding on a fixed-layout EPUB for your digital book, carefully weigh the benefits of controlling your layout versus the presentation. Is the layout of the presentation critical to the message? Also consider the amount of time you will spend under the hood of your EPUB trying to code all that content so that it appears the way you want.

Certainly the fixed-layout EPUB has its place in the publishing realm, but don't be taken in by its beauty and promise of control at the sacrifice of your time. For more information on how to create a fixed-layout EPUB, checkout Anne-Marie Concepcion's Creating a Fixed-Layout EPUB title here in the lynda.com Library.

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Digital Publishing Fundamentals

28 video lessons · 12730 viewers

William Everhart
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