Frequently Asked Questions
The following are the similarities and differences between a book and an ebook with reflowable text:
What is a book? A book is a physical book that has the text, images, etc., printed on paper. The pages are bound together, and the book has either a hardcover, or softcover (paperback).
What is an ebook? An ebook is a digital or electronic book that is formatted into a file that can be read on an e-reader device or app.
Many of the conventions of a print book are used in an ebook – for example, cover, title page, copyright page, table of content, chapters, paragraphs, etc.
So…if these are the similarities, what are the differences?
The single most important difference is that print books have static layouts that once printed do not change, whereas ebooks have dynamic layouts. This is because most ebooks are formatted with re-flowable text.
What is re-flowable text? It is “the ability to automatically wrap words in a document to the next line as the user changes the window size and thereby relocates the right margin of the page” (ref: pcmag.com). If you want to see this in action, open your book in Microsoft Word and go to Menu View > Web Layout. You will notice that there aren’t “pages”, per se. Now resize your screen smaller, then larger. You will see the text “wrap” to adjusts to the size of the screen.
Because the ebook text “flows” to adjust to the size of the screen, ebooks do not have pages as in a print book. Since they do not have pages, they do not have page numbers. As they do not have page numbers, one cannot use page numbers as a means of navigating and referencing in a table of contents or index. Instead, one has a table of contents that is hyperlinked to the individual chapters and/or sections of the book. Instead of an index, the reader will use the ereader’s search function to search for specific words or topics.
As ebooks do not have pages, there are a few other things found in ebooks that are different in print books. There aren’t headers or footers in an ebook. Footnotes become “endnotes”. Also, to ensure the predictability of placement, images must be in line with the text and centered. Most eReaders at this time do not accept charts, tables, and columns, so these must be converted into an image first.
In an ebook, depending on the eReader app or device, the reader can set the following preferences:
- font type
- font size
- page width
- text alignment
- color mode
The following are some examples of preferences for the Kindle for Mac (these also demonstrate reflowable text):
The Preference selection can be accessed by clicking on the “Aa” button.
Font Size Small
Font Size Medium
Font Size Large
Page Width Narrow
Page Width Medium
Page Width Wide
Readers also have the use of the ereader’s search function to navigate throughout the book.
The following are not used when formatting ebooks:
- paragraph returns
- text boxes
- colored font (colored font can make it difficult to read on some eReading devices that don’t support color)
This explanation of some of the similarities and differences between print books and ebooks with reflowable text should help you understand the transition from one to the other.
If you require ebook formatting, to get started, please click here.
If you require print book formatting, to get started, please click here.
The following is a quote from the Smashwords Style Guide:
How Ebook Formatting is Different from Print Formatting
Ebooks are different from print books, so do not attempt to make your ebook look like an exact facsimile of print book, otherwise you’ll only frustrate yourself by creating a poorly formatted, unreadable ebook.
With print, you control the layout. The words appear on the printed page exactly where you want them to appear.
With ebooks, there is no “page.” By giving up the control of the printed page, you and your readers gain much more in return.
Page numbers are irrelevant. Your book will look different on every e-reading device. Your text will shape shift and reflow. Most e-reading devices and e-reading applications allow your reader to customize the fonts, font sizes, and line spacing. Your customers will modify how your book looks on-screen to suit their personal reading preference and environment.
By transforming your books into digital form, you open up exciting possibilities for how readers can enjoy them.
At Smashwords, our motto is “your book, your way,” and this means a reader should be able to consume your book, however, works best for them, even if that means they like to read 18 point Helvetica with blue fonts, lime background color, and triple spaced lines. Many e-reading devices and e-reading apps support some or all of these strange, different tastes.
For us to prepare your words to be stirred up and reconstituted in this digital soup, it’s important your Smashwords source file is formatted to liberate the words in digital form.
The book’s formatting will be and must be different from its paper-based formatting and layout (for some works like poetry, the formatting is integral to the reading experience, and we can work with that too).
Most readers want your words, not your fancy page layout or exotic type styles. This is especially important for your ebook customers because you want your work to display well on as many digital reading devices as possible so the reader can have their book their way. Some of your buyers may want to read on the Amazon Kindle; others may prefer to read on the iPhone or Sony Reader, or even read on multiple devices. Others may want to just read it on screen using one of the several e-reading applications, such as Adobe Digital Editions or FBReader.”
Createspace/IngramSpark/KDP Print formatting includes the following (if you have different requirements, please let us know before formatting starts. Any differences may include an additional fee.):
- We provide the PDF file formatted for Createspace/IngramSpark/KDP Print (this file is not guaranteed for any other publishers including Bookbaby, Lulu, Barnes & Noble, boutique publishers, etc.)
- Turnaround time is no longer that ten business days. Rush Jobs are five business days.
- We guarantee our formatting for Createspace/IngramSpark/KDP Print.
- If your book has italics, bold and underline, they will be preserved (more…)
Please see our article here: https://help.ebooklaunch.com/article/122-what-do-i-do-if-i-cannot-see-your-form
Book Cover Design Services include the following:
- When do I get my cover? Within 14 business days of receiving payment for Custom Ebook package packages, 2 business days for Premade Covers. If you have ordered a print package/upgrade, please allow 7 days from the date that receive all of the information necessary to get started (e.g. page count, trim size etc).
- How many concepts do I get? We like to put most of our energy/effort into one central concept, at first. We’ll offer a couple of slight variations of the concept (with fonts, tones etc). For designers that offer multiple concepts, we find that the attention to detail is lacking because they are more focused on creating quantity over quality. That said, if we are completely off the mark with our original design – then we are okay with designing another concept as we offer unlimited revisions until the author is 100% satisfied. We just don’t like starting with the assumption that we don’t know what our clients would like because, after they give us all of the info that we request, we usually have a pretty good idea of what will work.
- What if I want to make revisions? Custom Ebook and Ebook + Print packages include unlimited revisions until the author approves of the completed work. After the work is approved and the author requests further revisions (e.g. weeks/months later), then a small fee may apply depending on the complexity of the request.
- What kind of file do I get? For Custom Ebook Covers and Premades, a final JPG file 1600 x 2400 pixels will be the file that is provided. The cover file can be used for all major ebook distributors, including Smashwords, Amazon KDP, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, IngramSpark, etc. If you order a print cover, then you will receive one print-ready PDF based on your book’s specifications. (This PDF is for a paperback cover only. If a Hard Cover, Dust Jacket, and/or multiple paperback files are needed, an additional charge will apply) All packages will get a free 3D mockup of their book to help with promotion.
- Can I order other marketing material? Yes! The Photoshop PSD file, Facebook Cover Photos, Audiobook covers, and other marketing material, can be purchased for an additional charge here: https://ebooklaunch.com/cover-design-extras/ If your item is not listed, please email us with your request and we’ll try to accommodate it.
- Where do you get the stock images that you use to manipulate your concepts? All stock images used are royalty-free and sourced from Shutterstock.com. The cost of your cover design includes the rights to use these images and is limited to a print-run of 500,000 units, and unlimited downloads for ebooks. For more information on the licensing of images, please visit http://www.shutterstock.com/license-comparison.
- What is the expectation of communication? We do our best to respond as quickly to your questions/emails as possible. We aim to respond within 2 business days or earlier (note: this does not include weekends). If you do not hear back within that time, please contact us here as something funky might be happening with our email: https://ebooklaunch.com/contact/
- I have a series of books that I’d like to order in bulk from you, can I get a discount? We are open to discussing discounts for bulk orders of covers and will treat on a case-by-case basis. Please email us.
- I’d like to order formatting along with my cover design. Is there a package deal? Our formatting services are already extremely affordable and have a 15% discount available so we do not currently offer additional discounting by ordering it together with cover design.
- What do you do with the cover design after it is finished? We will store your source file free of charge in case you lose the file, want to make changes or want a print upgrade at a later date. If you do not want us to store your cover design, please let us know.We also may use your cover design in our portfolio, social media, forums etc. to help promote our services. If you do not want us to post your cover, or want us to wait until a specific date to post your cover, please let us know.
- How does payment work? After you fill out the order form, an invoice will be emailed to you. This invoice is payable by Paypal or Credit Card. Please pay the invoice to get started on your project. Payment indicates a commitment to get started on the project rather than just people inquiring. We offer a 100% refund policy if you’re not happy with the process so there is no risk.
- Cancellation 99.9% of the time, everything works as it should, but sometimes the process doesn’t work well for the author or us. At that point, either party has the discretion to end the agreement. Our default policy is to offer 100% money back at that point, although authors in the past have acknowledged the work done and only request a portion of the money back.
- Who holds the rights to the cover design? The author retains the rights to the cover design, however; Ebook Launch reserves the right to use the cover design in their portfolio adn online to promote their services.
Please see our article here: https://help.ebooklaunch.com/article/79-can-i-phone-ebook-launch
Please see our article here: https://help.ebooklaunch.com/article/68-what-if-i-need-to-make-changes-revisions-edits-to-my-book-or-ebook
Please see our article here: https://help.ebooklaunch.com/article/124-does-ebook-launch-offer-print-book-covers-as-well-as-ebook-covers
Ebook Launch’s ebook formatting service includes the following: