Make an Ebook more like a real book

Style and typography are the preserve of books, but there are ways to make an ebook read more like a real book.

An ebook differs from a real book because ebooks use flexible, flowing text. In other words, the length of a line of text, as well as the font size, need to change depending on the size and orientation of the device used to read it.

Because of this necessity, line breaks or blank lines created by using the return key cannot be used, so it is always recommended to use a hanging first line indent for each new paragraph to avoid text in long un-paragraphed blocks.

Depending on the publishing platform used, if blank lines are added using the return key, they will almost always be deleted.

There is also no means to select fonts, which means that any styling using non-standard fonts will be lost. For an ebook, Times New Roman is standard, and only allows for italic, bold and underlined styling. Font sizes are best restricted to between 12pt and 24pt.

Ebooks use only single line spacing and kerning, or letter spacing is not possible.

Even with these restrictions, though, there are a still few ways to use formatting to make an ebook look and read more, well, a little bit more, like a real book.

Use Page Breaks

Run on pages do not look good in an ebook, so especially at the start of an ebook, use page breaks to separate the title, credits, dedication and Table of Contents pages.

Insert Page Break in an ebook

Page breaks are also recommended between chapters. Insert a page break so that each new chapter starts on a new page.

Chapter on a new page

Making Space

Never try to add space using the return key, as these spaces will be lost when your file is converted into ebook files such as epub or mobi. The only way to add space between lines is by using the format paragraph function in Word. This is particularly useful for adding space between a chapter title and the following text, which looks much more appealing for a reader.

Add line space after chapter title

Another use for line space is to add a little clear space between separators.

Making Space between paragraphs in ebooks

With these few enhancements, an ebook will be more appealing for a reader. Sure, it’s not a lot, but at least these four tips will make you ebook more enjoyable to read.

This page was last updated on March 5th, 2017

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