Fixed-Layout vs Reflowable eBooks:
  Which Format Is Right For Me?

When you turn your manuscript into an ebook, the first decision you must make is which format type to use. This guide will help you decide real quick, even if you didn’t hear about the different type of eBooks before. All you have to be familiar with is the content of your book, which shouldn’t present a challenge to any author.

The Reflowable eBook (Also Known As The Standard Layout)

The reflowable eBook layout is what most fiction writers and non-fiction writers should choose when deciding between eBook conversion layouts.

This format is the best for publications that have a simple, one-column layout and mostly include text. If you have some small images, they should be embedded between paragraphs.

This layout is accepted by most of the devices, so it offers authors a larger distribution opportunity. This eBook format also offers the readers some control over the text, only limited by their e-reader’s capabilities. However, this also means that authors have little control over how their content will be displayed and they are also somewhat limited in their font use.

The reflowable layout is cheaper to produce, results in a smaller file size and it’s quicker to update. It became the standard layout for a reason. You have probably heard about the most common reflowable formats, which are Mobi (Amazon Kindle) and ePUB (Apple devices, Nook, Google Play, Overdrive). You can upload your reflowable eBook to all the big retailers and it will work on most of the eReaders and also computers.

The Fixed-Layout eBook

The fixed layout eBook format is the one you need for graphic-heavy publications or if you want your text to be multi-column or have any other design related needs.

These eBook formats are mostly used for cookbooks, illustrated books such as children’s books and technical publications. It’s the digital equivalent of typesetting.

The fixed layout offers total control over how you display your content, it doesn’t give readers any options to change up the fonts, spacing, margins or text size. However, this might lead to reader discomfort if the text size is too small.

Not every retailer accepts fixed layout eBooks and the eReader device support is limited as well. Fixed-layout formats include KF8 (Kindle Devices), ePub3 (Apple, Google, Kobo) and PagePerfect (Barnes&Nobles). These formats have larger file sizes and are more expensive to produce and update.

So Who Wins Reflowable Vs. Fixed Layout?

The decision is yours to make. Most of the time, you will be better off with the standard format, but there are exceptions when you can really benefit from the features of a fixed layout. But if a wide distribution opportunity is your goal, you should stick with the standard formats.

Here’s A Quick Recap

Reflowable/Standard Format:

Advantage Disadvantage
Works with most devices and retailers Simple, one-column pages only
Readers control the display of text No control over text display
Smaller file sizes Can only use specific fonts
Cheaper to produce and update No heavy design or graphic elements

 

Fixed-Layout Formats:

Advantage Disadvantage
Total control over text display Smaller number of retailers and devices
Can use graphics and design elements heavily Readability problems might occur
Multi-column pages available Large file sizes
Supports most fonts (device dependent) More expensive to produce and update

 

If you still can’t make up your mind, just send us a message and rely on our experts to make your manuscript come into life. Or proceed to check out our outstanding eBook conversion & other services.

 

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