The Third 5 Topics in Introduction to eBook Formatting

I’ll be teaching Introduction to eBook Formatting at the University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies as an elective in their editing program on March 14–16. This course is appropriate for publishing professionals, writers and authors, K–12 and college/university-level educators, homeschoolers, librarians, and document specialists in any line of business. I thought I’d give potential students a taste of the contents by reviewing the main topics in a bit more detail than you’ll find in the syllabus. I covered the first 5 topics in this post and the second 5 topics in this post. Here, we get down to the nitty-gritty:

11. eBook Set-Up Steps Having either removed or adapted any print-specific features, we are now ready to treat the document from beginning to end, styling each element for its eBook appearance and functionality..

12. The Table of Contents and Heads eReaders and eReading apps build the navigational table of contents from the headings in the body of the document. We’ll style them, check them, and consider the advantages and steps to make a linked internal table of contents.

13. Formatting Text Text forms the main content of many eBooks, and we’ll discuss the different practices for styling paragraphs, eBook and eReader indentation, and workarounds for documents with issues in their text formatting (from, for example, OCR or PDF export).

14. Formatting Images and Ornaments Particularly because eBooks are a newer technology, as well as because eReaders and eReading apps have different capabilities, images are handled differently in different environments. We’ll practice several different approaches, as well as the treatment of text ornaments.

15. Simple Lists and Tables After paragraphs of prose and images, lists and tables are probably the next most oft-found elements in eBooks. We’ll go over several different approaches to lists and tables, as well as a couple of clever tricks you can do with them.

Having covered all the major formatting steps, we’ll then discuss Document Review and Client Approval, which includes checking and validating your EPUB and creating at least one proof for your client (or yourself).

In the next post, I’ll review the extra topics that—if there’s time—we’ll cover (choice of topics tbd by majority vote).

Sign Up Here For more information about Introduction to eBook Formatting, offered March 14–16, 2013 at the University of Chicago Graham School at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, click here.

For the next article in the series, click here.

3 Reasons Librarians Should Learn eBook Formatting

There are many librarians whose training didn’t include information about eBooks for the very good reason that they didn’t exist when the training took place. Professional development in eBook formatting can serve librarians in several different aspects of their work. Here’s how:

1. Increased acquisitions savvy. The more you know about what is and can be inside an eBook, the quality hallmarks, and the typical errors in eBook publishing, the better able you will be to compare and evaluate digital publications and various editions of the same work to create the best possible digital collection.

2. Targeted recommendations. Just as with print editions, knowing the details about digital books can help you make savvy recommendations to library patrons with a variety of interests and needs.

3. Collection expansion. With budget limitations facing just about everyone, librarians who can format eBooks can replace or expand their collection of public domain works by creating their own editions. With this capability, libraries can have targeted editions to serve their particular population(s), using some of the same techniques an educator might use to differentiate instruction.

Here are some of the kinds of features you can use to create an enhanced edition beyond the basic text when you know basic eBook Formatting techniques:

  • background information,
  • chapter summaries,
  • charts,
  • extension questions,
  • guided reading apparatus
  • highlighting or colored text to signal structure or important points,
  • illustrations,
  • linked glossaries,
  • links to websites,
  • tables, and
  • targeted word definitions.

I teach Introduction to eBook Formatting at the University of Vermont and the University of Chicago Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies.  For more information about my next Introduction to eBook Formatting course, offered March 14–16, 2013 at the University of Chicago Graham School at the Gleacher Center in downtown Chicago, see here.