Monday, November 28, 2011

Navigation in iBooks: Fixed layout screen controls

Most of us have seen ebooks with “reflowable” text that the reader can enlarge or shrink as desired.

While this is fine for text-only books or those with spot illustrations, it doesn’t work for a picture book. As seen in the above screenshots from the Winnie-the-Pooh iBook, when the text is enlarged (on the right), the tree illustration is pushed onto the next page, leaving a blank white area. This gives book designers the heebie-jeebies, along with the lack of fonts. In addition, the artwork cannot cover the 2-page spread in the reflowable format, due to the white borders along the edges and in the gutter.

Picture books typically have the text on top of the artwork, which is impossible to achieve with a normal ePub, Kindle, or similar format. Fortunately the iBook, NOOK, and now the Kindle Fire formats allow a fixed layout, which means the art and words keep the same relative size and location on the page. Yay!

The way you navigate around this type of iBook is different. This video shows how the screen controls work in my fixed layout iBook, Tracks in the Sand:

Let me know if you have any questions! If anyone is familiar with how the NOOK and Fire tablets work with fixed layout vs. reflowable, please chime in.

Loreen Leedy
my web site 

1 comment:

  1. That looks interesting.
    My crude solution about three months ago was to treat each page as a static thing, with the text and the picture jpegged onto the same image if that makes sense. I mean the text and image were combined in one jpg. . . Then I made the book a series of single pages in InDesign CS4, and converted it in Calibre. That worked well in Kindle format and in epub format on my iPad, but it failed the Blurb books epub upload criteria. I got fed up at that point as i had spent a lot of time on it all and didn't want to spend any more learning XML or whatever.
    It hasn't sold many at all, which is a shame as i am sure there are many people out there who would like it. I am a well known children's book artist and writer who just wanted to try self publishing something ;-(

    It's called 'Come To Bed, Red!'
    Jonathan Allen