So you’re excited to open up your new book, freshly downloaded to an ereader. It might be the Amazon Kindle, maybe the Barnes & Noble Nook, or even a tablet using a book app. The anticipation rises, the new download opens to the title display, then after turning a few pages it opens to the first chapter. Three words in you realize you don’t like the font. Or maybe not. It’s more likely the font style and size are the furthest thing from your mind. As you read, a few hundred other people are likely reading that same novel, but are experiencing it in entirely different ways. Aside from the personal taste and perspective every reader brings to a story, there’s also the technical components of reading devices that allow people to customize their experience, and manufacturers to reach a wider audience with ebooks.
Ten percent of people in the developed world and fifteen percent in the developing world have some degree of impairment that can seriously affect their ability to read, such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, or motor disabilities.
Every day there’s another story about how Amazon is changing the marketplace, and not just for books. Because I think we ignore Amazon (and others) at our peril, I turn to “The Shatzkin Files” to stay informed.
There are so many different types of wearable tech now—watches, glasses, cameras, headsets, and more—that ignoring such a market would be a missed opportunity. While it may seem as though the publishing industry has no place in such tiny tech, research shows that there are ways that publishing companies can implement this technology to their benefit.
I was struck by the power of what I had been learning poring over my programming books. Anyone who, like me, was willing to spend some time, could now build a virtual printing press.
A reflowable ebook layout provides the flexibility necessary to display properly on the widest variety of ereaders. The problem with reflowable layouts, though, is the proper display. Readers can customize font, size, and alignment of the text in an ebook. Traditional mandates of book design must be altered or ignored for ebook design.