What is Fixed Layout eBook Format?
We are receiving so many requests to create fixed layout ebook formats and authors/publishers are curious over this version of ebook formats. There is surely a reason to be this curiosity!
Fixed layout ebook formats are one of the most popular formats of eBooks today, especially for children’s books and comic book conversion. These books can contain enhancements that make them more interactive and interesting. Though the content is not re-flowable in these formats, they are the fully functional HTML based ebook files.
Initially, the fixed layout ebook formats were used in Apple devices only, but since Kindle does not want to miss this side of the audience, they too released the advanced version of Kindle devices (Kindle Fire series) in the market. Which means now ePub had its own Fixed Layout version, now Mobi too will have its own Fixed Layout version which can be played on Kindle devices. So now all four largest eBook retailers (Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo) are supporting fixed layout ebook formats. Like-wise Amazon supports the Kf8 format, Apple – Kobo supports Apple’s fixed layout format and Barnes & Noble supports Nooks kids format.
The majority of eBooks in these fixed-layout formats are children’s books and comic books which generally has full wide colorful images and a specific style guide. It can also be used for art books, pamphlets, cookbooks, and other materials that need to retain their original layouts.
Authors and Publishers are still looking for more guidance over these formats, devices for reading these formats and the platform to sell. Let me talk about all these formats one by one:
Amazon’s Kindle Format 8
Authors and publishers have already created thousands of KF8 titles and customers are enjoying the improved version of Mobi pocket with some great features of fixed layout.
KF8 adds over 150 new formatting capabilities which include scalable vector images, sidebars, drop caps, numbered lists, fixed layouts, nested tables, and callouts. Kindle Fire is the first Kindle device to support KF8 ebook format.
It is the updated version of the older Mobi Pocket version. It included the proprietary fixed layout format. It also allows readers to tap into the text and see it in magnified view. Currently, this format does not allow audio, video integration but you can play these formats on new Kindle fire device. Amazon has announced Kindle Previewer also to view these formats though Kindle fire is the primary device to read these formats.
Apple’s Fixed Layout Format
For Apple’s fixed layout ePub format, you have to take the original content and create eBook files that match the layout and formatting as closely as possible to the print layout using HTML, CSS, and embedded fonts. The end result is an iBooks-ready file with beautiful design and high-quality graphics.
In addition to standard fixed layout files, Apple’s platform supports audio & video integration, as well as some animation and interactivity options which are not available in the other fixed layout formats currently.
If you have an audio file available for your eBook, it can be added as a media overlay to fixed-layout ePubs in Apple’s platform, allowing readers to have the eBook read to them as they follow along. Fixed layout files in iBooks can support a variety of interesting animations and enhancements as well.
You can also add video and audio clips to fixed layout files. These clips have to display with the standard video and audio player windows, but this is a great option for adding more value to the contents of your eBook.
We have already discussed this format in our recent blog “Apple Fixed Layout format“.
Barnes & Noble’s Fixed Layout eBooks
They have their own proprietary format for fixed layout eBook files. They are generally called Nook Kids format. You can play this format in Barnes & Noble “Nook Color”. It has new features which support for kids books that mostly picture in it.
These formats are only intended for children’s eBooks, so the non-fiction titles are not possible on this platform at this time. However, children’s comic books in the Nook platform do look very beautiful and they can include audio files as well. As the pages cannot be zoomed in, so this format allows the reader to tap on a block of text and see that text zoomed in on the screen. If the eBook has audios built in they will be able to see a play button so that they can play the audio/video associated with the fixed layout.
So if you are concerned about choosing the platform, you will need to create three separate formats of your book. Apple fixed layout for iBook store, Kf8 for Amazon and Nook Kids for Barnes & Noble. Kobo supports Apple’s format so no additional format required.