Exploring the Possibilities of Fixed-Layout Ebooks

by Simon Collinson on

Vook’s Adam Schnapper shows off fixed-layout's possibilities with his gorgeously illustrated new book

Many authors and publishers are still working out the pros and cons of reflowable and fixed-layout ebooks. In the past, we’ve explained the difference between the two formats, but today we’re excited to show you a stunning ebook created by our own Adam Schnapper, who experimented with fixed layout. It’s an illustrated version of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic story, Rappaccini’s Daughter. Here’s a Vine we made introducing the book:

Although its full page illustrations might remind you of one, Rappaccini’s Daughter isn’t necessarily a children’s book – Adam calls it “art-infused dramatic fiction that adults can enjoy too.”

“I wanted to experiment with the fixed layout reading experience for a fiction book,” he said. “Often fixed layout is reserved for children’s books, or ‘coffee table’ style non-fiction books that are heavy on photography.”

Many print publishers insist on the notion that eBooks must have a fixed layout, like their print predecessors. Others argue the legibility that reflowable offers is unmatched. So where do you stand? For 99 cents you can find out!

Adam continues, “I saw how beautifully the iPad displayed scanned paintings in Joey O’Connor’s book Create: Transforming Stories of Art, Life & Faith. So quite simply, I took my favorite story and teamed up with New York artist Yevgenia Nayberg, who provided beautiful illustrations. Her work is the perfect example of how eBooks can show beautiful texture and detail in paintings, right alongside the text.”

Using white text on a dark background has a number of advantages: it reduces eye strain in low-light environments, while at the same time making colors seem deeper and richer. This is a true reversal of the print-first philosophy of book design, since the designers are working with light rather than ink and paper. Using less white also means that the iPad doesn’t have to use all of its backlighting, which conceivably saves battery power. The images used for the page backgrounds have gradients where they meet the "spine" to exaggerate iBooks' page curling effect. We're sure you'll agree that all these innovations help make Rappaccini's Daughter a truly enchanting ebook.

With flexible text wrapping and beautiful, high-res backgrounds, Rappaccini’s Daughter shows off some of the most exciting capabilities of fixed-layout ebooks. Buy your copy here, or talk to Adam today about making your own!

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