EBook Formats: Reflowable and Fixed Layouts

One of the first things that you have to understand about publishing an eBook is that there are two types of formats, reflowable and fixed-layout. It’s important to understand what this all means before having your book converted.

Reflowable eBooks are the industry standard for books published onto the Amazon Kindle, iBooks, and Nook platforms. This type of format works on every eReading device and is not limited to a certain genre of books.

Reflowable eBooks give the reader full control of their reading experience, allowing them to change a number of features including:

  • Font Type
  • Font Size
  • Font Color
  • Line Spacing
  • Margins

Naturally, if the reader has control over these factors then every time someone views a book, things like page count and orphans/widows will be completely unique to the reader. This might sound annoying but readers love having full control of their reading experience.

Fixed-Layout eBooks are based on a fixed design, meaning that readers are unable to change anything. This format is reserved for projects that require a specific page layout. Some examples include children’s books and graphic’s novels. However, very technical publications fall under this category as well but this situation is very rare.

Due to the very nature, there are some severe limitations on what books can be published in a fixed-layout and where they can be published.

Fixed-layout eBooks MUST be one of the following:

  • Children’s Book that is highly illustrated.
  • Highly illustrated Fiction or Non-Fiction books.
  • Graphic’s Novels
  • Highly Illustrated Technical Manuals.

If a book does not meet one of these prerequisites, then it will not be allowed to be published as a fixed-layout eBook.

In addition to those limitations, the following retailers are the only ones who will accept fixed-layout eBooks:

  • Amazon (KF8 Only)
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Kobo
  • Overdrive
  • Barnes & Noble (Page Perfect Only)

A fixed-layout book will not covert correctly if view on an incompatible device. That’s why the industry standard is reflowable eBooks.