Achieving Beautiful Typography in eBooks

Amanda Gomm (Digital Bindery)
Location: Empire/Hudson Level:
Average rating: ***..
(3.62, 8 ratings)

We know how to typeset print books, and by now, we know how to crank out EPUBs. It’s time to create some typographical standards for the eBooks we publish. Join publication designer and EPUB expert Anne-Marie Concepcion as she lays out how we can get the twains to meet.

Be prepared to be blown away at some of the best examples of typographically-beautiful eBooks currently in the marketplace, and then “peek under the covers” to see what kind of HTML and CSS mark-up were used to create it. She’ll present a checklist of common challenges and how those are met by the top eBook designers in our field. You’ll be able to bring back techniques you can use today to vault your eBooks to the top ranks of beautiful typography.

Topics that Anne-Marie will cover include:

  • Keeping text aligned “across the spread”
  • Forcing page breaks
  • Drop Caps
  • Creative head and subhead treatments
  • Keeping images and captions together
  • Creating a visual hiearchy
  • New features in EPUB 3
Photo of Amanda Gomm

Amanda Gomm

Digital Bindery

Seattle-born, techy, book nerd, and perfectionist, Amanda received Master’s degree in Book Publishing from Portland State University. A lifelong obsession with art, marketing statistics, and digital trends led her to realize the potential for ebooks to entertain and inspire readers instead of annoying and frustrating them in the way they often do. Partnering with design-savvy tech guru Tom McCluskey, Amanda co-founded Digital Bindery to solve digital publishing problems with particular attention to the artisan aesthetic.

Comments on this page are now closed.


gailcats Richardson
10/06/2012 8:45pm EDT

Since the focus of this conference seems to be the aesthetic appearance of e-books, maybe this comment is misdirected, but I’d like to bring attention to an important issue: Many books published for Kindle seem to have undergone NO copy editing or proofreading! I gather this is related to the individual author and/or publisher because of the wide variability of samples: some Kindle books are nearly error-free, yet others are rife with typographical, mechanical, and grammatical errors (not to mention content-related problems in some cases, e.g. logic, continuity, organization, etc.). Aside from self-published books (and shame on those authors anyway for (a.) their lousy presentation skills regardless of the possible value of their content and (b.) their negligence in not getting an editor, or at LEAST a proofreader, to help them if they lack such skills!), I am amazed, not only that people get away with publishing books for Kindle with apparently no quality standards at all for format as well as content, but also that so relatively few readers seem to be concerned, or even to notice, such shoddy presentations.

I contacted Amazon’s Kindle department several times, asking how I could contact publishers/authors offering to proofread the books that desperately need it. They gave me the runaround.

I think it’s great that these days writers have unprecedented freedom and tools to self-publish. However, it’s equally unfortunate that there seem to be NO quality control standards for publication anymore—and even worse that readers seem to be becoming less and less literate, such that they can’t discern errors, lack of clarity, etc. and moreover don’t care.


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