Turning Art Books into Ebooks

This week’s guest blog post is from Tina Henderson, who has been involved in the design and production of hundreds of books in multiple languages for book publishers, museums, and self-publishers. She has worked with publishers of art books since 1993. Take it away, Tina!

Art book publishers are committed to producing high-quality books, and a great deal of care is given to every aspect of a printed art book. Equal care should be given to the production of a digital art book, and choosing a digital format is the first step.

Fixed-layout epub might be a great choice for a book of mostly images. But for art books with hundreds of words per page, it’s probably not the best option. The image below shows a text-heavy page and unlinked index from a fixed-layout epub on an iPhone. The text can’t be easily read without zooming in and scrolling around on each individual page, and the index could be much improved by linking to the appropriate pages.

Interaction of Color by Josef Albers, a bespoke app, is an amazing creation, but the budgets for most art books won’t allow for such an expense. A DPS book app is a much cheaper way to go, but if you aren’t careful about your content, Apple may reject the app. I wrote about such rejections here.

Since not all art books are alike, there isn’t one digital format that works for them all. I’ll be expanding on this topic in my ebookcraft presentation, Crafting the Art (e)Book.

Tina Henderson will be presenting at ebookcraft in Toronto on March 5, 2014. For more information on ebookcraft and to register, please visit ebookcraft.booknetcanada.ca.