You will probably already be aware that eBooks are developed with the same technology that creates web pages; that is, HTML and CSS. Therefore, if you already have an understanding of these languages, you should find creating an eBook fairly straightforward.
In this article, I shall be looking at the structure of the average book - and developing an HTML framework to mirror that structure. Then, we shall be looking at how to apply appropriate styling to complete the eBook's formatting. You can take a look at the completed eBook by downloading it from the 'demo' button — or you can download all of the seperate finished files by clicking on the 'documents' button below.
There are no hard and fast rules for how you should or shouldn't layout your eBook, but the publishing industry does have certain conventions that should be adheared to if you would like your eBook to resemble a professionally finished document.
All books can be split into three basic sections. These are refered to as: The Front Matter; The Body Matter and The End Matter. Each section is made up of smaller sections that you may – or may not wish to add. Not all of the sub-sections are compulsory and you can see from the information in the table below which parts are optional.
|FRONT MATTER||BODY MATTER||BACK MATTER|
|Table of Contents||Back Cover|
These are the sections into which a book is divided.
If your book also contains pictures or figures that provide information or enhance the text in some way, then include a “List of Illustrations” directly after the Table of Contents. The same goes if your book includes several key tables that provide information or text enhancement - this should also follow the Table of Contents
If many Abbreviations are used or if a Chronology is required, then a listing is very useful. Its location should always be given in the Table of Contents, and it should be placed after the Introduction, just before the start of the Body of the book.
If your main text requires Notes to amplify or document certain passages throughout the text, (as is often the case with academic works) arrange the notes by Chapter order in a Notes Section. This should be placed between the Appendix and the Glossary.
If your book is a multiauthor work where only the volume editor’s name appears on the title page; a List of Contributors should be placed in the back matter, between the Bibliography and the Index.
Finally, it is quite common to see a list or lists of Resources at the end of a book, before the back cover, of course. Readers often want to buy products or join organizations in the field in which you've written. A list of organizations and associations, manufacturers and distributors, Websites and other resources can be invaluable to your readers.
Be confident in your work, but be careful not to put a book out into the world until you are sure that it is your very best work and professional in all respects (writing, editing, cover design, formatting, etc.). As with anything, you get only one chance to make a first impression, and every reader deserves a quality product.
Probably the most simple page to code (along with the back cover) - Just make sure you pull out all the stops when it comes to designing the front cover. It really is worth getting professional help for the design work.
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