eBooks: Real Lookers…Or are they?

eBooks: Real Lookers…Or are they?

Let me tell you about The Other Problem with Uncle Teddy’s Memoir.

The Problem With Uncle Teddy's Memoir
The Problem With Uncle Teddy’s Memoir

As I created the look of The Problem with Uncle Teddy’s Memoir, my goal was to make the letters and office notes look as real as possible and to mirror the standard for manuscripts in Uncle Teddy’s manuscript pages.

There were limits to how close to reality I could get. For a manuscript page, for example, I had to leave room for the actual page number of my book and leave out the page number that Theo Kingman would have typed on it. For the notes and letters, I used handwriting style fonts. Each character has his or her own font—admittedly, a compromise. Scans of actual notes and letters written by different friends would have been wonderful to use. Maybe next time…

Now, when you look at the digital edition, some pages behave as images—for example the coffee-stained page of Uncle Teddy’s own notes that features in the book and on the cover—but when you look at this page on an eReader, the page is presented small size. Luckily, you can double tap it to bring it up larger. If each handwritten note or letter had been a scan of a physical note or letter, you’d also have to double tap the page!

To avoid double tapping the notes and letters, I had to face issues with the fonts themselves. Not all eReaders will allow the author or publisher to embed all the fonts used in the text into the digital copy of the book. What normally happens is that nonstandard fonts are substituted with generic fonts common to all devices.

The eReader designers have good reasons to do this. When the size of the text changes, the pages must be “reflowed.” What does that mean? You’ll notice if you increase the size of the text, your page count goes up. Of course! There are fewer words to the page, therefore there are more pages. The e-book must be “reflowable.”

Consequently, in the reflowable digital edition of The Problem with Uncle Teddy’s Memoir, the appearance of reality is lost. Notes might spread over two or three pages. Handwritten letters spread sidewise when you turn your device. Inevitably, the book does not look as I originally intended.

I have addressed my “reality” problem in two ways:

First, I created a reflowable e-book for those who really want to read the book on their Nook or Kindle and don’t mind that it won’t look quite right.

Second, I created a fixed-format e-book, designed for reading on the iPad. This edition comes much closer to my original intent. The manuscript pages reflow, but the individual letters and notes adhere to their proper structure.

This is why, when you look for The Problem with Uncle Teddy’s Memoir online, you’ll see four different ISBNs:

978-1-935751-24-3—the paperback

978-1-935751-25-0—the reflowable edition, available for Kindle, Nook, and other devices

978-1-935751-26-7—the iPad edition, available only through the Apple iStore.

And, for those of you who really, really need to hold the hardback edition in your hands,

978-1-935751-27-4 is available directly from www.edcharlton.com—signed of course!

Whichever your choice, happy reading!

Buy the book at Amazon here

or read about it on Goodreads here

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Copyright Ed Charlton 2022