Guidelines for Great EPUBs
Toad Reader was built to be a simple, beautiful suite of apps which get out of the way. This is because what your users are really after are your books. But how do you produce great EPUBs?
First and foremost
There are a few things that are non negotiables. Books distributed through Toad Reader apps may not contain nudity or sexually explicit content (neither in pictures, videos, nor descriptive text or audio). Neither may they promote, incite or glorify violence. Finally, books may not be used to purposely propigate falacious information and/or aim to exploit readers.
But now that those unpleasant pieces are out of the way, let’s talk about great EPUBs.
EPUB 3 is truly an exciting standard with endless potential for packaging content in creative, helpful and gorgeous ways. But, truth be told, its potential for cringe-worthy books is no less great. Let’s shoot for the former together.
This starts with setting forth some clear principles. Yes, there will be exceptions to the rules. But if you want to create great EPUBs, you will keep them the exceptions.
The first principle is to keep your EPUBs clean, simple and standard. Bells and whistles are obnoxious unless you are watching a children’s parade. In the same way, the fact that there are a million and one possible features with the EPUB standard does not mean you should use them all. Ask yourself what will truly add to the reader’s experience of this book and say no to the neon lights. Your book does not need more cowbell.
Second, make your books reflowable—not fixed layout. Again, there will be exceptions to this, but they ought to be few. Why, you ask? See for yourself. Download Alive to Wonder
by John Piper in PDF format (which is fixed-layout) on your phone or tablet and read a chapter. Then, open this same book in the Toad Reader iOS
app (now in reflowable format) and read chapter two. The difference in experience is stark.
As a final principle, use images thoughtfully. When it comes to graphics, it is the quality of the images you produce which will make your book beautiful, not the quantity. In addition, include your images in such a way that they fill the screen without losing their proportions. It is amazing how ugly a gorgeous graphic becomes when stretched and distorted!
How will you do all this? Thankfully, there are many companies who will professionally convert your books to the EPUB 3 format. We too are happy to take-on EPUB conversion
projects. Our rates
compare with other quality conversion companies, with the added guarantee that your books will look great in your Toad Reader apps.
Alternatively, if you have personnel skilled in HTML5 and CSS3, many resources are available for them to be trained in producing EPUBs. Read Accessible EPUB 3
for an outline of core technical principles involved in creating EPUB 3 files. You’d also do well to make your EPUBs accessible to those with disabilities and other reading challenges by giving attention to DAISY’s reference
on the subject. Take a semantic approach and don’t neglect the addition of metadata. Whether or not it makes a difference in the reading experience now, it may very well down the road. You may want to use IDPF’s sample EPUBS
to determine how best to implement the features you’d like to include. And lastly, validate your EPUBs via IDPF's online validator
The most important part
The most important aspect to a quality eBook is the content. Choose books that are genuinely insightful, helpful and clear. And most importantly, choose books that are true. If it is a book about the most important things—about God and eternity and right and wrong—we recommend you choose books which accord with the truth of God as revealed in the Bible, and not the opinions of man.