We’d Like Some Feedback On eBook Layout

July 1st, 2012

We have several new educational products in the pipeline for this year. As with all of the current PFRE products they are educational focused on the goal of helping real estate photographers get started in business and be more successful. I don’t want to get specific until the products are closer to launch but I will say a couple of the products will be new eBooks. Since it’s been a while since I’ve asked for general feedback on ebooks design and options I’d like to hear readers feedback on eBooks. Here is the current summary of the principles that have been guiding the design of the eBooks we publish so far:

  1. For photographic oriented eBooks like we publish the PDF format is still the best format because:
    • PDF works everywhere desktops, laptops, tablets, SmartPhones and Kindles.
    • Other eBook formats like ePub try to reformat and reflow everything on the fly which is great if you just have text but doesn’t work well when the book has a lot of photos and diagrams.
  2. We’ve decided not to publish in the Apple iBook format at this time because it only works on IOS devices.
  3. In 2011 we converted the previously vertical 8.5×11″ PDF format of our eBooks to a horizontal (landscape) layout that works better on computer screens.
  4. When we changed to horizontal format we kept the 8.5×11″ aspect ratio pages so that you can also print the ebook and spiral bind it or punch holes along the top and put it in a 3 ring binder.

Recently we’ve had some discussion about the fact that when you view the current eBooks fullscreen on a computer there’s some wasted space on the left and right side of the screen because 8.5×11″ is a narrower aspect ratio than most computer screens. We could fix this by making the layout wider, but then the wider layout wouldn’t look as good on the printed page.

We’ve decided to get you input on this subject so please use the poll on the right to give us your input.


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10 Responses to “We’d Like Some Feedback On eBook Layout”

  • Also, e-readers (with e-ink) such as Kindle and Nook should be considered. They have vertical screens, though can be (somewhat awkwardly) held and used sideways.

  • @Kerrick- I’ve talked to users that are reading my PDF ebooks on the Kindle … the Nook also reads PDFs.

  • Thank you for your great e-book, Larry. I had the first edition and missed downloading the second edition. THANKS for having the integrity to offer these updates! Have now downloaded your version 3.
    I am excited because I have just performed my FIRST r-e photography, interior shots of a high quality, large senior residence in Roseville, Calif. Customer was THRILLED with the quality of my pics (totally because of things I learned from your first e-book a couple of years ago when I read it). Customer has hired me to shoot another of their facilities next week. I bought a new Sigma 10-20mm lens, on a Nikon D7000, used a tripod and this was my very first HDR usage (successful). Used Corel Paint Shop Pro for HDR. My results came out best with NO FLASH, I tried it both ways, but editing was EXTREMELY time consuming.
    Probably need to learn something about lighting. I am great at lighting for wedding photography — have performed this for a quarter century — but interior lighting is something I have no experience with. I’ll send you a link to the completed results from the senior residence in about a week, am very proud of how they came out!
    God bless — Doug Easton

  • Lots of great information with each update. I continually review the information and your blog for update info I can use.

  • I like the horizontal layout since i read it mostly on wide screens. I’ve considered printing it out also, so it’s nice that it is formatted for this already. As for the PDF format, it’s my preferred format for about anything since it works for all devices. I’m on my second time through this book and it’s been a wealth of information. I once before did RE photography but after a long distance move I’m really doing my research before starting again. This book has put me on the fast track to building a bigger and better business.

  • Larry, I’m reading more and more books and PDFs on my iPad which is a vertical format. It’s more natural to hold it that way. Yes, I can read your PDFs laid out in landscape format but it’s awkward. I can put my iPad into portrait format then zoom in and scroll around to read your PDFs but that too is awkward. I’d like to see you create a portrait version of the PDFs so they’re more naturally readable on ebook readers. Unfortunately that wasn’t one of the choices on your poll.

  • @Rich- Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I can appreciate the problem you are talking about. As a iPad user you get used to holding your iPad either horizontally or vertically and with the current layout you are constrained to horizontal only.

    The real solution to your feedback is make a iBook version then every thing would work as you expect. I have to think about this more.

  • horizontal is so much better for a digital format. too wide is not good because it won’t work on non wide displays. but imo comparing it to a vertical format it’s night and day. really like the improvement.

  • Larry – don’t change anything – they look great. However, you should make an ibook version because there is a whole universe of people that would see your book that wouldn’t see it without being a blog subscriber.

  • Seems like I use my iPad for reading everything nowadays. I know that everything can be improved to some extent, but, for me, the current layout is just fine.

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