Style and typography are the preserve of books, but there are ways to make an ebook read more like a real book.
An ebook differs from a real book because ebooks use flexible, flowing text.
The length of a line of text, as well as the font size, need to change depending on the size and orientation of the device used to read it.
Because of this necessity, line breaks or blank lines created using the return key cannot be used.
The best way is to use a hanging first-line indent for each new paragraph to avoid text in long un-paragraphed blocks.
Depending on the publishing platform used, if blank lines are added using the return key, they will almost always be deleted.
There is also no means to select fonts, which means that any styling using non-standard fonts will be lost.
For an ebook, Times New Roman is standard and only allows for italic, bold, and underlined styling. Font sizes are best restricted to between 12pt and 24pt.
Ebooks use only single line spacing and kerning, or letter-spacing is not possible.
Even with these restrictions, though, there are still few ways to use formatting to make an ebook look and read more, well, a little bit more, like a real book.
Use Page Breaks
Run-on pages do not look good in an ebook, so especially at the start of an ebook, use page breaks to separate the title, credits, dedication, and Table of Contents pages.
Page breaks are also recommended between chapters. Insert a page break so that each new chapter starts on a new page.
Never try to add space using the return key, as these spaces will be lost when your file is converted into ebook files such as epub or .mobi.
The only way to add space between lines is by using the format paragraph function in Word.
This is particularly useful for adding space between a chapter title and the following text, which looks much more appealing for a reader.
Another use for line space is to add a little clear space between separators.
With these few enhancements, an ebook will be more appealing for a reader.
Sure, it’s not a lot, but at least these few tips will make your ebook more enjoyable to read.
If you use Draft2Digital, it has an easy way to improve the typography and formatting for ebooks.
Here is an example of what you can do.
If you are publishing with Amazon KDP, another option is to use Kindle Create to style your ebooks.
It is especially useful for writers who are publishing poetry and need special formatting options.