Fixed-Layout as the name itself indicates, is a layout technique used to retain the look and feel as that of its source file. This technique best suits Children books, Photography books (like tourism guides which contain maps) and Cookbooks since they contain illustrations rich in color, a pleasing background art, and fancy fonts. Aesthetics are more important for the books of this kind. The other category of books are flowing books where the text flows (meaning that text adapts itself to the screen size) without having the reader to scroll up or down (left or right). We cannot fix a paragraph to be at a certain position in flowing books. If we happen to increase the font size, that paragraph may move to the next page. But this is not the case with fixed layout books, we must fix a paragraph to be at a certain place. We cannot increase or decrease font size for fixed layout books; we must fix the type size (font size) at the beginning itself. Each retailer has their own fixed layout format and hence a separate file is to be created for each retailer.
Steps involved in creating fixed-layout
We usually test the appearance and position of text in a browser while designing, so it may not look the same (I mean the look in a device may be slightly different from a browser) when we put that on a device. Testing and fine-tuning is compulsory.
Text Popups and how they Enhance Readability in kindle books
Text popups are meant for enhancing readability in Kindle eBooks. We do not add this feature by ourselves, it’s a recommendation by Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=3381090011. Let me explain this in detail since we’re dealing with fixed-layout books here, when I say a book I mean a fixed-layout book in this section. Different devices have different screen sizes (Viewing area on a screen) and each retailer has their own fixed-layout format for their device. IPad has a bigger screen size while Kindle and Nook have smaller screens. The size of a spread (A page) is not the same on all devices. Especially on smaller screen devices. We need to decrease the font size to make all the text to fit in a page (or spread). On a bigger screen device we can increase the font size a bit and yet fit all the text in to a spread. So it becomes really hard for the reader to read smaller text on a device with smaller screen. Text popups act like magnifying lens enabling readers to read the text on a device’s screen. It’s a good practice to add text popups, because different readers have different degrees of visibility and this feature will come in handy when required.
Adjusting text popups
Adjusting text popups manually is a time taking process. When we first create a text popup, it might look like one below.
Overlapping popups: A text popup when created might overlap with the surrounding text making it look ugly. We must adjust this manually. See below