Even the most beautiful print book layouts can live on in ebook form.

Yes, legibility and readability are tantamount in ebook design, but that doesn’t mean the ebook can’t look good. Even in reflowable (as opposed to fixed-layout) books, small details can help the print book’s aesthetics come through.

Barleycorn hardcover and ebook side by side
A side-by-side comparison of the hardcover and Kindle versions of Barleycorn, by Harold Auckridge. One small detail: The ornament between the chapter number and chapter title is drawn from the figure within the dropcap on the same page. Each chapter has an ornament matching the dropcap of that chapter.


Cold Heart back matter on Japanese seasons, in paperback and Kindle
A page from the back matter of Cold Heart, by Katherine M. Lawrence, in three different formats (left to right): paperback, Kindle version shown on a Kindle Paperwhite, and same Kindle page shown in the Kindle iPhone app.

Progressive Enhancement

Simpler display of the Solar Stems of medieval Japan in a nested list format

A reality of the ebook realm is that people read on all sorts of devices, some of which are ten years old. There are ereaders with small screens or low resolution. To attempt to display complex information such as what’s in these tables would result in a mess.

Therefore, I code alternate versions of the same information formatted in simpler ways that can be presented on these older devices.

In this case, the 4-column table is presented instead as a nested list.

All the same information, but laid out for smaller screens.

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