Alexander Becker

Production Notes

I provide ideation services, conceptual and technical consulting, from visionary design to professional execution and presentation. I am an experienced designer, the creative mind behind alter ego Lyrois and author of "None of This is Real."

Ebook vs. PDF

With PDFs you have a static layout -- basically 'what you see is what you get' -- while with ebooks you have dynamic, reflowable text that adjusts to the screen size -- hence, no pages, nor page numbers. With ebooks, the reader can change fonts, font size, and sometimes line-spacing, margins, and justification. As ebooks don't have pages, you can't use page numbers to navigate in a table of contents. Instead, the table of contents is hyperlinked to the respective sections and chapters of the book. Instead of an index, you use the screen reader's search function to locate specific references.

Page numbers aren't in the PDF since they are added automatically by the screen reader app from the ebook. Depending on screen size and the font selected by the user, an ebook may have more or less "pages" when in reality it is just one "stream" of text that the reader is scrolling through.

Having new chapters start on new pages needs to be looked at carefully since it may disrupt the stream (see above) and the user might be misled by the break into thinking that teh end is reached.

Comparison

PDF ebook
Pages yes no
Fixed layout yes no
Fonts fixed dynamic
Font size fixed dynamic
Justification fixed dynamic
Color yes no (for compatibility)
Multicolumn yes no
Images Wrapped within text Between paragraphs
Notes Footnotes Endnotes

Reference

A reflowable document is a type of electronic document that can adapt its presentation to the output device. Typical prepress or fixed page size output formats like PDF are not reflowable during the actual printing process because the page is not resized. For end users, HTML is a reflowable format as is the case with any resizable electronic page format. ePUB is a simple reflowable format that allows a single column with inline images, in many ways similar to a stripped-down HTML.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflowable_document