The publishing industry has grown significantly with the advent of advanced digital technology. One of the major drivers of growth in publishing has been the rise of e-books and audiobooks. The e-book industry is expected to reach a whopping $14.21 billion by the end of 2023.
Audiobooks and eBooks have made it easy for readers to access books on the go and have opened new markets for publishers. Additionally, digital publishing has reduced the cost of production and distribution, making it easier for independent authors and small publishers to compete with larger publishing companies.
As the print publishing industry continues to grow, the question of reflowable or fixed-layout has become increasingly important. If you are also in the publishing industry and confused about the persistent question of reflowable or fixed layout, you are at the right place.
These two formats are the most commonly used in e-books, and they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. To help you decide which is better and why we have discussed both formats in detail, along with their respective advantages and disadvantages.
Table of Contents:
- What is a Reflowable Layout?
- Advantages of a Reflowable Layout
- Disadvantages of a Reflowable Layout
- What is a Fixed Layout?
- Advantages of Fixed Layout
- Disadvantages of Fixed Layout
- Which is Better Reflowable or Fixed Layout?
- Closing Thoughts
What is a Reflowable Layout?
The reflowable layout is referred to as the format that allows the text of an e-book to be resized and reformatted based on the screen size of the reader’s device.
In reflowable books, the text easily flows from one page to another without unnecessary page breaks. Even if the reader changes the orientation of the page or the font size, the text automatically adjusts itself to fit the new dimensions of the screen.
Advantages of a Reflowable Layout
Mentioned here are the advantages of a reflowable layout:
1. Adaptable to Different Devices
Reflowable books are ideal for readers who use different devices to read e-books, such as smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. The text of the book will adjust to the screen size of the device, making it easy to read on any device.
2. Easy to Create
Reflowable books are relatively easy to create and publish. Authors can convert their manuscripts to an e-book format using various software easily available online.
Some of the known software are Calibre, Amazon’s Kindle Create, etc. These softwares make the process of converting a manuscript to a reflowable e-book very easy, convenient, and quick.
3. Lower Production Costs
Since reflowable books are easier to produce, they typically cost less to create and publish. This makes them an ideal choice for small publishing houses and self-publishing authors.
Usually, first-time self-publishing authors do not prefer spending too much on production. Hence, for them, in the debate between reflowable or fixed layout, reflowable layout easily wins.
Disadvantages of a Reflowable Layout
Mentioned here are the disadvantages of a reflowable layout:
1. Limited Design Options
Although reflowable format books are easy and cheap to produce, they come with limited design options because the text reflows to fit the screen. Therefore, the author cannot use complex formatting, such as columns or images that are integrated into the text.
2. Poor Visual Appeal
Reflowable books can be unattractive to readers who prefer a more visually appealing layout. The text can look cluttered, and the lack of design options can make the book seem unprofessional.
If you are a publishing house catering to children and a young adult audience, a reflowable layout might not be the best choice for you.
What is a Fixed Layout?
Fixed layout is a format that displays the text of an e-book exactly as it was designed by the author or publisher. The layout is fixed and cannot be changed by the reader.
This format is commonly used for books with complex formattings, such as children’s books, graphic novels, and K-12 education textbooks.
Advantages of a Fixed Layout
Mentioned here are the advantages of a fixed layout:
1. Attractive Design
Fixed layout books, due to their fixed formatting characteristics, can be made highly visually appealing and can be designed to look just like a physical printed book. This makes a fixed layout an ideal format for books with complex formattings, such as children’s books or cookbooks.
2. Interactive Elements
It is a misconception that fixed formatting does not allow the incorporation of interactive elements. Fixed layout books can include interactive elements, such as embedded videos, audio, and animations. This makes them ideal for textbooks or books that require additional multimedia elements to enhance the reading experience.
3. Consistent Layout
Since the layout is fixed, the author can ensure that the book will look the same on every device. This characteristic is especially important for books that rely on specific formatting to convey information.
Disadvantages of a Fixed Layout
Mentioned here are the disadvantages of a fixed layout:
1. Limited Compatibility
A fixed layout means that the text cannot be resized or reformatted, which can make it difficult to read on smaller screens. With the advent of multiple eBooks reading platforms like Kindle and tablets, this characteristic greatly limits the adaptability of fixed layouts.
2. Higher Production Costs
Fixed layout books require more design work than reflowable books, which can make them more expensive to produce. This can make them less desirable for self-publishing authors or publishers who want to keep their production costs low.
Reflowable or Fixed Layout, Which is Better?
After closely analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of reflowable and fixed layouts, it is safe to say that the adoption of each format depends on the requirements of the publisher.
Publishers and self-publishing authors publishing K-12 education textbooks, graphic novels, children’s books, or other books with complex formatting might find fixed layouts better.
In contrast, publishers aiming for low production costs and publishing books with no complex formatting can work greatly with a reflowable layout.
If you are still confused about choosing between a reflowable or fixed layout, you can reach out to us at HurixDigital. We are known to provide the best digital solutions to our clients spread across various industries.
Our trusted and valuable clients include Sage Publishing, Ikea, Cathay Pacific, Deloitte, Cambridge University Press, FedEx Express, Philips, Macmillan Education, and more.
Our Digital Publishing and ePublishing solutions can answer all your questions and help you create some high-quality digital content. Get in touch with our expert team to get started.