Reflowable Vs. Fixed-Layout eBooks

There are two main formats in eBook editions: standard/reflowable and fixed-layout or print replica.

A reflowable eBook cannot replicate your print edition design. This can be supported by fixed-layout eBooks only.

Fixed-layout

It supports enhanced designs. However, it may be not supported by old devices or accepted by all retailers and distributors. They are supported by Amazon (KPF files) and Apple/iTunes (ePub 3). Amazon calls this format “Print Replica” and indicates on each product page a list of compatible devices. It is recommended for books with complex layouts, illustrations, images, or interactive elements (e.g., children or comic books, cookbooks, architecture books, etc.).

Recommended input files for fixed-layout ebook production: Word, txt, RTF, ODT, pages, PDF, InDesign.

Commonest output formats: ePub, KPF. Note that unless epub, you cannot read a KPF without Kindle Previewer 3. This format is used for uploading a Kindle fixed-layout format to Amazon. Amazon converts this file to their universal kindle format that is distributed to readers.

Compatible devices (according to Amazon):

  • Kindle Fire Tablets
  • Kindle Fire HD
  • Kindle Fire
  • Kindle Fire HDX 8.9”
  • Kindle Fire HDX
  • Kindle Fire (3rd Generation)
  • Fire HDX 8.9 Tablet
  • Fire HD 7 Tablet
  • Fire HD 6 Tablet
  • Fire HD 10
  • Fire HD 8
  • Fire
  • Free Kindle Reading Apps
  • Kindle for Android
  • Kindle for Android Tablets
  • Kindle for iPhone
  • Kindle for iPod Touch
  • Kindle for iPad
  • Kindle for Mac
  • Kindle for PC

Standard/Reflowable

They are fully functional eBooks and compatible with all devices and platforms; relatively poor layout (usually no headers, no wrapped text around images, no backgrounds, etc.). It is recommended for textbooks such as novels.

Recommended input files for standard ebook production: Word, txt, RTF, ODT, pages.

Commonest output formats: ePub, Mobi.

Examples

Standard Kindle ebook

Kindle Print Replica ebook

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Sources

  1. http://idpf.org
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflowable_document [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 PostScript or PDF are not reflowable]
  3. http://acepub.com/fixed-layout-vs-reflowable-ebook-which-format-is-right-for-me/
  4. https://www.edrlab.org/epub/reflowable-vs-fixed-layout/
  5. https://pressbooks.com/blog/ebook-formatting-answers-reflowable-vs-fixed-layout-ebooks/
  6. Amazon.com
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