The End of Pages

Snocross, an extreme sports e-book by Linda Aksomitis.
Snocross, an extreme sports e-book by Linda Aksomitis.

The fourth session of my new course, Publish and Sell Your E-Books, started last week. I love teaching it and have had the most interesting questions in my discussion areas–in fact, one of my students commented that she learned as much in the discussions as in the lessons. I was pleased!

Indeed, the ability to ask questions and get answers is the key advantage to learning in an online classroom. Otherwise, you could research everything you needed to know from a book or the Internet.

A number of students have asked how to format pages for an e-book and if they can put in page breaks. This question has made me realize that one of the tough things about going from publishing “regular” books to e-books is the idea that “pages” no longer exist.

An e-book is all just lines of text that display on the screen of the e-reader. The e-reader is what determines the size or dimensions of the viewing screen (digital page), plus the font display size the user selects (I love e-readers because I can make the font very large).

So, e-book authors need to imagine all those lines of text displayed on anything from a small cell phone screen to a large computer monitor, and you can see how irrelevant the idea of a “page” becomes.

What each book buyer sees is entirely different, and when you try to impose “page” breaks according to the screen the author is viewing them on it doesn’t work for the buyers. They get very upset because they keep running into blank spaces in the e-books they’ve purchased.

When I work with e-books, I think in terms of word counts as the chunks that are dividing my content into chapters instead of pages. To get an idea of how many words are in each chapter of your book, instead of pages, just highlight the text for a full chapter and use the word count option in your word processor for the count. Or, you can use this free Word Count Tool:



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