I love ebooks. I buy them, borrow them. For my Kindle Fire.
But as a publishing professional, who has some training in interior book design and a love of books, I’ve noticed that ebooks don’t usually have a lot of interior design elements. I’d love to see the art of bookmaking restored, in epublishing. And maybe it will be. I’ve noticed a gradual change from the first ebooks, toward a certain standard, geared toward making the reading experience better, and for navigating through a book. Not that I wouldn’t buy an ebook that is basic in style or presentation. It’s not the wrapping but the substance that counts. It’s the writing, and writing a great book–writing great books–that gets reader to return to an author’s novels again and again.
And of course, there is always the cost consideration–costs for cover design, for formatting, and so on. And now add interior design?
But there is a part of me that would like to see a bit of a renaissance of the art of bookmaking, applied to ebooks. Certainly, there are parts of interior design that aren’t really needed in ebooks. Page numbers, or folios, for example.
Interior design can add a little style, flavor, beauty and personality to books. An aesthetic appeal. There are typographical ornaments called Dingbats, and Drop caps. Running heads and running feet, chapters openings with design elements, front matter, back matter and epigraphs–all of these things are part of the art of bookmaking.
And certainly, ebooks have their own special interior attributes: links, dictionaries, and so on. I can’t complain–I’m still really appreciating them.
Epublishing is still changing, growing. Cover design still has its place. Maybe interior design will gradually emerge in ebooks too.