I recently read Daniel Handler’s The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket as an ebook. I enjoyed the reading as I usually do. I don’t even hold it against him that he works with traditional publishers.
But I was disappointed how the ebook was put together. It wasn’t an epub file, so I couldn’t adjust the font size. The font size was a little bit small to read on my iPad mini. The file itself was 47 megabytes. Much too large for an ebook. I couldn’t even tell how long the book was until I got to the end. I’ve read other ebooks from Alice Hoffman, who also works with traditional publishers, and the title pages are actually images and not text files.
I’m shocked that the traditional publishers don’t understand ebooks. They would tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. But I do. I put an ebook together which contained lots of images and text. I build epub files using xhtml and yes, it’s been possible to put images and text together in ebooks for quite a long time. I think it’s easier to put them together using xhtml to keep the images from floating all over the text. Cat Tales of the Frisky9 Scarf Army has more images than any other ebook I’ve put together so far. It is an epub file and it’s 19.6 megabytes. Yes, it’s still a large file, but if I did what the traditional publishers do, it would have been a much larger file.
After seeing ebooks from traditional publishers, I must draw the conclusion that they don’t even care how to do ebooks well. I’m self published and I learned on my own. Unfortunately, I live in a society in which these skills are overlooked and taken for granted. My skills are devalued, but I know how important they can be. The ebooks files do need to be small even with images or else the books may not load on people’s devices.