dd_cvrBright Little Labs is a children’s media company with a mission to inspire the next generation to be coders through their educationally valuable and gender-neutral kids’ books, apps and games. They are committed to featuring diverse and strong coding role models.

Bright Little Labs recently launched their first story, Detective Dot, and we were fortunate enough to work with them on the eBook version.

In Detective Dot by Sophie Deen:

Nine-year-old tech whizz Detective Dot has a dangerous new mission from the Children’s Intelligence Agency – investigate teenage trillionaire Shelly Belly. Why are all her inventions so cheap, and where does she make them? Dot’s going to have to use all her coding skills, cunning and gadgets to crack the case.

To ensure that the book was widely available, Bright Little Labs decided to convert to reflowable eBook formats. As mentioned in other blog posts, these types of eBooks are accepted by all the major channels in our distribution network and work on all the major e-reading platforms.

There were several key design features that Bright Little Labs needed to maintain in the eBook, though, so we worked closely with them to preserve as much of the original formatting as possible in reflowable formats.

dd_fontsWe embedded fonts for both the headings and body text. Though not all reading systems support embedded fonts, readers that are viewing the eBook on an e-reader or tablet that support embedded fonts will have a design that’s closer to the print version of Detective Dot.

There are delightful illustrations throughout the eBook for readers to enjoy – and most e-reading platforms offer the option to tap and enlarge each of those images. We did need to modify the layout slightly, as text cannot wrap around images in reflowable eBooks as it can in the print edition or as would have been possible if we’d converted to fixed-layout eBook formats. When adjusting the layout for reflowable formats, we ensure that the images are placed as close to the original location as possible.

Reflowable eBook formats allow for live internal links on supported platforms. That meant in Detective Dot we could link words in the text to a glossary in the back. Links were also used to connect references in the text to examples of Dot’s codes in the back to enrich a reader’s experience of the story.

“The CIA Files” section at the back of the book features Dot and the other characters’ Agent Profiles, samples of Dot’s coding and a Tech Talk Glossary. The formatting of that section mimics a top secret file, so it was important that the readers of the eBook saw the same design as those reading the print version. To ensure the original design was maintained, we captured many of those pages as full-page images. As mentioned above, most e-reading platforms offer readers the option of tapping on images so the text on those pages can be easily enlarged.

Other sections in “The CIA Files” like the Tech Talk Glossary were captured as live text, so readers can change the font size, highlight text and also add notes – some key benefits of reflowable eBook formats. That approach required some modification to the layout, but as many formatting features were maintained as possible, including images and background colours behind the main text and headings.


If you’re interested in learning more about Detective Dot, please visit detectivedot.org. You can also follow Detective Dot on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

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