eBook conversion for illustrated children’s books
Demand for children’s eBooks continues to grow rapidly. In the US alone, the market is worth $2bn with a further increase forecast for 2021.
Parents and children have adapted to digital books and enjoy easy accessibility and the wide variety of engaging titles available in a couple of clicks.
The specialist fixed-layout eBook conversion team here at eBook Partnership has been working with authors and publishers to make their titles available to this worldwide audience for ten years. If you would like the best possible eBook version of your children’s book, we can help.
Fixed-layout eBook formats are used to produce fantastic, vibrant eBook versions of children’s picture books that look just like your print book or PDF.
Karen Inglis blog post, ‘Working with eBook Partnership‘
“Writing a children’s book is tough enough without having to deal with the unique challenge of marketing one too.
There are successful self-publishers in every niche, but authors of children’s books face more challenges than most – unique obstacles which must be overcome on the production side, and then in terms of reaching readers too.”
Great post on David Gaughran’s goldmine website, ‘7 Ways to Market Children’s Books’ that also features Karen Inglis.
First things first – what is a fixed-layout format?
Fixed-layout eBooks are suited to books with complex designs and image or graphic-heavy books. As the name suggests, the layout is ‘fixed’ for each page, meaning we can closely replicate the original PDF or InDesign document and maintain more complex design elements like full-bleed graphics, background images, double-page spreads, and multi-column text.
If you have written and designed your book to appear in a specific way in the print version, with text appearing alongside or overlaying an image, for example, a fixed-layout is best. The alternative format for eBooks is reflowable. You can find more information about reflowable formats here.
Example single page produced in fixed-layout (left) and reflowable (right) formats
Most of the major sales channels support fixed-layout formats. There are differences in the fixed-layout functionality offered by some devices and apps, and some older devices such as Kindle Paperwhites do not support fixed-layout files.
We produce fixed-layout files that allow you to reach all possible platforms for one inclusive price (starting from $399/£399* for a book of up to 50 pages).
Distribution is $99/£99* – a one-off fee that covers the upload and management of the title for as long as you would like the eBook to be onsale.
* price includes VAT
These formats are Kindle Print Replica or KF8 (for Amazon), ePUB3 (for all other channels). More information below.
Questions about fixed layout books
How do double-page spreads work in eBooks?
For fixed-layout eBooks with double-page spreads, it is usually the case that the reader can choose to view the book one single page at a time, or to view two pages on the screen. They can either view the book using portrait or landscape orientation.
Example double-page view using portrait (left) and landscape (right) orientation
When we create the eBook files, it is possible for us to ‘lock’ the double-page view into the file for the ePUB3 version. In this case, the reader would just need to turn their device around to landscape for those pages to view the book properly.
However, in the KPR (Kindle Print Replica) file, we have to specify whether the file is produced as single or double pages. If we select the two-page option, then the double-page spread will appear whether the book is viewed in landscape or portrait modes.
If the reader is viewing the book on a tablet or a phone, and the text is small on their screen, how can they make it bigger?
Depending on the device, or App used, the reader can zoom in to part of the page to get a closer view. On devices with touch screens, this would be controlled through pinch-zoom.
Can I include sound files for read-along or sound effects?
Yes, ePUB3 and KPR formats do support embedded audio files. KPR files do not support automated read-along word-highlighting. Not all sales channels or device/app combinations support audio in fixed-layout books.
Fixed-Layout eBooks with narration
We can produce stunning fixed-layout versions of illustrated and children’s books featuring pre-recorded audio narration.
Narration can be included in the following file formats:
‘Read aloud’ (sometimes called read along) narration can be included within fixed-layout ePUB3 files. This gives readers the ability to listen to a book’s narration with each word highlighted as it is read out. Music or sound effects can also be included to play while the book is being read. The sounds are activated by a page-turn or when the reader taps a specific element on the page.
The read-aloud file format is supported by sales channels such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, and Kobo.
Please note that not all sales channels that accept fixed-layout ePUB3 titles support the read-aloud functionality.
Kindle Print Replica: This Amazon fixed-layout format can include audio triggered by a play button. There is no word-highlighting with this format.
NOOK Kids: while Barnes & Noble now supports fixed-layout ePUB3 for children’s books, their older NOOK tablets support the NOOK Kids format. NOOK Kids books support read-along narration with word highlighting.
What does it cost to add narration?
The cost will depend on the formats and the number of words to be narrated. To add an existing narration to a fixed-layout ePUB3 eBook as a read-aloud feature, we charge $25 per 100 words (£20) with a minimum charge of $100/£80. This cost is in addition to the conversion cost.
We can source narrators; please contact us if you would like more information.
Supplying a Narration
To add the read-aloud feature, you will need to provide a single sound file containing a complete narration of your book or individual sound files for each page (preferred). Usually, we receive files in MP3 or M4A formats, although we can work from most other audio formats.
A few guidelines on providing your audio file:
- The narration must be an accurate reading of the text contained within your book, as each word of the narration needs to be mapped to the relevant word within the book (to make word highlighting possible).
- It is not necessary to include the front matter or end matter in narration.
- Some devices/software will pause the narration between page turns, so we recommend that you include a short pause of 1 to 2 seconds while recording the reading.
- For the same reason, we recommend that you do not include a continuous musical soundtrack behind the narration, as this will also pause between pages.
Distribution service for fixed-layout files.
As well as ensuring that your book looks great and works perfectly on all devices that support fixed-layout files, we offer an eBook distribution service. eBook Partnership reaches the most comprehensive network of eBook retailers, subscription services, and e-libraries. You pay a one-off fee to cover the administration involved in preparing and uploading your files, liaison with the sales channels, and collating and managing all sales and royalty information in one easy-to-use client dashboard. We collect all royalties, and you then receive 100% of all royalties earned from sales on your titles.
The cost for this is $99. If you are using our conversion service, there is a discount reducing the price to $50.
Where can I distribute my fixed layout book?
Amazon accepts KF8 and KPR files.
We can distribute fixed-layout ePUB3 files to:
- 24 Symbols (no read-aloud)
- Baker & Taylor
- Borrowbox (no read-aloud)
- eSentral (no read-aloud)
- Gardners (including Google Play)
- Scribd (no read-aloud)
* B&N accepts ePUB3 for children’s books only, and we produce PagePerfect format fixed-layout files for other genres. We can also create NOOK Kids and NOOK Comics formats for older NOOK devices.