NYT: The Real Math Behind The E-Book



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There is indeed a big error in the above figures--and even more so in ericrovve's comment. It is incorrect to believe that book design can be discarded in the creation of an ebook. Without GOOD ebook design, ebooks will be uncomfortable or unsatisfying to read, and people won't even know why.

To take one example--allowing reflow and resizing of text can actually make matter worse instead of better, because different text sizes need different measures of line spacing for an optimum reading experience, and it is not precisely proportional--text twice as large does NOT need line spacing twice as large. So, too, do different fonts need different spacing--some need more space between lines, some less. And while that is easily overlooked in reading an article or two, it rapidly becomes unpleasant at book length. A new markup language that allows these adjustments to be made on the fly needs to be developed, with a designer specifying what spacing (and paragraph indents, and margins, and so forth) goes with what type size, and what fonts are appropriate choices for which books--and yes, the choice of font makes an enormous, albeit, if done well, invisible difference to the book-reading experience.



These figures mean nothing!

I published my first eBook in 1999. Cost = 0$ as I did my own simple HTML mark-up as in any webpage.
Most books are first set-up digitally before printing anyway. There is no reason why the publisher should not give the author a much bigger share with an ebook. The other great advantage of an ebook is that it can publish from one upwards and so can afford to publish - as mine is - a techy book that has not the likely-hood of selling enough copies to interest a publisher. For an author this is not important so long as he can reach his audience and take 100% royalties.

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