It's time to vote for your favourite story and author in this year's clitoridesawards. [ X Dismiss ]
Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

ebook back matter

Crumbly Writer

Quick publishing question (bear with me).

All this time, I've been basing all my books on the same printed format I was familiar with. However, I just noticed that most ebooks follow a slightly different format. Instead of putting the 'front matter' (copyright, dedication, foreward, prologue, etc.) in the front of the book, they shift it all to the back of the book, so the reader can jump directly into the story.

Not having that many ebooks handy to consult, a quick question of order. Does the copyright and acknowledgements pages go before or after the Appendix items (footnotes, references and most importantly, the cast lists)? It seems that these are directly story related (at least the cast list is), and thus should go in front of the back matter (normally the 'front matter' in a printed book).

Can anyone check a few ebooks and see what the standard publishing consensus seems to be?

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

When I use Amazon's "Look Inside," the copyright and other information is up front after the cover.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Can anyone check a few ebooks and see what the standard publishing consensus seems to be?


I have a Kindle paper-white and a significant number of commercial e-books.

While the Kindle e-reader will jump to the first page of actual story text when first opening a new e-book, you can back page to the copyright info, and even in most cases the cover art. It's there upfront even though the e-reader skips over it unless you deliberately back page to it.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Instead of putting the 'front matter' (copyright, dedication, foreward, prologue, etc.) in the front of the book, they shift it all to the back of the book, so the reader can jump directly into the story.


It may not be helpful, but Amazon's formatting for Kindle indicates put the traditional front matter in the front of the book.

My personal opinion is: If information doesn't have a direct bearing on the story, there is no problem with putting the information at the end of the book. I see no problem with placing the copyright, acknowledgements, cast list, and dedication pages at the end of the book. If a foreword, prologue, or introduction page contains information the reader should be aware of before reading the book to understand the storyline, then I would place the information in the front. If the eBook provides links for jumping to a defined target or uses pagination and allows the reader to go to a specific page, then I would place the table of contents page, if provided, in the front.

Crumbly Writer

My personal opinion is: If information doesn't have a direct bearing on the story, there is no problem with putting the information at the end of the book. I see no problem with placing the copyright, acknowledgements, cast list, and dedication pages at the end of the book. If a foreword, prologue, or introduction page contains information the reader should be aware of before reading the book to understand the storyline, then I would place the information in the front. If the eBook provides links for jumping to a defined target or uses pagination and allows the reader to go to a specific page, then I would place the table of contents page, if provided, in the front.

Generally, the TOC is automatically generated, and is easily accessible from anywhere within the document. However, generally when you open a book, the very first page in the cover (natch), and then many of the 'ebook only ebooks' seem to jump directly into the story.

I guess my question is: If I move the 'front matter' to the back of the book, then what do I do with the traditional 'back matter'? Do I put it in front of the 'front matter' (since it's more directly story related), or do I put it behind the front matter?

There are some obvious exceptions, of course. Prologues are generally part of the story itself, while a Preface or Foreward would remain in the 'front matter' section. Similarly, while most of the 'back matter' should go ALL the way in the back, the Cast of Character (since readers are more likely to look it up while reading the book), should probably be kept near the story itself.

By the way, this all came up because I had problems with epubs displaying correctly on my Apple Ipad. SW on the iDevices have a history of places extraneous blank pages at the start of the book and before each chapter. This last time, the 'extra' blank pages numbered from 4 to 6! I managed to whittle them back down to only 2, but I decided the best way to minimize them is to simply shove them all in the back, so readers wouldn't have to wade through so many 1-page front-matter chapters, each surrounded by 2 blank pages.

It's a kludgy solution, at best, but it does make it easier to deal with. It was only while searching for how other ebooks dealt with it that I noticed most of Mine all start with the story, but they had no traditional back matter to contrast with it. :(

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

When I use Amazon's "Look Inside," the copyright and other information is up front after the cover.

Not knowing precisely why, I'm guessing many of the traditionally published books do that, since they're trying to 'remain true to the printed book'.

@Dominions Son

While the Kindle e-reader will jump to the first page of actual story text when first opening a new e-book, you can back page to the copyright info, and even in most cases the cover art. It's there upfront even though the e-reader skips over it unless you deliberately back page to it.

Odd, on my browser 3rd-party 'epub reader', my Kindle App and my iPad and iPhone, when I open the file and click the 'next page' button (on iDevices, tapping the right hand side of the screen), it advances directly to the story.

Geez! Going back and examining the TOC of each of my ebooks (some traditionally published older books and some newer, ebook only), they're ALL OVER THE MAP. Some put the Title Page and dedication in the front, while putting the copyright in the back, others put the title page in the back and only keep the cover in the front, while others put the copyright, dedication and acknowledgments in the back (though a few put several pages worth of 'promotional pages' (i.e. "ads") at the very front. Some even put the backcover in the front (right after the cover).

I guess there really is NO consensus in where you put anything other than putting chapters in consecutive order!

Bondi Beach

@Crumbly Writer

Not knowing precisely why, I'm guessing many of the traditionally published books do that, since they're trying to 'remain true to the printed book'.


The traditional order of front matter in a printed book is roughly:
--- Blank recto page (or blurbs, in recent years)
--- "Also by" on the verso of the blank recto or last blurb page
--- Half-title (title only) on next recto page
--- Blank verso
--- Title page (title and author plus publisher at the bottom)
--- Copyright on the verso of Title page
--- Acknowledgements
--- Foreward
--- Half-title (optional)
--- Chapter One, next recto page
etc.

The sainted (or reviled, take your pick) CMOS has the dope.

Since Kindle opens to the first page of the story I keep just about all the traditional front matter. It won't inconvenience the reader, and I like the traditional look.

I'd like to think doing so in the ebook conveys a certain level of seriousness about what I'm presenting, but that may be delusional on my part.

I also notice more and more what used to be an "Also by" list has expanded into ad pages for other books in the series or other stories entirely by the author.

bb

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Odd, on my browser 3rd-party 'epub reader', my Kindle App and my iPad and iPhone, when I open the file and click the 'next page' button


What does it display after opening the file and before you click 'next page'?

On my Kindle, first time it opens to the first page of the actual story. I can get to the front material and cover art using the 'previous page' function (note on a Kindle paper-white, next and previous page are actual physical buttons on the device).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

What I did on my latest novel was to create a chapter heading with the title of the book. In that chapter, I list all the front stuff (copyright, acknowledgement, etc).

This way it shows up in the ToC before Chapter 1.

Something to keep in mind — the "Look Inside" only gives you so many pages. If you have a lot of front material, they may not get to sample much of your story.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Bondi Beach

The traditional order of front matter in a printed book is roughly:


Most of my kindle e-books that were dead tree published by traditional publishers also have an image of the book cover.

A Kindle paper-white is fully capable of displaying high resolution images, even photographs (in greyscale, no color).

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach

@Dominions Son

Most of my kindle e-books that were dead tree published by traditional publishers also have an image of the book cover.


I started doing that when I realized Lulu's conversion did not include a cover view once you'd opened the book in iBooks, so I put the cover right after the title.

Calibre's conversion (Lulu epub to Calibre epub), however, generates a separate cover page viewable once you open the book.

For PDFs I post on my Google Drive I put a cover image on the first recto page, which otherwise would be blank, so it shows on the drive. Otherwise you only get the title, I think.

bb

Ernest Bywater

I've bought a number of e-books from Baen and a couple of other traditional publishers, and they always come in the usual print book format with the copyright etc. info right after the title page. They do also have a list of other books etc at the back of the book, as is usual in print books too.

As to cover art. I found an issue with Calibre the other day while playing around with it when looking into something for someone else. If I have pictures within the book and I attach the cover art as a separate image during the conversion it often appears as the first image with in the book. I don't know why this is. Anyway, I resolved it by simply attaching the cover art to the front of the document before converting it.

BTW I traditionally do cover art in the 1800 x 2700 pixels at 600 ppi as required for good print book cover art, but Calibre changes the size to 1466 x 2200 - I suspect this is to go with the e-pub page size. Anyway, I started making the e-pub cover art 1450 x 2175 at 600 ppi and that seems to work better.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I also notice more and more what used to be an "Also by" list has expanded into ad pages for other books in the series or other stories entirely by the author.

I've noticed that too, but that's not the author's doing. Instead, it's the Vanity presses they pay to publish their works, hoping to sell a few other authors' books in the process (probably because the author of the book doesn't have any other books).

After charging the author tens of thousands to line their garage with books they can't possibly sell, it adds insult to injury to promote your own site on their pages!

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

What does it display after opening the file and before you click 'next page'?

On my Kindle, first time it opens to the first page of the actual story. I can get to the front material and cover art using the 'previous page' function (note on a Kindle paper-white, next and previous page are actual physical buttons on the device).

I wish I knew how they coded for that, as I could add the feature to my ePubs (at least). For most of the reader, it opens with the cover image, then generally advances directly into the story. Having doubled back and checked the actual TOC, there's no consistent structure applies to ebooks (at least from my limited selection). This behavior applies to the Kindle books I've purposed on my Kindle App. I'll have to check my mothers PaperWhite to see how it displays books, but about all SHE has on it are my books, which I hand-loaded for her!

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

I wish I knew how they coded for that, as I could add the feature to my ePubs (at least).


As far as I know, that's built into the Kindle's software, it's not something you can do anything about or with in an individual e-book.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

What I did on my latest novel was to create a chapter heading with the title of the book. In that chapter, I list all the front stuff (copyright, acknowledgement, etc).

This way it shows up in the ToC before Chapter 1.

Something to keep in mind — the "Look Inside" only gives you so many pages. If you have a lot of front material, they may not get to sample much of your story.

That's what I've always done, since I based my ebooks on older published paper books. Again, the impetus to switching is the bad behavior inherent in the SW/Apple combo which produces multiple blank pages for every page-break command it encounters. SW and Apple both claim there's nothing they can do about it, but the SW and Apple author forums are filled with people grumbling about it, and it's gotten worse over the years instead of better.

Otherwise, SW works pretty well with most devices (though I've had a hell of a time getting them to display graphics correctly recently). Strangely enough, the graphics looks fine, until I examine them on an Apple iDevice, and then a certain amount of the graphics run off the page, regardless of the device dimensions or the image sizes.

Both lulu (whose ePub's I handcraft) and Amazon have no issue with ANY device I've used them on!

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

I started doing that when I realized Lulu's conversion did not include a cover view once you'd opened the book in iBooks, so I put the cover right after the title.

Calibre's conversion (Lulu epub to Calibre epub), however, generates a separate cover page viewable once you open the book.

For PDFs I post on my Google Drive I put a cover image on the first recto page, which otherwise would be blank, so it shows on the drive. Otherwise you only get the title, I think.

Since I create all my own html pages (to display my stories on my website), I've always created my ePubs based on my html code, so I've NEVER even tried lulu conversion program. Those converters are notoriously problematic. The default in Calibre is to include the cover on the opening page. It also allows you to add in the SEO data for book searches.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

As far as I know, that's built into the Kindle's software, it's not something you can do anything about or with in an individual e-book.

Alas, that's NOT how the Kindle App displays books, so it must be hard-coded into their devices, rather than being coded into the Kindle books.

All of my Kindle books open the exact way I code them (but again, I don't open them on Kindle devices).

Frig! Just went back and checked. My OLDER books displayed this way, while my newer Amazon books don't display a TOC at all (at least on the Kindle App)! The TOC seems tied directly to the < H1> style tags, rather than to how the author codes for it. Guess I gotta go back and change every chapter heading to < h1>.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Ernest Bywater

@Bondi Beach

I started doing that when I realized Lulu's conversion did not include a cover view once you'd opened the book in iBooks, so I put the cover right after the title.


I use Calibre to create an epub from the .ODT file and submit the finished e-pub to Lulu. That way I know what they get.

Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I've NEVER even tried lulu conversion program. Those converters are notoriously problematic.


I don't have any interest in doing my own HTML coding, so I'm happy to rely on a decent converter. I use Word with styles as recommended by Lulu, and so far they've generated a very clean epub with everything where it should be.

For my print editions I use the LaTeX typesetting program to produce a PDF Lulu will accept. There I can get LaTeX to produce everything exactly how I want it, which is a pretty plain style.

In an astute marketing move I put the PDFs on my Google Drive (ETA: as free downloads) for those who want to read them. (Ex.: Goddess.) So far that hasn't generated print sales, but I'm sure it's only a question of time.

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

Alas, that's NOT how the Kindle App displays books, so it must be hard-coded into their devices, rather than being coded into the Kindle books.


The Kindle app used on the Fire, independent tablets, iBling, and PCs is not the same code base what's used by the dedicated e-reader PaperWhite Kindles. The Fire is if I remember correctly, an Android device. With the PaperWhite Kindles, the E-reader software is the OS.

Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

For my print editions I use the LaTeX typesetting program to produce a PDF Lulu will accept. There I can get LaTeX to produce everything exactly how I want it, which is a pretty plain style.

LaTeX is a bit of overkill, as most word processors produce decent results ("Save As ... PDF" with "embed fonts" enabled).

I tried publishing on Google Books years ago, but never got as much as a nibble. I ended up pulling them. But that was years ago, hopefully they've developed their book marketing a little more since then.

Replies:   Bondi Beach
sharkjcw

I use kindle for PC.
When you open the program it has the e-pubs cover art for each download in your library. When you select the e-pub it offers options to open.
1. Go to last page read ( takes you to start of chapter 1 if you have not started to read already )
2. Go to table of content
3. Go to beginning ( takes you to cover art, then displays everything in order after it )
4. Go to page or location
5. Go to notebook
6. Remove from device
7. Add/Remove from collections

Crumbly Writer

Dummy, me, after so many years of building book files in so many different formats using graphic chapter titles, I forgot HOW to get WORD to create a non-graphic chapter titles. Had to relearn and then go back and change them so they display correctly. I'd been using the SOL format for both SOL and Kindle.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I tried publishing on Google Books years ago, but never got as much as a nibble. I ended up pulling them. But that was years ago, hopefully they've developed their book marketing a little more since then.


I can get a pretty clean (ETA: clean-looking) document out of Word, but it's still not as good as LaTeX for print.

I put the PDFs on my Google Drive, not Google Books. Anyone with the link or who finds it through search can download the titles.

(My wife says my jokes are terrible and my attempts at humor misguided.)

bb

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

(My wife says my jokes are terrible and my attempts at humor misguided.)

I think that's true of most of us. If our misguided humor survives our spouses (and members of this forum), we know it's worth bringing up in public (or including in a story somewhere).

I may have to take a look (to see if I can identify any differences). I used to use Quark, which offered individual kerning (though, Photoshop offers a manual version of that too).

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I forgot HOW to get WORD to create a non-graphic chapter titles.


Put the cursor anywhere on the chapter name and click "Heading 1." That's also what Calibre uses to create the ToC.

Replies:   Joe Long  Crumbly Writer
Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

Put the cursor anywhere on the chapter name and click "Heading 1." That's also what Calibre uses to create the ToC.


Yes, I use that to make a TOC in a panel, specifically for all my chapter breaks.

An added feature is that blocks of text between the titles can be moved by dragging & dropping the Title in the TOC pane.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Put the cursor anywhere on the chapter name and click "Heading 1." That's also what Calibre uses to create the ToC.

Nah, that's only part of it. The key is, when you have WORD create the TOC, it displays the graphics. You have to click each one, type in the text (no spaces), double back and ADD the spaces, and continue until done!

When I go through Calibre (for my hand-crafted epubs), I simply code each graphic title as "< h1 title="chapter title"> < img src="image_file.png>". However, Amazon doesn't accept epubs.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Nah, that's only part of it. The key is, when you have WORD create the TOC, it displays the graphics.


I was responding to you saying, "I forgot HOW to get WORD to create a non-graphic chapter titles."

I thought you were talking about non-graphic chapter titles.

However, Amazon doesn't accept epubs.


Sure it does. I only upload an .epub to Amazon (for KDP).

Dominions Son

@Switch Blayde

Yep, Amazon is fully capable of converting an epub to the Kindle's native format (an extension of mobi).

They even have a service for Kindle owners where you can upload a document obtained elsewhere to Amazon and they will do the conversion then send the document to your Kindle.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I was responding to you saying, "I forgot HOW to get WORD to create a non-graphic chapter titles."

I thought you were talking about non-graphic chapter titles.

Sorry. That was misstated (my earlier response). I've been creating graphic chapter titles for some time, but the TOCs weren't functional. I had to go back and figure out how to create an Amazon TOC (for non-epub files).

Back to Top