Reflowable vs Fixed Layout ePub

The format of your eBook will depend on its content. There are two types of ePub:

ePub (reflowable)

eBooks are digital objects built to be read on different devices, with different sizes and uses. This is why most eBook files are set to be "Reflowable", so that the text adapts to the screen's size and settings.

If in your book there is a linear relationship between text and image (such as: image-caption-text-etc.), Then you can create your ebook in reflowable ePub2, since the text adapts to the device on which the book is read, adjusting the layout from time to time. The reflowable ePub2 can be read both by computers and mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) and by e-readers.

NB. If the book contains color images, reading it on an e-reader the images will be in black and white (most of these devices do not support color); reading the book on a computer, tablet or smartphone the images will be in color.

All books composed mainly of text, in general, are created with this approach. They must be distributed in the reflowable ePub format, otherwise they will be blocked on many stores.

Tip: ePub and mobi (for kindle) are equivalent formats created by different companies.

ePub (Fixed Layout)

However, some books may need the text and images to keep to a specific layout, regardless of the screen size. That is the job of the Fixed Layout format - ePub 3.

If in your book the images are strictly related to the text (for example: the text overlaps the images or the image acts as a background to the entire page of text), then it is necessary to resort to the ePub3 fixed layout.

There are other types of books for which the FXL is recommended, such as math books, books with musical scores, those with particular symbols or written in less common alphabets, etc.
In these cases, our advice is to write to us and submit your text: support@streetlib.com.

The ePub3 can also be reflowable and is indicated in the case of books written in ideogrammatic languages such as Chinese or Arabic.

With this format, the various elements (images, text, quotes, etc..) have a fixed position within each page. They remain in the same position no matter which device is used.

Tip: ePub FXL, KF8 are equivalent formats created by different companies

How do you read a FXL ePub3?

1) On iPad: it is possible to read an EPub3FXL file through the Apple Books app, which the user can already find within his Apple devices.
2) On Kindle Fire: it is possible to read a KF8 file (the corresponding FXL of the mobi) through the reading app integrated by Amazon within the device.
3) On Android tablet: it is possible to read an EPub3 FXL file through the ReadEra reading app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store at this link.
4) On PC: you can read an EPub3 FXL file via the free Adobe Digital Editions reading app, available for free download on the Adobe website.
5) On Mac: You can read an EPub3 FXL file via Apple's Books reading app.

NB. The features of ePub3 FXL are NOT 100% supported by all readers. Books made with Write are certified to work with Apple iBooks, by far the most popular reader for this type of content: if you notice features that have problems with the other e-readers reported, most likely the problem lies in the fact that the specific reader does not fully support the standard. For this reason, we invite you to report them to us and we will do our best to carry out all the necessary checks.

What next?

Whichever of the two formats you need, you can create and prepare your eBook using StreetLib Write, our totally free, online tool. Check out our other Help Center articles for more information about the tool and formats.

If you want a professional to take care of preparing your book, you can hire conversion services via StreetLib Ready.

 

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