Fixed-layout Picture Books
Fixed-layout e-books are much more open to design possibilities than are reflowables. Fonts are locked in, size is not changeable, and text and art are placed with specific location markers so that they mirror the print edition. The user has almost no opportunity to change the appearance.
One feature of fixed-layout e-books is to allow the designer freedom to create a book that will appear as designed regardless of the platform. Another is the readaloud feature, which syncs between audio narration and the text.
For fixed-layout books on iBooks and similar tablet reading applications, the reader pinches and zooms to enlarge the text or art.
For some picture books created for Kindles, the user double-taps a section of text and it pops up at a larger size. Comic books use a different technology; they expand sections of a page in a panel-by-panel progression.
I've published a course on Lynda.com that's all about creating fixed-layout books for the Kindle. Click here to view sample videos or the whole course.
The following examples are from Swing with Me in My Family Tree, by Elizabeth Kiem, illustrations by Sarah Nicholas Williams; click here for more information. (Note: the gray strips at top and bottom indicate that the book's dimensions are not the same as the device window, giving a letterbox effect.)
Here is a different spread on the Kindle.
And here is the pop-up view on the Kindle, showing how only the text block expands, leaving the rest of the spread at the original flat-view size. This helps keep the pop-up in context within the spread, so the reader can see how the text fits into the story.
BNGO produces these highly designed illustrated books for print and all digital formats.
If a picture book is already in print, BNGO can adapt it and create the digital editions. If it’s a brand-new project, BNGO art directs and designs the print while also planning the digital (or vice versa). Everything from typefaces to size of the original artwork to cover design should be taken into account when planning a dual-purpose publication.
Here is a gallery of fixed-layout e-books created for the Kindle. (Double-tap or click on an image to see a larger view and credits.) Pop-ups can be designed to have different backgrounds, borders, and even text or art that varies from the flat view.