Suppose that I have to create a PDF ebook (meaning no automatic word reflow, etc). What page size (width by height) maximizes readability across common e-readers and mobile devices?

Context: I typically create my ebooks using LaTeX, meaning that the PDF format is the only option I have easy access to. It's possible to design for multiple form factors, but each additional form factor requires additional debugging (in the form of looking for overfull/underfull hboxes, hyphenation issues, etc.), which is why I would prefer to work with only one form factor.

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    With the explosion in tablets and smart phones, this question is essentially meaningless. Dec 19, 2013 at 5:10
  • @Donald.McLean Is there a restriction to this question that would make it meaningful? e.g. I'm under the impression that most major e-readers have similar form factors and sizes.
    – senshin
    Dec 19, 2013 at 6:12
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    By way of example - I have 3 devices that I use for reading ebooks. iPad (4th generation, retina display), iPhone 4, Sony PRS-350. All support PDF, but there is no page size that would work WELL for all three devices because the sizes are all so different. Samsung, for example, makes 3 different sizes of its current tablet line (10.1, 8, 7). That's why folks are flocking to ePub - it's designed to reflow text to fit the display, not to mention the preferred font size of the user. My dad, at 78, uses a large font than I do. Dec 19, 2013 at 6:26
  • @Donald.McLean I see. That's fair, I guess this doesn't make for a particularly good question.
    – senshin
    Dec 19, 2013 at 6:27
  • I've actually changed my mind. It is a useful question, even if the way that the question is worded might seem otherwise. Many times, the value of a question can be best seen by the usefulness of the answer(s). I will change my vote if the question is edited. Dec 19, 2013 at 6:33

1 Answer 1


This would be extremely difficult since the broad range of devices out there have vastly different physical screen sizes and aspect ratios. Your best bet would be to use a small page size (perhaps 4" x 3") so that users with e-book apps on their smartphones would still be able to comfortably read the text. This comes at a price: e-book readers or tables with large screens will display very large text - although some might allow you to zoom out or display multiple pages at a time.

I would suggest a slightly different route based on this similar question. Instead of exporting from LaTeX to PDF, export to HTML. Then use a tool such as Calibre to convert the HTML files produced to a MOBI or EPUB file.

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