10

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.

  • 1
    With the explosion in tablets and smart phones, this question is essentially meaningless. – Donald.McLean Dec 19 '13 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 '13 at 6:12
  • 2
    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. – Donald.McLean Dec 19 '13 at 6:26
  • @Donald.McLean I see. That's fair, I guess this doesn't make for a particularly good question. – senshin Dec 19 '13 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. – Donald.McLean Dec 19 '13 at 6:33
10

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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.