Take the 2-minute tour ×
Writers Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I am self-publishing a free e-book which I will make available in several formats: EPUB, online HTML, PDF.

What characteristics should the PDF e-book file have? What should the page size, font size, margins, and so on be?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Before going ahead with the rest of the answer, please keep in mind that pdf is not usually considered as a true ebook format.

Some standards, based on a number of pdf ebooks (technically not standard but convention):

  • Page Size: Usually 6-by-9 inches or 7-by-10 inches (but there is no fixed size. You can even use A4 or smaller; Ebooks larger than A4 would be a rarity, I believe).

  • Top and Bottom Margin: Usually 1 inch (the idea is to keep both of them equal. You can tweak around with the size depending on your paper/page size)

  • Left and Right Margin: Usually 1 inch (the idea is to keep both of them equal. You can tweak around with the size depending on your paper/page size)

  • Font: Use serif/sans-serif fonts but avoid serif fonts with delicate serifs or thin strokes (the goal being, it should be easily readable). The choice of font would depend on the type of book as well. Usually Times, Times New Roman, Helvetica, Verdana, etc. are used.

  • Font Size: 12 (but this may change based on your paper size and also on the font that you have selected)

  • Line spacing: 1.15/1.5

I guess these should help you get started. If you need any more specifications, please comment.

share|improve this answer
    
Agree with the pdf not being an ebook format. One thing I'll add is: No use fretting over fonts etc, as most eReaders will override them anyway. Same with page size- it makes no sense for eBooks. –  Shantnu Tiwari Sep 30 '13 at 19:15
    
+1: PDF's lead to reader disappointment and frustration, as they do not scale or flow with different page sizes. I'd stay clear of it completely. –  David Aldridge Oct 1 '13 at 18:11
    
PDF might be useful if you want people to be able to print things off (and you think it would be nice to have a good-looking, formatted PDF), and in that case you'd want either A4 or US Letter paper (they're similar enough that you only need to bother with one). –  evilsoup Oct 2 '13 at 8:05
    
Although I agree with the sentiment that PDF often is not the correct format for ebooks. But this is often only really true for text only ebooks. The moment you have graphically rich books; like a cookbook, you may prefer a PDF that retains formatting. EPub and ereaders often butcher the formatting. –  rioki Dec 13 at 11:31

I would suggest the same formats that most editors and publishers would require for evaluating your book, that would be a serif font (like Times New Roman or Courier New) and double spaced. On top of that you could ad some adornments for your public, like large first letters for the first paragraph of a chapter, etc. Above all, make it so that it is easy to read if printed.

share|improve this answer
    
Are you conflating submission requirements (what editors require for evaluation) with publication requirements (what the question seems to be asking about)? –  Monica Cellio Apr 15 '13 at 18:21

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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