In December, Apple released version 1.2 of iBooks, their ereader app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. There were a number of interesting features added, including support for hyphenation and page breaks, but the feature that caught most eyes was the ability to create “fixed layout” books in which text and images could be precisely positioned in horizontal two-page spreads in order to approximate a children's book or other image-heavy non-fiction book.
I'm not completely convinced by the idea of fixed layout books. I find them complicated to lay out and not much more useful than a PDF for reading the content. They lack EPUBs most important feature: the ability to reflow when the size and font of the text are changed.
On the other hand, they do let you make really beautiful pages in an EPUB-format file!
And since people have repeatedly asked me to explain how to create these fixed-layout books, I took advantage of the opportunity to do something I've been wanting to try for a while: publish a miniguide companion to my EPUB Straight to the Point book. This miniguide explains everything you need to know in order to created fixed layout EPUB files with spreads, images, and embedded fonts.
If you already own a copy of my EPUB Straight to the Point book, I'll email you the miniguide free of charge. In fact, it may already be in your inbox. If you don't receive it automatically, just drop me a line, with your name, email, and proof of purchase, and I'll get you a copy.
If you haven't bought my book, you can buy the Fixed Layouts miniguide separately for $4. As a bonus, you will receive a $4 coupon toward the purchase of my EPUB Straight to the Point book. The only catch is I can currently only offer you the $4 coupon if you buy the EPUB version of the book from my site. The coupon won't be valid anywhere else (but I'm working on it).
Got any questions? Let me know. As always, I'd love to hear what you think.