Like a “coffee table book”, a PDF can be a visually rich and beautifully illustrated document: lots of images and text can be placed in precise locations. Paper and PDF documents are blank canvases, perfect for designers.
Like a website, an eBook can also be visually rich and beautifully illustrated but you need to follow certain rules and best practices. With eBooks it is often function over form as certain design and layout desires take a back seat to the benefits of using eBooks.
Those benefits include:
- Easy scaling of information so that it looks as good on a mobile device screen as it does on a large computer screen.
- Annotation friendly features like highlighting and note taking.
- Search friendly features: you can look-up words within the text using Wikipedia, the Web, or search inside the book.
- Linking to relevant websites from within the eBook (not all PDFs allow this when transferred to a mobile device)
This added functionality could be important for the right application.
So how does one decide when it is worth the effort to publish their material as an eBook? As yourself these 3 questions:
#1. How do my readers like to read my content? Are they printing it out to read, or do they want to read it on their Smartphone while on-the-go?
#2. Is linking to or interaction with the Internet important? Will my content have the same value if those links do not work?
#3. Is it about reading text or looking at images? Sometimes the textual content is enhanced by the images, sometimes the images are the content. If the images involve detail or benefit from a larger viewing screen, a PDF may make more sense.
Recent research findings indicate that people are reading more than ever on mobile devices. If that is true for your readers, and Internet connectivity is important, we recommend creating versions of your information to satisfy these emerging reading habits.
The good news is that new workflows and tools are making this dual publishing track easier. In the meantime think about your audience from the outset and design your content accordingly.