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How to eBook (picture book edition, part VII: Addendum)

February 4, 2014

WARandPEAS.cvr.sWhen I was a kid I was stubborn and unmovable (big surprise, that).

If I was served liver or fish—or worse, vegetables—I refused to eat. I come to learn this is pretty standard behavior. But it was a different time, then: Moms and Dads were just as tough as kids. Maybe tougher.

I recall more than once sitting alone, all night long, at the kitchen table staring at my food… waiting to be excused.

Whatever the opposite of a war of attrition is, that was my thing.

Only years later did I come across Sun Tzu’s the Art of War.

Sun Tzu wrote: “To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”

War and Peas, my newest e-picture book, is based on this ancient wisdom, and my own experiences: Check it out HERE, now. Or scroll down for some page samples and a little more behind the scenes of how the book was made.

•   •   •

If you are finding this post in the How to eBook section of my blog, treat this post as an addendum.

It has been said that “form follows function”. But here is a truth I have discovered as a designer: That statement really only applies to industrial (or product) designers. In graphic design, we can amend the statement to the much less catchy, but equally useful, “form follows the mostly widely used media delivery method of the day”.


When Gutenberg invented the letter press, we got the creation of galleys (organized columns of text). This is how text was arranged, from those days, through the millennia, and up until about five years ago. You saw columns of text in books and newspapers, and they flowed from top to bottom; left to right. The media looked the way they did because of the printing/production method of the day.

Now we are entering the next phase: The age of the glowing rectangle (computer screens, iPads, smart phones, etc). The logic of the column still applies, but the facing page format is going away.

In my previous How to eBook posts, I recommended treating e-picture Books, as traditional books that could exist on a screen. It only took one negative review on Amazon to make me see the light!


Contrary to what some of my colleagues will tell you, I do listen to good advice: And so, I hereby change my mind on how I build eBooks, and I recommend you do the same.

In my newest eBook, War and Peas, I have built the whole book as single pages—as shown above—which display one at a time, in portrait mode on a device. This made it easier to build, but more importantly, it displays best on the glowing rectangles.


So remember, kids: “Form follows the mostly widely used media delivery method of the day.” … and don’t forget to eat your peas!

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