Fun with eBook Formatting: Em to Px

I recently released my latest title, Little Demons, and thought I’d try something a little different when it came to formatting. After all, one of the major perks of being an indie author is not being locked into any one particular way of doing something.

Because appearance is important to me, I decided to format the HTML way, because I’ve heard it’s the best method of controlling how the eBook looks across multiple formats. Of course, when I started looking into how to do that, all roads seemed to lead to Guido Henkel and his Take Pride in Your eBook Formatting guide. Sure, there are other resources out there, but Guido’s guide doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how to make things work. I know some HTML but I’m a long way from being a computer whiz-kid. Also, Guido is a successful indie author so there’s no question that he knows what he’s talking about.

However, I did encounter one problem along the way and I wanted to give you a heads-up, just in case you decide to go the HTML route. It might seem a little confusing if you haven’t used this method before but it’s only because I’m talking about one specific area. The guide is very comprehensive and you shouldn’t have any problems with using it.

When it comes to setting the measurements for white space around content and the font size of certain sections, Guido used a measurement known as ’em’, such as 1.5em. Web browsers don’t have a problem with it and Kindle’s MOBI format doesn’t appear to mind it, but the Nook doesn’t like it. Consequently, Little Demons currently looks like smashed-together poo on the Nook Previewer. It’s my fault because I didn’t actually pay attention to it during the upload to PubIt. The corrected file was uploaded last night so Barnes & Noble should have a pretty copy of Little Demons as soon as it finishes processing.

Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. Since Nook doesn’t like ’em’ for measurements, you just need to turn them into px (pixel). You don’t have to worry about the look changing because this converter makes it super-easy to find the new numbers that you need when using px. Since all the ’em’ measurements show up in CSS, it’s easy to make the conversion.

Aside from that one little oddity, the HTML formatting seems to work like a charm. As an added bonus, the Kindle Previewer doesn’t seem to mind the px, so I’ll just use that from the very beginning in the future.

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