In The News

Mon 25 Jun 2018

Book formats – the PDF


Writing, Editing & Publishing
What is a PDF? The initialisation is for the words ‘Portable Document Format’ and for those who love a bit of history Wikipedia has some great information about how the PDF came about.

What is a PDF?

The initialisation is for the words ‘Portable Document Format’ and for those who love a bit of history Wikipedia has some great information about how the PDF came about.

The PDF has become ubiquitous in today’s day and age, with many documents passed electronically via this format. It is a preferred format as it retains the integrity of the design. Also with features such as the ability to have embedded information, like hyperlinks to external websites, as well as the ability to create beautiful layouts that incorporate engaging images, bright colours and photography.

While there are no ‘publishing industry’ legal standards or requirements for this format – there are still some foundation concepts that you may want to consider when producing an eBook in this format.

In particular:

  1. Copyright is one area where you should remain vigilant, and if you are sourcing images for use in your document, ensure you have the appropriate license to use – again, a professional designer will be able to assist with this and ensure that you are using appropriate images, typefaces and design. Even if you are handing out or giving away your PDF you still must abide by the Copyright laws (if you are unsure have a look at https://www.copyright.com.au/ and get familiar with the dos and don’ts of copyright)
  2. If you would like your readers to be able to print your book – think about the level of ink they will use. For example, it is an underwhelming user experience if you chose dark backgrounds with white font. Perhaps you want it difficult for them to print a paper version? Think how that would make you feel and how you might assist by not having too ‘ink-intensive’ content.
  3. Depending on the purpose of your book, it could be as short as a few pages or it could be very lengthy – again, you need to consider what your intent is here.
  4. PDF size matters. Check whether or not your customer base will be located in a particular country, as there are different A4 sizes depending on whether your customer base uses metric or imperial.
  5. Are you aiming to collect readers contact details when they access your PDF? If so how will you go about this? Will you need to have follow up emails after the initial download? While your PDF may be “free” that does not mean that it is without value and the collection of readers details is the value exchange that you are offering.

What do you think?

What would you like to achieve?

Is a PDF book the right format for you and your business?


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