So, last night daughter-in-law showed me what an ebook looks like on an iPad (I had never played with an iPad before). I suffered a moment of pure, unmitigated envy. The pages were set up to look like printed book pages–including the author’s name and the book title on opposing pages.
I want my Kindle to do that.
You can’t format a header into an ebook. That would really mess things up. The technology is in place for automatic headers, though. When I first open an ebook, the bar across the top shows the book title and author name. As I page into the book, the bar disappears. I wish it wouldn’t because I am terrible with remembering names and titles. I’m not the only one.
My problem is not around the details of the story line specifically, but the name of both the author and the ebook itself, both of which I find I always forget by the time I have read about 10 pages or thereabouts. I am pretty sure that this is caused by the fact that one misses the reinforcing clues of seeing the cover of any paper book you read every time you pick it up and start reading it. With an ereader, once you are past the title page, you no longer see the title or author’s name ever again while reading the ebook – Thus unless it is a particular favourite book of yours, there goes the title and writer’s name…
That’s from eBookAnoid in his blog post titled, Do You Remember the Name of the Ebook You Just Finished Reading?
Is this a huge problem? An earth-shattering problem? No, not really. I know it annoys me when I’m reading and realize I have forgotten completely the author name and title, then have to GO TO the beginning or toggle HOME so I can see it on the main screen.
In the reformat I did for Marina Bridge’s Pickers & Pickled Punks, I tried something new:
This is a collection of four short stories. On the title page for each story I inserted a mini-header with the book title and author’s name. (10 pt font, centered) Here’s how it looks on the Kindle.
It’s not nearly as good as having the author and title on every page or every other page, but it’s something. This method would also work on a novel by putting a header at the start of each chapter.
But, here lies danger. Conversion programs such as MobiPocket and Smashword’s Meat Grinder now automatically generate tables of content. This is a good thing since getting the links right can be a pain in the butt. The programs want to use the first line of text on the page after a page break to insert the link in the ToC. With Scrivener this is no problem. I break each chapter/story/section into a file and give the file a name. Scrivener’s ebook generator uses those file names to create the ToC.
Notice how in the ToC I tagged the recipes with “Recipe:” to make them easy to find. In the book itself, I omitted the “Recipe:” and just went with the title.
I haven’t figured out yet how to do this in MS Word. If I were to insert running title/author heads, the conversion program would pick that up for the ToC. I tried doing a manual ToC with links, and that appeared just fine, but then the conversion program generated one, too. Which was very confusing and none too neat, or nifty.
I think it’s worthwhile to figure this out. Discoverability and name recognition are important to indie writers. Every chance we have of locking our names in the readers’ minds has to be a good thing.