Fixed Layout eBooks

There are instances where the author wants to retain an identical layout and design across multiple devices. Illustration-heavy titles, where the text is linked with the images, or even superimposed on them, would not work as effectively in a standard reflowable format. Depending on the chosen eBook file format, other enhancements —such as embedded video and audio, animations, or narration— can also be added.

However, support for these enhancements is patchy and inconsistent across devices. The process for creating fixed layout eBooks therefore heavily depends on the device and publication platform chosen. Many illustrated children’s books and some complex non-fiction books (e.g. cookbooks) can benefit from a fixed layout format, with some of the main options highlighted below.


Adobe-PDF-LogoAdobe’s Portable Document Format has been around since 1993 and was intended as a standard way for users on different platforms to exchange documents. It does lack many of the features present in other formats, so that many don’t consider this a true eBook format. Another drawback of PDF is that it cannot be sold through many of the major eBook retailers (although you can of course always offer them via your own website).

ePub 3

ePub eBook formatThe latest version of the standard reflowable ePub format, based on an extension created by Apple to the earlier ePub 2 standard, now also provides a way to generate fixed-layout eBooks. This format is being increasingly adopted by major retail platforms, such as Apple, Google, Kobo, and Sony, as it provides more features than other formats currently available:

  • Zoom. Full zoom and pan capability
  • Multiple page view. Users can view the eBook as a single full-size page, or as a two-page spread
  • Orientation. eBooks can be viewed in both portrait and landscape mode
  • Embedded video and audio
  • Animations
  • Narration. The narration can be integrated with the text of the eBook

Kindle Format 8 (KF8) Fixed Layout

Kindle Fixed layout eBook formatAmazon introduced a fixed layout option for its devices in late 2011, as an extension to its own proprietary reflowable eBook format. However, it does not behave consistently across all Kindle devices, and is only really recommended for the tablet (Fire) devices. The main drawback is that these devices have a 16:9 aspect ratio, which is considerably different from a typical print book ratio and means the eBook will likely need to be redesigned from scratch. Also, zooming is not supported, so it’s important that the eBook design works well with all the native screen sizes.

How Unbound Stories can help

Due to the highly bespoke nature of creating a fixed layout eBook, as well as the fragmentary nature of the formats available, we don’t provide a one-size-fits-all package, but, rather, a fully-tailored service. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] or via our contact page so we can assess your requirements and provide you with a competitive quote.