Why ebooks need typography
What is typography?
A good functional definition is very sweet and simple:
- Some of this has to do with font choices: But ebooks (other than PDF) do not presently allow embedded fonts
- Some has to do with leading and point size: but ebooks give few controls here, and the readers can butcher that at will
- A lot has to do with column width: ebooks give designers no control here at all, because column width is dependent on the point size and the font used
- The bell & whistles are important: drop caps, custom indents—left & right, text warps, multiple columns, sidebars, and all the rest are important aids to help the reader comprehend content easily
Typography is the art & craft of making words easy and comfortable to read
All of these things can be handled with CSS3 and HTML5, but the ebook readers do not allow it so far.
What is needed to make ebooks readable?
Things that are already available in CSS3 & HTML5.
- @font-face for font control
- margins & padding
With these tools we can make content easy and comfortable to read.
iPad or better…
All we need is the capabilities of an iPad as far as screen resolution is concerned. With that and the CSS/HTML abilities mentioned above, ebooks can be as easy and comfortable to read as any good book. We’re not there yet though.