Kevin Callahan

Ebooks and Editors

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What is the editor's role in the production of an ebook? How does role of a proofreader change with an ebook? Editor and ebook designer, Kevin Callahan addresses these questions in this second edition of Ebooks and Editors: What You Need to Know.
The ebook designer, copyeditor, and proofreader are all on the same team making books for multitudes of readers: travelers picking up a paperback at the airport, library patrons borrowing ebooks, and blind readers using text-to-speech functions in e-reader software. The more understanding they have of each other's roles, the better work they will produce. Editors can help by ensuring the text is well structured and consistent.
When working with ebooks, editors need to become familiar with technology and pay attention to unfamiliar details. But the challenges have a big payoff: More people than ever can read a book.
Ebooks provide opportunities to make the text clearer and presentation useful in a unique way. The very nature of ebooks allows all readers to adjust size, font, screen orientation, and other features that make reading more accessible for everyone.
We want everyone to read when they want to, where they want to, and how they want to.
An ebook is a book. When a hardcover novel is reissued in paperback, no one questions if it's the same novel. When it's recorded as an audiobook, we take for granted that the narration is faithful to the print document.
Well, an ebook is the same. It transfers content from one format to another. It may have some features added, but the heart of the book is as faithful to the print edition as are paperbacks. There are differences in format and device capability. This booklet will only address reflowable, EPUB-based ebooks.
Like their print counterparts, ebooks contain text and images, but they have unique elements: Accessible reading features, including customizable settings via font and size adjustments, contrast enhancements, and fonts for dyslexic readers; embedded image descriptions to enhance text and caption information; several layers and types of contents listings and book navigation; inside-the-book hyperlinked cross references, indexes, footnotes, and endnotes; hyperlinks to external websites; and, audio and video. Not every ebook has all these elements.
What is the editor's role in the production of an ebook? How does role of a proofreader change with an ebook? There are of number of things a good editor can do to facilitate a good ebook experience for a reader.
While copyediting, an editor is marking head-level hierarchy, bold, italics, and numbered lists; querying the author on language choice; revealing the structure for the designer, typesetter, and ebook developer; and building a stylesheet for the proofreader to check against.
If a manuscript you're editing will be published as an ebook (a very likely situation), an editor will be able to do a more complete and universally usable edit if they know what to expect going in. It's helpful to know how an ebook is made, and what pieces it contains.
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63 printed pages
Original publication



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