While words, pictures, and ideas make a text, cover design, and book formatting transform it into a real book. Dozens of different things, small and large, go into a book to form a complete project. Before publishing a book, you need to distinguish between formatting and design or layout.

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Book Formatting

Book formatting means preparing your text manuscript document (like Microsoft Word) for uploading on a self-publishing platform like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). It mainly involves the book’s interior pages, and it has minimal styling of both images and text. For instance, the entire text uses one font style with additional stylings like bold, underline, italics, and size. It is cheaper than a book layout since it needs little skills and simple software.

The final text product will appear in a PDF or word document depending on the self-publishing platform’s requirement.

Book formatting is suitable for;

  • Text-only books with no or few images and tables included.
  • eBooks because PDFs are displayed poorly on e-reader devices.
  • Interior pages of a book.
  • Authors with a low budget since it is inexpensive.

Book Layout and Design

Book layout or design is a complicated project where a complex graphic design software like Adobe InDesign is used to place images and text on each page. Page styling, text, and image options are limitless here. The software programs used need many skills, making it less suitable for authors who want a DIY solution. Since it is expensive and tiresome, the manuscript needs proper editing and proofreading before it is laid out and produced in PDF form for printing.

Book layout/ Design is suitable for;

  • Texts with numerous images.
  • Perfect for authors with a specific idea of how the printed book should be.
  • Book cover designs.
  • Books with colored interior pages.

If you want to save money but still create a professional book, you can use both book layout and book formatting services. For instance, if the interior pages are primarily text, you can format them but create a layout design for the cover.

Similarly, if creating copies for both eBook and print, you can format the eBook version and design the print copy. It will be the best choice for you since most self- publishing platforms don’t accept PDFs due to their poor display on eBook readers.

Tips for Choosing Professional Book Layout and Formatting Services

Just like any other service, you have to be keen when choosing professional services for your book.

Consider the following things;

  • Expertise: Some book services providers can be quite confusing using both “formatting” and “layout” interchangeably. If you’re not sure, please ask!
  • Programs Used: You can ask about the program/ software used by a potential service provider to figure out the services they offer.
  • Fonts and Images: Only you should verify and approve the fonts and images to be used in your book to avoid issues of copyright infringements and such matters.
  • Agreements: Make sure you sign a contract for all the rights and terms of services.
  • Get all your files: Since you’re paying for the above services, you own the rights of all the copies created. At some point, you may need to make changes to provide an update, revised edition, or correction of any relevant information.
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