Vignettes and eBooks

noun 1.  a decorative design or small illustration used on the titlepage of a book, or at the beginning or end of a chapter. Macquarie Dictionary Publishers, 2019

I recently presented a session on The Well Crafted eBook as part of a workshop on How To Publish an eBook with Ken Vickery at the Bassendean Library. As part of my session I addressed the question of including Vignettes in an eBook. Vignettes can be obtained at a reasonable price from Shutterstock.com.

A sample of vignettes obtained from Shutterstock

Or make your own as we did for Leonie Rogers' Frontier Defiant.

Shanna and her two starcats

The problem with including a picture in an eBook, however, is that it must be able to be viewed on a variety of screens: from phones, to tablets, to computers, as well as on eBook Readers.

As a result we have now standardised on the image required for the printed version (300 dpi) for the Title Page (which is 590 x 270 pixels). The image for Chapter Titles is half that size (ie 295 x 135). For printed books each image has to be separately set.

When including the vignette in an eBook the following specifications are used (unfortunately this is slightly more technical and requires a little more understanding of the html/css interface/. What we are defining however, is as follows:

  • Width - this is the percentage of the page that is to be taken up by the image.
  • Minimum Width - this overrides the width and sets the minimum number of pixels, as the picture may be unrecognisable if it is too small.
  • Maximum Width - this ensures that the image doesn't pixelate by getting viewed beyond up its original size.

In summary:

Title PageChapter Page
Width40%25%
Minimum Width438 px200 px
Maximum Width590 px590 px

For an eBook the picture only has to be included the once, and then linked to its location below the chapter number on each chapter page.

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