In Children’s fixed layout ePub for iPad – Part 1, I recommended you only do 3 things.

  • write,
  • illustrate
  • and narrate your Children’s book.

Now this post won’t tell you how to write or illustrate but I can make it EZ-ier for you to format your book so it can be uploaded to the iBookstore. In the following posts we’ll go into what files you actually need to make a fixed layout ePub but for right now, you should know some basic information.

Children’s fixed layout ePub Artwork Requirements:

When drawing (painting) your artwork, keep in mind, you fixed layout ePub will be in landscape mode only.

The iPad landscape mode uses a two page spread. This does not mean, you draw or paint two images for your background image. You should only draw one and split it in half.

page inside of The Wonderful World of Wunks-Giant Lava Lamp Adventure which shows Wanda, Willie and Wally Wunk in my fixed layout ePub
Smaller than size needed for the iPad

The gold line in the picture is just to show you what each half would be for a two page spread. The rocks and sky is the background.jpg. The moon is made with CSS because it pulses in the iPad and the characters are separate png images which animate from small to large on the page.

The pixel requirements when I paint the images are:

  • 2048px (width) and 1536px (height).

    When you cut the image in half, each side will then be 1024 by 1536. You’ll further reduce each side 50% which will make your images display correctly on the iPad, iPhone and iPad.

    The reason I used 2048px for width and 1536px for height was due to tech specs for the latest iPad. Also, when customers zoom into a page for a closer look, the images don’t blur or become pixelated.

  • And yes, the 512(wide) by 768(high) image (viewport) sizes are backwards compatible to iPad 1.

Note: I painted my images in ArtRage but you can use any software you’re comfortable using.

  • Artwork requirement for a fixed layout ePub is either:
    1. .jpeg – saved at 85% quality or,
    2. a .png which has transparency.

And, I do want to point out that your artwork should take into consideration how many words will be on a page. If there is a lot of words, then you should think about how much artwork should be on your background image.

For my book, some of my pages had a plain black background jpeg with the rest of the images being pngs which were positioned on the page using CSS. The sample ePubs I’ve seen, were a jpeg background and only the words were absolutely positioned on the page.

And words must be positioned on the page if you intend to make a ReadAloud book for the iPad.

So having some of your artwork as transparent pngs means you can position your images and words exactly where they will look best on each page.

Narration Requirements for a fixed layout ePub

According to iBookstoreAssetGuide5.0.pdf, an audio file using a narrator’s voice can read the text on a page and the words can be highlighted as they are spoken. The reader can choose to have the pages turn automatically or they can turn them manually.

And the ReadAloud feature is only supported in a fixed layout ePub. The audio files must be in .m4a format.

And the best free program that does this for a Mac is Audacity (Apple’s Asset guide also recommends this program).

You will also need to label each word in your .xhtml file (yes, I can hear you groaning) and have a .smil file with each word having a clip beginning and ending data added. This isn’t hard but it can be very time consuming if your book has a lot of text.

Do you need to add narration?

No, but my recommendation is you do add narration in your children’s fixed layout ePub. Children and their parents love this feature because the words are highlighted making it EZ for the child to learn how to read.

And the final requirements for making a fixed layout ePub for the iPad:

  • You must have a mac or access to a mac to upload your ePub to iTunesConnect.
  • An iPad for testing your book
  • And an ISBN for your book

Now those three requirements sound like a big reason why not to make a children’s fixed layout ePub for the iPad but it needn’t be.

I bought a Mac Mini and the basic price is $599 (mine was more but then again, I’m a power user), I have an original iPad for testing and a block of ISBNs (10) is a good idea for any Author who intends to write more than one Children’s fixed layout ePub.

My main reason for wanting to publish in Apple’s iBookstore is the competition is not as stiff as Amazon and children love reading on the iPad.

And, this is only going to be more prevalent in the future. Why?

Because Parents love it also (think keeping them entertained in the car, while grocery shopping, etc.) and there are millions of them waiting to buy your fixed layout ePub for their little “rug rats.”

Now that you have an overview of the requirements, Part 3 will get into the files and folders needed for a fixed layout ePub.

fixed layout ePub Part 2 with Judith Signature image

P.S. If you found this post on making a fixed layout ePub helpful, please leave a comment below and or share it with your Author friends.

Go to Children’s Fixed Layout ePub for iPad – Part 3


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  1. Ok, I’m going in. Thanks for these posts they are very informative and make it sound possible. That’s a big boost to us as we are trying to achieve this but without the animated part. We’ve done everything else ourselves thus far and want to be able to achieve this too. So HUGE thanks.

    Can I check on some assumptions?
    By text editor it can be any one available i.e. on my mac it would be TextEdit.

    So we are not using a program at any point here? It’s all done via the folders you set up and the text edit program? Or should I be creating an epub first through something like scrivener or smashwords?

    Thanks for your help in advance!

    The Dream Team.

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