I’m not a particularly technical person. When I’m involved in a discussion about the ins-and-outs of eBook formatting and conversion my eyes tend to gloss over and the other person’ voice starts to sound muffled and monotone, like the teacher from Peanuts.
So when I first asked an eBook conversion expert what page size I should make my manuscript document before conversion, I was happy to hear a very non-technical answer: “Uhhh, well,… it kinda doesn’t matter!”
You see, there is no fixed pagination with eBooks. The reader gets to customize their font, font size, and spacing preferences– so a book that is 200 pages in print could be 300, 400, 500, even 1000 “pages” on a Nook, Kindle, iPad, or other reader. ePUB files (the standard eBook format) are designed to make the text “flow” in this manner across multiple devices.
If text flows then there can be no fixed layout; if there’s no fixed layout then your manuscript file’s page size really doesn’t matter. After the ePUB conversion process, the text that was gently scooped up from your manuscript file will be displayed (in the correct order, of course!) according to user settings and preferences.
All that being said, if you’re writing your book in Word, we recommend just leaving the page size set to standard (8.5 x 11 inches) in portrait (as opposed to landscape).
Standard 8.5 x 11″ page size ensures that any included images will be at least large enough for the iPad. If you were to send us a document that you’d formatted to mimic a common eReader screen size (like 4 x 6, 5 x 7, or 5.5 x 8.5), most of your images will be too small for larger eReader/tablet devices.
Plus, you’ll be able to use that same 8.5 x 11″ Word file to print manuscripts on standard computer paper, and you’ll be able to convert it to an easily-printable PDF for any readers who prefer that format.