When I first started to prepare my book for publishing I spent a few hours cruising around looking for resources of various types, and bookmarking those that seemed worth revisiting. But I rarely did.
Today I spent a little time checking out a few of those sites, discarding some and highlighting others. One that I think is particularly worth sharing is a book design site called TheWorldsGreatestBook.com, hosted by Dave Bricker. Not everyone is going to look at book design as an enjoyable part of the self-publishing process, but if you’re someone that does care about design, this site is a gold mine.
If you’d like to be persuaded of Dave’s credentials, you might want to start with a recent post he wrote called Proposed Standards for Book Typography. It’s not unlikely that you’ll find more information here than you need (unless you’re really into book design), but I think you will be impressed not only with Dave’s depth of knowledge, but also with his solid common sense and clear explanations.
As you might have guessed from my taking the time to highlight this site, I do care a lot about book design, and have been concerned for some time over whether the advent of the eBook will lead to a deterioration of good book design. I wrote about that in greater detail a while back in a Consider This essay I titled Digitization and the (Vanishing) Arts of the Book.
As I note in that essay, designers of eBooks can only work with the technology that’s available. If software that supports a rich array of book design features (and that’s also easy to use) isn’t available, or if device vendors don’t do what’s necessary to allow eBooks designed using those tools to fully display, then the survival of the arts of the book will be in real danger.
Hopefully technical people will be willing to spend the time to provide the type of back end technology that will enable good book design to flourish rather than fail as more and more readers inevitably switch their purchasing preferences to eBooks from physical books.