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The Best Layout For Your Book Portrait, Landscape, Or Both

By Expert Author: Fred Price

Designing a page layout can be really intimidating, especially when you're staring at a blank screen. Where do you start?
We're going to walk you through your major choices and explain the benefits and drawbacks of each. This way, you'll be able to make the best decision for your content.
First you need to decide which page orientation, landscape or portrait, you'd like to use for you book. Portrait orientation, as shown above, is taller than it is wide. Landscape, think of an actual outdoor landscape, is wider than it is tall.
Your guiding thought when choosing page orientation should be consumption dictates form. How do you want people to read your content? Will they be reading it on a tablet or on a desktop? Do you have a lot of images or mainly text? The answers to these questions will help you decide.
Generally, books that are text-heavy will benefit from a portrait orientation. It enables our eye to travel comfortably over a shorter distance than we would if reading in landscape orientation. Of course, you can fix that by creating multiple columns in landscape orientation. But generally speaking, we prefer to read large portions of text, like a novel, in portrait orientation.
If you have a lot of images, graphics, video, or other supporting objects within your text, you'll want to choose landscape as your orientation. You'll have an easier time incorporating those elements and you'll in this orientation. Landscape orientation tends to allow you to create more interesting layouts. This can and will be more challenging, so make sure all those layouts really add to your book and aren't just a distraction.
Most people will automatically want to have a book that works in both orientations. Careful! It's double the work and can be extremely challenging to get both designs done right. The benefit of both orientations is obviously that the reader can choose. But if it doesn't look right in one orientation, did you really give them a good choice? Probably not. It's better to stick with one or the other.
Bonus: Structure
After you've decided on page orientation, you'll need to define the structure of your book. Will it have multiple chapters or just one (like a coffee table book)? Will chapters be broken down into sections? Do those sections require subsections?
Ultimately, the structure of your book depends on what type of book you're creating. The more information you're trying to convey, the more structure your book will probably need.

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