The ebooks Pressbooks produces are reflowable--that means they adapt to the device the reader is using. This is a good thing--reflowable ebooks provide the best reader experience possible across all devices. In a reflowable ebook, there is no such thing as a page, because that will vary by device. Even a page on my Kindle Fire and and a page on your Kindle fire could contain different amounts of text because on ereader devices, the user is also in control of their reading font size. Here are a few examples of attributes it's tough to control in ebooks: dropcaps, hanging indents, running headers, running footers and body fonts.
Dropcaps in ebooks
Dropcaps are one element that you can't entirely control in ebooks. You can do them by hacking around with the CSS, but they won't look good in every instance. This is because even if you hack your code to include dropcaps, every device will display them differently. They look bad on about 80% of outputs, especially where users can override text settings. Also, different devices have different font sizes, line heights, etc. and those can interfere with the dropcap display too.
Hanging indents in ebooks
In an ebook, you can't force hanging indents because you need to use negative text indents or padding to get them to work properly, and ebook readers handle those poorly. There's no standard CSS to say "make this a hanging indent" and even when you try, it doesn't work in many devices.
Running headers and running footers in ebooks
Another element you won't see in Pressbooks ebook outputs is running headers or running footers. That's because there is no concept of a page in ebooks. Some e-readers have their own standard for this too, and you can't override those.
Body fonts in ebooks
If you have an e-reading platform like Kindle or iBooks or any e-reading software, there's a user setting that lets users choose their preferred body font. At Pressbooks, we try to force chapter title and header fonts, but remember that the user retains some control over their reading fonts. Why you can't remove the TOC in an ebook For ebooks, certain ebookstores require a table of contents. Remember that the user cares more about the experience than the formatting, and the formatting is going to change from device to device. An ebook includes what you might call a system table of contents, so the ebook reader devices can do a drop-down table of contents. On top of this, some ebook platforms also require a page that is a clickable, linkable page like any other table of contents. The notion is that in an ebook--because you don’t have the tactile setup of pages that you would have in a physical book where you know where you are--in ebooks you want to make it easy for people to get to the parts of a book, and having a table of contents file is the easiest way to do that. So even if you’re doing just one chapter or a short story, the table of contents is best practice and more important, required in at least some ebook platforms. So at Pressbooks, we magically create this file for you. We don’t enable not having a table of contents because it’s required in some ebook platforms and we don’t want your book to be rejected.
Of course, these elements can be customized in the PDF (print) format of your book. For specifics, visit guide.pressbooks.com
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