There is a lot of terminology being used at the moment regarding electronic brochures, epubs (or electronic publications), e-books (electronic books) and iBooks (Apple’s version of the e-book format).
This is mainly due to the fact that each major retailer requires a book or brochure in their preferred format, be it on a Kindle, iPhone or iPad. Although efforts are being made to standardise this format, what it offers the viewer from a graphic and visual perspective is still very limited on certain devices. Designing an electronic brochure starts with identifying exactly which format is best for your specific needs.
From a design perspective (and trying not to get too technical) at the moment there are two routes you can take:
- epub – this is based on an HTML format and is designed for e-readers (such as the Kindle) and displays the content as text, enabling the viewer to change the size and font of the text. Images can also be inserted into the text but have very limited formatting/layout capabilities. EPUB has become the preferred format for eBooks by many publishers, libraries, and eBook retailers due to its flexibility, support for multimedia, and accessibility features. It has helped to standardize the eBook industry and make digital reading accessible to a wide audience.
- iBook – this format is Apple’s version of the epub but with more capability for design, layout and interaction. While you can create basic books, you can also add more interactive elements, making it more than an e-reader. The downside to this extra functionality is that you can only view this on Apple hardware, such as the iPad.
What can Toast offer
We can create both formats but this all depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you want to convert your book to an electronic version to sell on sites like Amazon, then the epub format is the way to go. If you are looking more towards an interactive, visually appealing brochure then the iBook format is best providing you are happy this will only work on Apple devices. Note that these types of publication are different from typical online brochures that display on websites or social media.
What are the benefits of the iBook format?
1. Add movie clips
One of the standout features of iBooks is its support for interactive multimedia elements. iBooks can incorporate features such as embedded audio and video, 3D graphics, interactive widgets, and animations. This allows authors and publishers to create highly engaging and interactive eBook experiences. 91% of internet users say that they prefer interactive content.
2. Fixed and reflowable layouts
iBooks can be created in both fixed-layout and reflowable formats. Fixed-layout iBooks are designed for books with complex page layouts, like children’s books or textbooks, where the layout of each page is preserved. Reflowable iBooks adapt to the size and orientation of the reader’s device, making them suitable for novels and other text-heavy content.
3. Protect your content
iBooks can be protected with Apple’s FairPlay DRM (Digital Rights Management) system, which restricts unauthorised copying and distribution of eBooks.
4. Interact differently with your brochure
iBooks are often referred to as “Multi-touch Books” due to their ability to support various touch-based interactions on iOS devices.
5. Added features exclusive to Apple
iBooks may include features specific to Apple devices, such as the ability to highlight text, take notes, and access a built-in dictionary. Readers can also customise the text size, font, and background colour to suit their preferences.
6. Upload to the iBooks store to sell or distribute for free
iBooks can be sold and distributed through Apple’s digital bookstore, the iBooks Store. This integration makes it easy for authors and publishers to reach Apple’s extensive user base.
Frequently asked questions about electronic brochures
What is an electronic brochure?
An electronic brochure, also known as an e-brochure or digital brochure, is a digital version of a traditional printed brochure. It is designed to be viewed on electronic devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.
What are the advantages of using electronic brochures?
Electronic brochures offer several advantages, including cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, interactivity, the ability to reach a wider audience through online distribution, and the ability to include multimedia elements like videos and links.
How are electronic brochures distributed?
Electronic brochures can be distributed via email, websites, social media, QR codes, and digital publishing platforms. They can also be shared through messaging apps or embedded in presentations.
What file formats are commonly used for electronic brochures?
PDF is one of the most common formats for electronic brochures due to its widespread compatibility. Other formats include EPUB, HTML, and interactive formats like Flipbook or online publishing platforms.
Can electronic brochures be interactive?
Yes, electronic brochures can be highly interactive. They can include clickable links, embedded videos, image galleries, forms for feedback or inquiries, interactive maps, and more. Interactive elements enhance user engagement.
Are electronic brochures eco-friendly?
Yes, electronic brochures are more environmentally friendly than printed brochures. They save paper and reduce waste, making them a sustainable option for businesses and organisations.
Can electronic brochures be accessed offline?
It depends on the format. Some electronic brochures, like downloadable PDFs or EPUBs, can be accessed offline once they are downloaded to a device. However, brochures hosted on websites or online publishing platforms may require an internet connection.
Are electronic brochures compatible with mobile devices?
Yes, electronic brochures are designed to be responsive and compatible with mobile devices. They can be easily viewed and navigated on smartphones and tablets.
Can electronic brochures be updated or revised after distribution?
Yes, one of the advantages of electronic brochures is their ease of updating. You can make changes to the content, add new information, or correct errors, and then distribute the updated version electronically.
Is it possible to track engagement with electronic brochures?
Yes, many digital publishing platforms and email marketing tools provide analytics that allow you to track how many people have viewed your electronic brochures, which pages they visited, and how long they spent reading them.
Are there any security considerations for electronic brochures?
If your electronic brochure contains sensitive information, consider using password protection or encryption to secure it. Additionally, be cautious about including clickable links to external websites and ensure they are safe and trustworthy.
Can electronic brochures be printed if needed?
Yes, most electronic brochures can be printed if necessary. Users can download and print PDF versions, although the formatting and design may differ from the digital version.
Are there any design tips for creating electronic brochures?
Design for readability on both large screens and mobile devices. Use high-quality images, concise text, and clear headings. Make good use of white space, and ensure your branding is consistent throughout the brochure. Test the brochure on different devices to ensure compatibility.
What industries commonly use electronic brochures?
Many industries use electronic brochures, including tourism, travel, real estate, healthcare, education, technology, and marketing. They are versatile and can be used in various contexts to convey information and promote products or services.
How can this relate to my product/service?
This all depends on what you are trying to achieve. If your target audience is at the forefront of technology, a younger demographic, into the Apple chic or is just looking for something better than a PDF then this format is the solution. Electronic brochures can help your service, product, event or publication in different ways:
1. Service – present your offering on an iPad, making it interactive
2. Product – include short videos demonstrating the main selling points of your product
3. Event – including diagrams of the location, timetables and prices
4. Publications – convert your magazine designs into a stunning interactive version, pushing your publication onto the next level
Creating electronic brochures isn’t the golden ticket and should be a part of an overall marketing plan. Toast are experts in providing well-designed and functional electronic brochures for companies, so why not talk to us today about how we can help you create your electronic brochures?
I’m the Production Director at Toast, I manage and organise our client’s work through the design studio, ensuring deadlines are met and within budget. I also account manage several of our larger clients, working closely with them to evolve processes, look at new opportunities and advise them on the most effective way of creating and producing their marketing materials. I’m also the finance director and manage any financial issues at Toast.