A personal ebook formatting gripe: the first paragraph indent. You’d be quite familiar with the style in fiction titles at your local bookstore, but I don’t think you’ll be too familiar with it on web pages.

The point here is that most ebook conversions adhere to physical edition style guidelines and ignore how content is produced on the internet (the most ubiquitous digital edition there is). I have never read an internet post with first paragraph indents – ever. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist but I’ve never seen one (or perhaps I just ignore them …?).

Why then do authors and publishers expect me to read their digital editions with indents when 99.99% of digital content doesn’t use that formatting?

Ebook conversion experts will point out that devices such as the Kindle automatically indent the first paragraph. True. That line spacing and paragraph breaks use the same lead (I’m a typesetter at heart). True. They’ll also point out that a simple addition to the ebook’s style sheet is enough to remove this formatting obscenity. True – but unfortunately, many automatic conversion services don’t let you play around with the HTML code in the ebook wrapper.

If you care about how your ebook looks you might like to outsource its creation — or at least ensure your ebook adheres to digital publishing standards. We can certainly help, and you’ll find lots of service providers in India that can do the job inexpensively and extremely well.