From Digital Book World:
I was reading a novel today on a Kindle Paperwhite . . . . Despite the engaging content, I kept getting jarred out of the ebook by its low production quality. The formatting wasn’t even so horrible, but small mistakes kept punching me out of my immersive experience.
The problem originated, I am almost certain, from typesetting for print, followed by poor ebook QA after the conversion was made. It’s an issue that’s stubbornly pervasive in the industry, and there are a handful of straightforward ways to avoid it.
In my most recent case, the ebook was set not to hyphenate at all but was force-justified, which meant big, wide holes in the text. The editorial breaks that were so important to the story were frequently lost altogether, leaving the reader to figure out the switch in tone or character from the context, instead of from the typesetting. Section breaks were marked by small caps, which I imagine were designed to be the entire first line in the print edition but ended up as a line-and-a-half on the screen on which I was reading—a length that neither was attractive nor made any sense.
. . . .
One of my crusading themes as an ebook developer and trainer is how to keep content—formerly known as print assets—agile and clean for future output purposes.
And the key to agile assets is cleanly formatted print files. The idea here is to typeset from print but to keep the assets flexible and elastic. The focus of any set of assets should never be just print, as all content is destined for a print afterlife; laying out pages for the print page only renders that content dangerous or even useless for an ebook.
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2. Don’t use empty white-space items like paragraph returns, tabs and spaces to typeset.
3. All formatting should come from cleanly applied paragraph and character style sheets that aren’t overridden at the local level.
Link to the rest at Digital Book World