Reading the New York Times article about the e-book version of Julia Child’s classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking you’d think that a milestone had been reached in the struggle for high-quality e-books. This 1961 book is one of the classics, and the publisher had a tradition to uphold.
Cookbooks have not been a big hit as e-books and part of the problem is assumed to be their complex formatting. Knopf in fact abandoned its first attempt to create an e-book from Mastering because the “technology was not available” to recreate the book’s “distinctive two-column format.”
The story of the Mastering the Art of French Cooking e-book affords an opportunity to look at the current state of e-book creation and the strengths and limitations of the e-book formats in use today. I call this tale Mastering the Art of e-Book Formatting. (more…)