What is a good TOC for eBook
TOC for eBook, or, for e-publishing is quite different from traditional TOC on paper. The difference comes from two aspects.
TOC on e-publishing
- Media bearer changed. Scrren for eBook is generally smaller than a traditional book paper size. So TOC should be designed for smaller size.
- Reading devices make reading method changed. Reader can not see whole TOC like on a large paper, they need to to press button or touch the screen to turn to next page of TOC. And reader can not open any page like on paper book, they need TOC to navigate to.
- Readers are changing. Modern life and work require fast reading and browsing. TOC for eBook is more important than before. Readers like to use TOC to go directly to where they need or skip unwanted chapters.
Thus, new requirement for TOC emerged.
- TOC should not be too long, to avoid many page turning.
- TOC should not be nested with two many levels, to fit narrow screen.
- TOC item should not be with too many words, to avoid line feed.
- TOC should be elegant and brief.
- TOC should be essential and naviation friendly.
- TOC should be simple and easy to understand.
Here are some instructions for turning traditonal TOC into modern TOC.
- Avoid using all uppercased TOC item, Capitalized is much better for reader to understand the content.
- Avoid long sentence item, using several words instead.
- Number only item is not navigation friendly, brief title should be added to help reader understanding the content.
- Arabic number is much better than roman numbers.
- TOC level should be limited within 3 levels. If possible, 1 level list is the best.
- Unneccessary items should be removed from TOC.
A bad TOC
A good TOC
If you browse online book stores, you can find books with good TOC there. One typical example is Feedbooks, books there mostly use one level list TOC, capitalized, with arabic numeric chapter numbers, showing beautifully on eReaders.
You can also find old epub files with old styled TOC on Gutenberg.org, they are really not easy to use.
And, at last, ePub Magic TOC is designed to create modern TOC for you.