A great deal of design can go into real, paper books. Same thing goes for web pages. At the moment, however, at least on devices like the Kindle, it really is all about the content. Rather than embellishments, most of what goes into making books look good on the Kindle is ensuring there are no major mistakes or omissions, and some technical details.
- Does it have a table of contents (aka “ToC”) ? If your book is very brief, this doesn’t matter as much, but a properly linked ToC is one thing that makes a book work well.
- Are the ToC and cover linked from the Kindle menu (“Go to…”) ?
- Most importantly – is the book consistent? Does it use the same formatting throughout?
- Are extra styles – bold, italic, etc… kept to a minimum? Great content usually doesn’t need a lot of visual queues to make it work.
- Do your images work? Do they look right? They’re not pixelated or too large or too small?
- Does it use the regular Kindle fonts, so that people will see it how they want to on their Kindles?
It’s really not a lot to keep track of, but for many people, the devil can be in the details, or, more likely, in the Word file they’ve imported, so it’s important to look through the document and check, especially to ensure it’s consistent.
The positive side of this, of course, is that the gap between self-publishers and major publishers with large budgets is still bound to be fairly small; there’s just not that much you can do to make an eBook really fancy, yet.