View Full Version : In-line quoted letter formatting

01-07-2013, 06:54 AM
Anyone have any advice as to how i might format a quoted, hand-written letter in the text of the an ebook. For example:


Julie opened the envelope and read:

Dearest Julie,

I can't believe it has been three months since I have seen your lovely eyes. My charter to South Africa has been fraught with troubles from the start. Our ship was attacked by pirates near Gibraltar, but we were able to out run them. I long for the comforts of home and hope to return soon.

Yours forever,


Tears streak down Julie's face as she drops the letter on the table.



Looking for advice on indention, style (bold, italic, etc), and line/paragraph spacing.


01-07-2013, 06:57 PM
What I'd prefer to see is a format mimicking how it would appear in print. That would depend on house style, and if you're self-publishing, you're the house.

My own preference is a blank line before and after the letter, the same font and size, the entire letter indented from both the left and right margins.

Others may prefer italics rather than indentation.

Essentially, you want it obvious where the letter begins and ends. (BTW, I'd probably delete and read:. The reader will figure that out when the letter is presented, right?)

Maryn, old school

Katie Elle
01-07-2013, 07:33 PM
I'm with Maryn, I like indentation. I probably read too many Darkover books as a teen, but I always think of italics as thoughts or telepathy.

While sticking a specific font face can cause troubles or simply get ignored by reading devices, another idea would be to define it as sans-serif which I think is safe.

01-07-2013, 08:17 PM
Thanks Maryn and Katie. I'll give it a shot.

Oh, and the example i included was just sample text i made up. But thanks for the editorial suggestions anyway. :D

01-07-2013, 08:34 PM
Use the blockquote tag. Note that some ereaders do not allow paragraph breaks inside blockquote tags, so tag the paragraphs separately.

I'd also use inline css for san-serif; don't pick a specific font.

Although epub for iBooks allows a "script" tag in css for a script based font, they're often too difficult for people to read. I wouldn't use the script or italics tags for a large passage of text, like a letter, for that reason.

01-07-2013, 09:02 PM
Thanks, Medievalist.

Does anyone have examples of ebooks where this has been done?