View Full Version : Force on Publisher Defaults on Nook Color


danrodney
01-16-2012, 03:48 PM
Prior to the latest 1.4.1 update I was able to get embedded fonts to work great on the Nook Color. The update added new features for end users to customize the font etc. but now it's ignoring my font and using theirs unless they choose to turn on Publisher Defaults. Then it looks great.

Is there anyone to force Publisher Defaults to be on by default unless a user decides to turn it off?

Thanks in advance.
Dan

Jim Lester
01-16-2012, 04:14 PM
No, the default for all nook clients is what the user has selected (as well margins, line spacing and color).

Note that the 1.4.1 update didn't add this feature, it did however enable better enforcing of the CSS overrides to make sure that the user selections for styling would actually be used, and prevents 'ransom noting' among other things that I've seen with mixed styling (Night Mode not working). As you have already noted turning on the Publisher Defaults turns off the CSS overriding.

[Note to Mods - this would be better in one of the B&N forums (while he said Nook Color - this applies to all the Nook clients)]

danrodney
01-16-2012, 04:39 PM
This does not apply to all Nooks. For instance it does NOT affect the 1st generation Nook, which still exhibits the older behavior and displays the embedded font without the user doing anything. So maybe it's just new Nook devices (including the Nook Color).

I am aware that the Nook Color originally would override some things, such as the eBook's margins, but now they have gone too far! Embedded fonts and colors have now been wiped out. The reality is many consumers would think that's how the book is supposed to look and not know they should choose Publisher Defaults. And why should they have to do that? The book looks so much worse with the "user's" choice being enforced! Apple at least is now defaulting to the Original formatting, with the option the user can change things "if" they want to. Apple got their themes working without having to kill an eBook's formatting, so should B&N be able to.

This is truly a sad day for design is B&N thinks this is the way it should be. Since when do consumers know more about design than designers? I think it should default to the designer's choice, and "if" they want, then they can change it. Not the other way around. Webpages don't default to one standard font, and "if" the user wants the original design they can choose it. Why in the world would eBooks work this way?

danrodney
01-16-2012, 04:48 PM
And just to be clear... As you said Jim, while the update didn't add the Publisher Default feature, it is enforcing it differently.

Now I think it's gone too far. Is there no solution to bland looking books now?

sueneu
01-16-2012, 05:34 PM
I can understand a give-and-take between the designer controlling the reading experience and the reader controlling the experience.

BUT. . . with "publisher defualts" turned off, cyrillic characters in my current project don't display. (L, l, t and n with caron).:eek:

If they're going limit font choices, shouldn't the fonts at least have a big utf charactor set?

Anyone know a work around that is less ugly than using in-line images?

Jim Lester
01-16-2012, 07:40 PM
This does not apply to all Nooks. For instance it does NOT affect the 1st generation Nook, which still exhibits the older behavior and displays the embedded font without the user doing anything. So maybe it's just new Nook devices (including the Nook Color).


Now I think it's gone too far. Is there no solution to bland looking books now?

The CSS override is not new. However, if you had your CSS at a level of specificity higher than the CSS we used to override, then it would win, which was how you were getting it to work. Unfortunately there was enough content (and tools such as InDesign) that was abusing this (basic body text being styled with a p.class rule, and the class being applied to almost all of the p tags in the document instead of just styling p or even better body and creating classes for the exceptions, for instance), and breaking major features (such as font and color selection that I mentioned before) for the reader.

Starting the 1.4.1 release (and this approach will start making it out to all of the clients) the CSS selectors at any level of specificity are being overridden to use the users choice instead of the author's choice. Or to put it another way the user complaint of "I can't see the content" trumps "This looks bland"
Until the 1.4.1 update the first couldn't be fixed, while as you already noted the user can potentially fix the last using the the Publisher Defaults (admittedly if they know that it is there - and the styling on the content is interesting enough for them to want to).


If they're going limit font choices, shouldn't the fonts at least have a big utf charactor set?


We are definitely looking into expanding the glyph set on the fonts as we go international. However the current font set should handle most Western European languages, and as you noted they do not have the glyphs for Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic or any of the Asian languages. The size of the font files is a definite problem for some of the clients (iOS and Google Marketplace Android application), and so here I can definitely see the case for using the language tag of the ePub or potentially the element to do something interesting. The counter argument for that is that the setting for using Publisher Defaults is sticky on the device, which takes care of most of the problems for users.

danrodney
01-17-2012, 01:48 AM
Or to put it another way the user complaint of "I can't see the content" trumps "This looks bland"

I believe Publisher Defaults is turned OFF by default, correct? If it were turned ON for all users as a default I would not have a problem.

Assuming Publisher Defaults is turned OFF by default, here's what I have to say:
The problem with this approach is that the Nook is making all eBooks look bland/bad by default. That makes Apple and Amazon's eReaders look better than the Nook. By default they honor styling that the Nooks overrides. Amazon's new KF8 is dramatically better than Mobi was it, even supports embedded fonts which automatically work, like the Nook used to.

With iBooks, Apple lets us tell it to start with our settings, and THEN users can switch to their own look. Apple got their themes working even without having to initially remove all original font and colors, why can't B&N? And it never removes all the colors applied to text like the Nook is now doing.

I guess it's about priorities. B&N is saying they'll make all eBooks look bland/bad by default because the ability of users to change their look trumps the designer's ability to make good looking eBooks. If B&N had a priority on allowing good design, it would ship the Nook honoring Publisher Defaults (and get the themes issue figured out like Apple did). And to be clear, this should be a book by book preference. Some books may look best with Publisher Defaults on, some with it off. I think it should NOT be an app/system wide preference. Turning it on/off book by book is annoying (to me as a user).

I'll close by saying that I've championed the Nook because I like a competitive marketplace. The Nook seemed to do a really good job of honoring styling in eBooks without making me jump through the hoops that iBooks does (with a proprietary .xml file to honor fonts). But I can get iBooks to display things properly, Amazon's KF8 is a huge improvement, and now the Nook is going backwards and making the eBooks look worse by default. This is a step backward, not forward. Yeah it's just one setting, but many users will not know about it and now B&N is forcing content creators to add instructions to every eBook saying "If you're on a Nook be sure to turn on Publisher Defaults." That's not good usability (software changes, but the eBook doesn't, so this isn't good practice) and doesn't encourage content creators to enjoy supporting the Nook. Hopefully B&N figures out a better way before pushing this change out to all their eReaders.

DiapDealer
01-17-2012, 08:03 AM
I agree with danrodney. The ability to override the content creator's CSS is a handy feature... but there's just no way that ignoring the content creator's CSS by default makes any kind of sense.

Punishing the many (who are creating tasteful content with embedded fonts for chapter headers or other special text) because of the few that are causing more tech support calls...
Or to put it another way the user complaint of "I can't see the content" trumps "This looks bland"
... seems quite draconian.

Unless I've completely misread the situation (which is always possible). ;)

The way I'm reading this, is that the font I embedded to use for dropcaps at the beginning of chapters would now be ignored by default. Same with chapter headings. If so: making the user jump through hoops in order to see exactly what the content creator intended them to see seems incredibly presumptuous and short-sighted.

I agree that some overuse font embedding in an attempt to micro-manage every single aspect of the reader's experience with their book—and there needs to be a way to circumvent that—but punishing the vast majority that are doing it "right" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Again... maybe I'm misreading. :chinscratch:

Jim Lester
01-17-2012, 12:58 PM
The user changes to the text customization options persist on the device (ie across books and across boots) - so there isn't much in the way of 'defaults' going on, except for the out of box experience (which does have the Publisher Default button as off).

And Yes, Diap, the change is quite draconian - but if the user wants the content rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black, I feel the content should be rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black. Unfortunately there was sufficient content that was preventing the previous, more cooperative, method of CSS override (on the body/p/div tags), that a more thorough method needed to be used.

danrodney
01-17-2012, 05:57 PM
but if the user wants the content rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black, I feel the content should be rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black.

Well in iBooks, Apple has figured out a way to allow designers to make good looking eBooks that look that way by default. Then, "if" the user wants to change the font or theme they can and "it just works." I don't understand why the Nook can't do the same. Sounds in it might just be a programming issue they haven't figured out.

But a bigger issue is that B&N is saying their themes, default font choice, etc are better "by default" than any eBook design. Sorry, but that's a wrong assumption and leads to all eBooks boringly looking the same. That is not a good thing. This only serves to set back the design of eBooks which is already hard enough as it is.

Words can't explain how wrong I think this approach is :(

sueneu
01-18-2012, 10:40 AM
Jim,
So glad B&N is looking into expanding globally and adding more characters. (On further testing, the Century Schoolbook and Dutch fonts don't display the cyrillic, the others do.)

Sometimes publishers do know what they are doing when they format a book a certain way. Design decisions are purposeful especially in Young Adult and Emerging Reader titles, with visual cues helping comprehension and clarity. Font, color, and text size among other things are important tools.

What do you suggest for this book? Are people responding well to publishers suggesting that they view books with a particular setting?
Thanks again for your help!

Jim Lester
01-19-2012, 03:49 PM
But a bigger issue is that B&N is saying their themes, default font choice, etc are better "by default" than any eBook design.

No, what I said and am saying is that the reader (the person using a device, not the device itself) should have the final say on how they view content (for the items where we can give them control for the content they are viewing). It is up to the reader to decide if she wants the author's/publisher's intended look of the book, or if she wants to customize it to her own taste. Also those preferences are best set at the reading system level and not on the individual book basis, so that the 'default' view of any book is the reader's preferred view. This isn't about what I want, or what B&N wants, this is about what the reader wants.

My take on what you are asking is that you want the 'default' view of any book to be the original formatting, instead of the reader's preference. ( in the most charitable take as a discovery mechanism for better formatted books ). Necessarily this takes some of the control away from the reader, making this about what the author wants to the detriment of what the reader wants.


What do you suggest for this book? Are people responding well to publishers suggesting that they view books with a particular setting?


Asking the reader is much different than forcing the reader, however I haven't heard of anybody doing a 'This content is best viewed on Nook with 'Publisher Defaults' on' or similar pitch, either within the content or on a website, yet, so I don't have any data about the results of doing so, sorry. If you do decide to go with this, please tell me about the results.

Timur
01-20-2012, 04:53 AM
As a reader, I like how Nook STR handles the defaults (mostly). I prefer reading with font-size 1.0em at size notch 2, justified paragraphs with hyphenation(the main reason I bought Nook for), first-line indented and with no extra space between paragraphs, line height at notch 2 using Malabar font, page margins at notch 1 on the reader. I never turn on Publisher Defaults while reading.

I am happy that Publisher Defaults option is set at reader level instead of individual books, because my viewing pleasure is my own business, and I know it better than the best book designer out there.

My .02

sueneu
01-20-2012, 09:08 AM
Timur,
You have every right to read your Nook books the way you like. You approach reading on the Nook thoughtfully and with a thorough understanding of its capabilities.

I'm not sure everyone does. As a default, readers of my latest title will see little rectangles in place of cyrillic characters in proper nouns.

Does that make a better reading experience for anyone?

If Nook defaults can't show all of the text of a book, I believe they are not the ideal. Savvy readers will adjust the reading experience, let's let the casual readers see what the author intended.

slm
01-20-2012, 09:13 AM
Timur,
You have every right to read your Nook books the way you like. You approach reading on the Nook thoughtfully and with a thorough understanding of its capabilities.

I'm not sure everyone does. As a default, readers of my latest title will see little rectangles in place of cyrillic characters in proper nouns.

Does that make a better reading experience for anyone?

If Nook defaults can't show all of the text of a book, I believe they are not the ideal. Savvy readers will adjust the reading experience, let's let the casual readers see what the author intended.


You know, a white-on-white text entry at the start saying something like:
"If you can read this, the publisher formatting on this book is not showing and some text may not be visible in its intended form"
could make most of this conversation irrelevant

DiapDealer
01-20-2012, 11:17 AM
You know, a white-on-white text entry at the start saying something like:
"If you can read this, the publisher formatting on this book is not showing and some text may not be visible in its intended form"
could make most of this conversation irrelevant
Except that the casual, non-technical, "open the box my new toy came in and start reading" user would still see that and say; "huh?"

Defaults should always be for the lowest common denominator. Because the technically proficient, "I want to change how this book looks" crowd will always find a way to easily accomplish their goal. The rest won't even know they had an option.

Timur
01-20-2012, 01:25 PM
@sueneu: I understand your concerns, as a book designer you strive to achieve the best reading experience with least amount of friction to the majority of your readers.

But you must be aware that it is not in my best interest to promote "the lowest common denominator defaults" as DiapDealer put it succintly.

Granted, it is not particularly time-consuming for me to turn off an option, but this tendency of catering to the most ignorant users(book readers in this case; they should have the highest potential to learn things) in technology products is getting on my nerves.

murraypaul
01-21-2012, 05:01 AM
And Yes, Diap, the change is quite draconian - but if the user wants the content rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black, I feel the content should be rendered in Trebuchet with text in white and background in black. Unfortunately there was sufficient content that was preventing the previous, more cooperative, method of CSS override (on the body/p/div tags), that a more thorough method needed to be used.

Applause.

sueneu
02-09-2012, 02:44 PM
Slm,
Much subtler way of suggesting publisher defaults!

For this title, my clients decided to use roman letters where the Cyrillic didn't reliably display.

Jim, I have a new sympathy for you guys dealing with the crazy auto generated CSS (like that basic body text styled with a p.class that's called over and over again from InDesign export).

Thanks for all the help.

lizcastro
02-11-2012, 04:36 PM
No, what I said and am saying is that the reader (the person using a device, not the device itself) should have the final say on how they view content

Yes, the reader should definitely have the final say. But giving them the initial say by automatically subverting the design of the book creator is overkill and actually deprives them of any superior design that the book might offer (no nice drop caps, no well formatted poetry, just to name a very few).

The vast majority of readers will never know that the "Publisher Defaults" button even exists and so will blame the publisher and not the NOOK for the ugliness of the books.

It's really awful, and I beg you to reconsider your position.

kind regards,
Liz

lizcastro
02-11-2012, 04:38 PM
And I could use media queries to make sure that the book looked at least decent in NOOK with Publisher Defaults off, but that means designing to the least common denominator, that is, guaranteeing that the book looks bland, since to offer a nicer design is to risk it looking awful if the user has not discovered the Publisher Defaults button.

Is that really what you want?

Jim Lester
02-14-2012, 01:49 AM
that the book looks bland, since to offer a nicer design is to risk it looking awful if the user has not discovered the Publisher Defaults button.

Is that really what you want?
Hi Liz,

What I really want is to have all content authored correctly, so that it will play well with a user style sheet. Since that isn't possible, my other options are just choosing from the least bad set - ie choose 2 of the following 3:
- Content is reliable (Override Features Work)
- Reading with no surprises (Settings that I set - stay set)
- Content may have easily discoverable high-design layout features.

I think the first two are the correct choice, since they create the least problems for the user/reader.

DiapDealer
02-14-2012, 08:28 AM
All your reasoning makes perfect sense to me... except the part about making it the default. That part I just can't get my head around. I'm all for the user having the ultimate ability to "fix" things they don't like, but you're fixing things that the user hasn't even determined is broken yet (and for the most part, will have no idea anything's even been "fixed" for them).

Oh well... I guess I don't have to get it. Time will tell if it was the right decision.

PageLab
02-18-2012, 08:53 AM
This isn't about what I want, or what B&N wants, this is about what the reader wants.

The formatting intentions of the author should prevail over readers' expectations, and I'm not talking about eye candy here. If you want to read a book – and are interested in what the author has to say –, then his original intent should be preserved, formatting included. This is crucial and should be honored by the eReader, which must leave the publisher defaults on. The message embedded in the decision to leave the publisher defaults switched off is that it is ALWAYS possible to separate the message from its visual presentation. This is not true.

Jellby
02-18-2012, 11:59 AM
The formatting intentions of the author should prevail over readers' expectations, and I'm not talking about eye candy here.

The formatting intentions of the author maybe. The actual formatting used by the publisher, no way. I don't want to be forced idiotic margins, tiny font sizes, or unreadable fonts just because the publisher (or someone hired by them) thought they look cool in the iPad.

PageLab
02-18-2012, 12:17 PM
The formatting intentions of the author maybe. The actual formatting used by the publisher, no way. I don't want to be forced idiotic margins, tiny font sizes, or unreadable fonts just because the publisher (or someone hired by them) thought they look cool in the iPad.

Well, if the publisher don't pay attention to what the author wants for his book, that's just a bad publisher. But we can't generalize saying that all publishers are bad, and don't know what they are doing... I totally agree with you that we should not impose this kind of thing to readers, but actually there IS situations where the content demands some level of control. Simply removing all of it by default doesn't make any sense. Until we have a software able to predict all types of formatting possible, it's better to leave the final decision in human hands – and brains, hopefully. :)

Jim Lester
02-19-2012, 12:51 PM
The formatting intentions of the author should prevail over readers' expectations, and I'm not talking about eye candy here.

PageLab,
Welcome to MobileRead. First to make sure we are talking about the same things, let me be specific about what we are talking about within the context of this thread. Most nook reading systems have a Text option panel. This panel lets you set the font, font size, page margin, line-height, and for reader systems on a LCD device instead of eInk, the background color and text color as well. These options necessarily override the styling that is in the ePub, and as such there is an additional option, labeled 'Publisher Defaults', to not override any styling and display the content with just the formatting that is in the ePub.

If you are saying that the users should not have these options, then I disagree with you. These are features that substantially improve the reading experience for the vast majority of users, and are not unique to B&N readers, precisely because users have stated a strong preference for having those features.

If you meant something else, then please elaborate, because I didn't get that from what you wrote.

PageLab
02-19-2012, 04:18 PM
Hi Jim,

Sorry if I wasn't very clear. I have nothing against the options you're talking about, like font size, background color and others. They're great and, in the majority of books, clearly improve the overall reading experience. What I'm saying is that the Publisher Defaults should be set ON from the beginning, because in some books, the formatting are highly connected with the meaning of the text, and there's no way for the software – or for the reader – to guess it right. Turning it OFF by default would simply break the understanding of the content.

So far, the only solution for this problem, in this particular situation, is to instruct the reader to activate the Publisher Defaults at the beginning of the book. This is just bad user experience.

I'm aware that a poorly designed eBook affects the reading experience negatively, but to simply ignore the original formatting of every single book beforehand is to judge different books on the same way.

Jim Lester
02-21-2012, 06:59 PM
What I'm saying is that the Publisher Defaults should be set ON from the beginning, because in some books, the formatting are highly connected with the meaning of the text, and there's no way for the software – or for the reader – to guess it right. Turning it OFF by default would simply break the understanding of the content.

Okay, I understand now, however I still disagree.

Restating my point #2 above. I don't think of this a default so much as a user preference for reading content. Forcing the user to re-affirm that preference for each book, because some content might be better viewed in a different fashion, does not make for a pleasant experience.

Also not given the first few pages of content (title page, table of content etc...), it is highly unlikely that a user viewing it would not immediately change back anyway, so I see a definite downside for not real upside.

DiapDealer
02-21-2012, 07:24 PM
Restating my point #2 above. I don't think of this a default so much as a user preference for reading content. Forcing the user to re-affirm that preference for each book, because some content might be better viewed in a different fashion, does not make for a pleasant experience.
When I excitedly tear open the packaging on my brand-new Nook and immediately load a book and start to read... exactly whose styling preferences will I be seeing? I suspect it isn't mine, or the author's or the publisher's. I suspect it's B&N's... the only entity in this equation who shouldn't have a say in it.

PageLab
02-21-2012, 09:32 PM
it is highly unlikely that a user viewing it would not immediately change back anyway

That's exactly where the issue resides, Jim. The user needs to find the problem first. In this particular case, the user is not the most reliable person to detect problems in the text because he or she has not seen it before. If the problem is not that visible or is mildly integrated into the text - and this is a real possibility - the user would just skip it. You need someone to look carefully for errors. That's the main reason books needs to be revised in the first place. Without the publisher defaults on, it is possible that the user wouldn't even noticed it.

rjnagle
02-27-2012, 04:43 PM
From a publisher's point of view, I found that a reader's default settings wreaked a lot of havoc on image placement and captions. My guess is that 75% of the time the publisher knows the optimal way to present the content on a device. For the 25% of the time that the reader tweaks things, it mainly has to do with font size and to a lesser extent reducing margins to permit maximum word count.....

I don't have a problem with reader defaults overriding publisher defaults on font and size, but the margins make it more difficult to figure maximum width of things. that is a real problem.

As Liz Castro said, support for media queries will fix a lot of these problems.

sueneu
03-12-2012, 10:37 AM
Good documentation and adherence to standards would go a long way to solving these issues and giving readers (and eReading device customers) the best possible experience. Web dev is a useful model, see Baldur Baldassons' post:
http://bit.ly/A5O5Ft

PageLab
05-09-2012, 12:55 PM
Just as a complement of what we were discussing in this thread, I'd like to share a link to an interesting post by Michael Agresta in Slate Magazine pointing out some possible issues between the design of printed books and their digital counterparts. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/design/2012/05/will_paper_books_exist_in_the_future_yes_but_they_ ll_look_different_.single.html