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Old 10-26-2012, 11:20 PM   #4
RobertJSawyer
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Posts: 318
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Device: Kobo Aura HD, Aura, Glo, Touch, Mini; Kindle 3, Nook 1st ed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 7hir7een View Post
I'm not saying this just to be condescending, but you do realize that even the Harry Potter books are justified in print, right? ... Sorry, I realize that isn't helpful. Just not sure why you dislike it so much. As far as I can tell, all books default to justified.
Those of us who dislike it so much do so in part because it is atrociously implemented on the Kindle. Your argument seems to be that the Kindle should do layout like a real book. Fine: back up your argument by showing us examples of real books that don't have hyphenation. You say EVERY print book is justified (not quite true, but I'll grant that it IS true 99 percent of the time). But almost every print book ALSO has hyphenation to get the text to fit and NO print books -- go ahead, I defy you to find even one -- do what the Kindle has done for years, which is when a mid-paragraph line is going to have too much white space (because of the lack of a hyphenation routine), it FAILS to right-justify that line. Seriously: find a print book that does that from any major publisher; I'll bet you $50 to your favorite charity that you can't.

Further, Kindle fails to recognize that either before or after an em-dash is a perfectly acceptable place to wrap a line of text -- further exacerbating the atrocious job the device does of justification.

And more: full justification looks best with lots of words on the line, and most print books accomplish that by using smallish type (10-point type on 12-point leading is common for paperbacks). But many users of ereading devices employ them precisely so that they can have bigger type -- and some like/require dramatically bigger type; again, you won't find any print books that fully justify 3.5-inch-wide lines (the width of a Kindle screen) at 14 point, 18 point, 24 point, or more -- but you'll find lots of Kindle users reading books with type that big; again, no print-book type designer would fully justify 24-point text on a 3.5-inch line (and really, the line is smaller than 3.5-inch, anyway, because that's the width of the screen and of course there are margins without text at the left and right sides); it looks awful, and, more than that, it's actually very hard to read.

There IS an aesthetic to book design, and there are also well-established typographic principles. If you seriously can't see the deficiencies in the way the Kindle handles this, then, forgive me -- you DID weigh in to say you don't get it, after all -- but you're the layout equivalent of being tone deaf; you lack an aesthetic sense when it comes to type.

All best wishes.

Last edited by RobertJSawyer; 10-27-2012 at 12:10 PM.
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