Originally Posted by AlexBell
I've had another idea overnight, and I'd really appreciate feedback. How would it be if:
- In the advertising blurb and in a foreword put in the ebook there be a clear statement that many of the poems have long lines which will break in portrait orientation
- In both places there be a recommendation that the ebook be put in landscape orientation for reading the poems, and returned to portrait orientation afterwards
- In the ebook there be instructions on how to put each of the major readers in landscape orientation and return it to portrait orientation.
I have looked at the poems in the ebook I'm designing in landscape orientation on my Sony and on my Kindle3, and think they look good. There are no forced line breaks, and not many more breaks in the stanza than there when they are read in portrait orientation.
Does this make sense?
I'm sorry, I don't mean to be "Dora Doom," but I'd get really bloody annoyed at all that fooferah. I would. It's all well and good to discuss something like this on a forum full of techhies, but go try this on a forum full of regular readers with K2's, Kindle DX's and early Kobo's, or Sonys. You'll find that they're not hacking their devices, don't know how to sideload, can't take screenshots, and would make faces (at best) about changing orientation. Particularly if you're talking to a literary crowd (like the literary journals we do)...we have to make the book super-simple to use/read.
And is all that going to display in the previews/free samples/look Insides? How do you think that would affect sales, assuming that this book is for sale?
I just think your poets have to bite the damn bullet and face the fact that the lines WILL
word-wrap. I mean, honestly, what is the big damn deal? Do you have a stanza (in PDF or whatever) that you can show us to indicate why this is such a drama-queen situation?
I said it earlier, jokingly, but now I'm not: if it's that important, to the publisher
, then put the onus on the publisher. Make them pay to put it in fixed-format. If it's not that important, stop trying to put all the WORK on the reader. It's the publisher's responsibility to make the material accessible to the reader--not the reader's responsibility to sit on the crapper, turn their head 45-degrees, hold the device upside-down and double-tap it to launch the zoom...as one example. Why, exactly, is the reader now being forced to have an updated device in order to enjoy the poem?
This sort of discussion drives me daft. I understand better than most the demands that publishers make--but it's our responsibility as bookmakers to force them to understand that ebooks are not print books. They are text-delivery devices, not mini-websites or little graphics-delivery devices, despite Apple's highly misleading commercials (in which they show apps as books). If they want it that badly, then use the tools available and make it a fixed-format book. Please stop with the "forced line breaks," because the idea of how that will look once somebody enlarges the font makes me shudder.
Lastly: most people do not read the frontmatter. I've discovered this through myriad means, but unless it's a very popular memoir, or an important piece of literature, you can literally count on one hand the number of people (who are not the poets or authors, or family thereof) who won't just skip to the first item in the journal. Where this set of "instructions" will be seen is in the marketing material available on all the major websites--the last place you want potential readers to see that they have to jump through hoops to enjoy the book--flipping it one way for poems, another for prose...I think that would be the kiss of death for sales.
Just my $.02.