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Old 01-08-2009, 07:55 PM   #2
llasram
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Join Date: Jan 2007
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Device: Sony PRS-505
Quote:
Originally Posted by wmaurer View Post
Is Mobi format really that deficient? How does it compare to Microsoft Reader? What can I say to Taylor&Francis to convince them that it's worth publishing in Mobi format? I've already mentioned the Kindle market.
I'm currently working on Mobipocket generation for Calibre, and oh yeah -- it's utterly abysmal. The problem is two-fold:

First, the actual capabilities have many and frequently eccentric limitations. Text may only be displayed in seven different font-sizes, only two of which are smaller than normal text. Blocks of text can never have a greater than normal margin on their right side. Left margins can only be specified in 1em increments. Text can only have a hanging indent if it has no left margin. Text cannot flow around images taller than one line of text. Image sizes cannot be scaled with font size. In some -- but not all -- Mobipocket renderers, text with a left margin changes that margin value per line based upon the font-size at which point the preceding line-break occurred. Many measures, such as the indent of a hanging indent, cannot be specified in ems. Text cannot be displayed in a monospace font. Tables display wildly differently on different Mobipocket renderers, especially tables which cross more than one screen. And I'm sure I'll find many more once I finish oeb2mobi and people start submitting bugs.

Second, you only get the full range of Mobipocket's formatting capabilities if you have markup written to use Mobipocket's non-standard, extended, and under-documented implementation of HTML 3.2. The rest of the world -- including the Microsoft LIT format -- has moved on, and is using some form of HTML 4.0 or XHTML 1.x along with CSS. Converting standards-compliant markup to Mobipocket's markup is a difficult process. This problem is not simplified by the state of the Mobipocket-provided tooling (mobigen) which frankly does an abysmal job of converting even reasonably complexly formatted HTML+CSS into something presentable in Mobipocket. Anything like a complex table, side notes, side bars etc will pretty much need to be converted manually to a linear flow in order to be legible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wmaurer View Post
Right now I'm feeling a bit despondent about my investments in ereader hardware and in ebooks, as it seems that I can only find about a third of the books I want in the format that I use.
If the books you want are sold in other formats, you can always buy them in those formats and convert yourself. Calibre should have Mobipocket-generation in the next month or so and there are several other existing tools which will do the job.
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