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Old 05-23-2011, 07:17 AM   #1
aab24
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Angry The formating is driving me crazy

Hi,

I apologise if this has been posted in the past, but I’m afraid that many of the responses are simply too technical for me.

I have the Sony PRS-350, but am pulling my hair out with the formatting. It indents the beginning of paragraphs and leaves gaps between conversation snippets. It also seems to centre sentences so that there could be 3 words with massive spaces in-between.
Some of my books give the exact amount of pages regardless of font size and others count every page as it appears on the screen.

I love the reader, but this is really starting to bother me as I would like to be able to read it as the author intended.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:08 AM   #2
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Predominantly complain to the books publishers if purchased otherwise fix yourself. Page counts are fixed for epubs but vary according to font size in other formats. These are currently facts of ereading, some being slowly fixed but most publishers are a bit lackadaisical about getting ebooks right.

What sorts of books are you having trouble with... commercial ones have improved immensely over the early days and some PD is genuinely excellent but if you're dealing with scan/OCRd material then that can be very different...


Quote:
Originally Posted by aab24 View Post
Hi,

I apologise if this has been posted in the past, but I’m afraid that many of the responses are simply too technical for me.

I have the Sony PRS-350, but am pulling my hair out with the formatting. It indents the beginning of paragraphs and leaves gaps between conversation snippets. It also seems to centre sentences so that there could be 3 words with massive spaces in-between.
Some of my books give the exact amount of pages regardless of font size and others count every page as it appears on the screen.

I love the reader, but this is really starting to bother me as I would like to be able to read it as the author intended.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers,
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:46 AM   #3
aab24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elcreative View Post
Predominantly complain to the books publishers if purchased otherwise fix yourself. Page counts are fixed for epubs but vary according to font size in other formats. These are currently facts of ereading, some being slowly fixed but most publishers are a bit lackadaisical about getting ebooks right.

What sorts of books are you having trouble with... commercial ones have improved immensely over the early days and some PD is genuinely excellent but if you're dealing with scan/OCRd material then that can be very different...
I'm actually reading a couple of the free classics that were avaliable to download when I brought the e-reader. Some seem fine, but many have the spacing and indent issues. I have used Calibre to copy them to the reader - should I have used the sony software?

Cheers,
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:47 AM   #4
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Unless you have calibre set to convert the files before sending them to the reader, the program you use to send files shouldn't matter.

Try using different source files. Many versions of popular public domain books are available to download, and in many different formats. You may be able to find copies without the indent and spacing issues.

If that doesn't work out, you might try to use calibre's advanced conversion settings to remove the line breaks. That stuff is generally beyond me, but occasionally, trial and error with some of the settings makes a document more readable.

Formatting issues can be very frustrating and a big waste of time. Right now, I'm struggling to get some PDFs to work properly. Converting them to ePUB removes the TOC, which is necessary to use the files on the reader, and viewing them without converting sometimes crashes the reader.
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Old 05-23-2011, 10:44 AM   #5
aab24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barium View Post
Unless you have calibre set to convert the files before sending them to the reader, the program you use to send files shouldn't matter.

Try using different source files. Many versions of popular public domain books are available to download, and in many different formats. You may be able to find copies without the indent and spacing issues.

If that doesn't work out, you might try to use calibre's advanced conversion settings to remove the line breaks. That stuff is generally beyond me, but occasionally, trial and error with some of the settings makes a document more readable.

Formatting issues can be very frustrating and a big waste of time. Right now, I'm struggling to get some PDFs to work properly. Converting them to ePUB removes the TOC, which is necessary to use the files on the reader, and viewing them without converting sometimes crashes the reader.

Ah, maybe that is my problem as I always let calibre convert before sending. I will try it without the conversion.

Cheers
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Old 05-23-2011, 11:10 PM   #6
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The Gutenberg books seem to be formatted with spaces between paragraphs - if you prefer not to have those, then use Calibre to convert (you can do this from epub to epub just to reformat) and in the "Look & Feel" options tick the option to remove space between paragraphs.

You can change the justification if you like, but paragraph indenting would be a custom CSS job - and I think you'll want to keep the para indent once you've got rid of the extra line between the paragraphs.

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Old 05-24-2011, 01:59 AM   #7
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For public domain classics, try downloading the same title from the public domain section of feedbooks.com in EPUB format.

I have found that Feedbooks has the best formatted public domain material.

Be careful when you do a search on feedbooks, because often it will list non-free versions first, even though, if you scroll down a little, you can find a public doman version available for free download. (if you do an 'advanced search' you have the option to only search within the public domain section, and can avoid this)

The reason you are running into problems is that Calibre does a really crappy job of converting plain text documents.

The reason that Calibre has problems, is because many older books in plain text format include hard-carriage-returns at the end of each line, and Calibre can't re-flow them properly. Calibre likes plain text to include carriage returns or line-ends only at the end of a paragraph, which is what is needed for free-flowing text for an eReader like the Sony.

When you push one of these text files through Calibre, it either wants to leave things as they are, which is pretty lame because then the book looks like crap on your Sony, or, even worse, Calibre will take out ALL the line-ends completely, leaving you with your 350 page book reduced to a single run-on paragraph (really, really, STUPID).

It's usually easier to just download properly formated books from sites like feedbooks, but if you do want to try to clean up any books you can only find in plain text format, there is a PC program called E-Book Tidy which you should be able to find on the web.

E-Book Tidy will let you remove unwanted line-ends (Join Lines) while leaving proper line-ends at the end of each paragraph, so the text will look good on your Sony.
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Old 05-24-2011, 07:51 AM   #8
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Public domain books in the very best formatting to be had, all done with love and care by MR members are to be found in the Patricia Clark Memorial Library right here on the boards.
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Old 05-24-2011, 09:58 AM   #9
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And best of all, Patricia's gorgeously confected LRF files won't attempt to mate with your forehead, thus embarrassing you at bar mitzvahs, which the subject header suggests might have once been a problem.

Just kidding! Glad you're getting the issue sorted.
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Old 05-24-2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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Welcome to the forum aab24!

Without boring you with technical details, ePub books use HTML to control how the ePub is displayed on your reader. Each reader then interprets the ePub's HTML and displays it. But like various web browsers, the different reader devices don't all interpret HTML alike, so there can be device related differences. Also some reader devices override some HTML formatting. However, in your case I think, as others have said, that the issues you are seeing are related to how the publisher formatted the book and/or how calibre converted that formatting.

Unfortunately there are way too many book publishers who do not understand the HTML concept of reflowable text. They are still stuck in the print on paper style of publishing where they strictly control everything (text and style) that goes onto each page of a book. But of course ePubs are designed to be like web pages where the publisher controls the text but allows the person reading the text to have some control over styles (like font, font size, colors, text layout, etc.). Publishers are slowly, very slowly, catching up with the digital age of reflowable text.

Another unfortunate circumstance is that many individuals (as well as large publishing houses) have little or no concept of how to create and format reflowable text. So it is possible to get an ebook that is nearly devoid of formatting. I think that is what happened in your case.

Last edited by jswinden; 05-24-2011 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 05-24-2011, 02:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delphin View Post
The reason you are running into problems is that Calibre does a really crappy job of converting plain text documents.
I've always found Calibre to be excellent at converting Project Gutenberg TXT files to epub. Perhaps you've been using the wrong settings for TXT input.
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