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Old 02-03-2013, 07:26 PM   #31
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You cannot blame the format for typographic techniques being ignored. You have to blame the software used for reading.
Well, the format need to encode enough information for the typesetting algorithms and the current format do not do that from what I know.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:31 PM   #32
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Well, the format need to encode enough information for the typesetting algorithms and the current format do not do that from what I know.
The reading software needs to handle things like kerning and hyphenation. Kerning is one thing reading software does ignore.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:43 PM   #33
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The reading software needs to handle things like kerning and hyphenation. Kerning is one thing reading software does ignore.
On hyphenation, books should be encoded with soft hyphenation hints. Programmatically figuring out hyphenation is expensive, and can lead to bad hyphenation if the implementation does not have a robust enough dictionary (especially when dealing with proper names or made up fantasy terms). However if typesetters/editors/authors/editing software would insert soft hyphens appropriately, software would only need to understand the character and render it appropriately.
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Old 02-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #34
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On hyphenation, books should be encoded with soft hyphenation hints. Programmatically figuring out hyphenation is expensive, and can lead to bad hyphenation if the implementation does not have a robust enough dictionary (especially when dealing with proper names or made up fantasy terms). However if typesetters/editors/authors/editing software would insert soft hyphens appropriately, software would only need to understand the character and render it appropriately.
To insert soft hyphens is just going to make a mess. Plus, it will blow up the size of the eBooks. There's no reason not to just use the Tex hyphenation routine.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:11 PM   #35
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To insert soft hyphens is just going to make a mess. Plus, it will blow up the size of the eBooks. There's no reason not to just use the Tex hyphenation routine.
The size increase from adding soft hyphenation is minimal (an additional couple of bytes per word, on average -- adding soft hyphens to an entire book will likely cost less than a single map image or chapter start/end graphic). As for making a "mess", that depends on how you look at it. If you're looking at the raw HTML of an ebook, then yes, that's going to look very messy. But if you use a WYSIWYG-type editor (Sigil, for example), you're not really going to notice any difference. Tex hyphenation is decent as far as it goes, but it should be a one-time markup thing, not something that has to be done every time you open a book.

Soft hyphens let the book tell the reader how to hyphenate, which is cheap, easy, and an editorial process.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #36
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The thing is, people who create there own eBooks are not going to want to be having to add soft hyphens. That's just too much of a bother.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #37
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The things that could improve for me are: hyphenation, pictures, and indented passages (such as long quotes) because they sometimes format oddly when they're full justified. That might be related to hyphenation. Also, footnotes/endnotes feel a bit clumsy. I want a little window to pop up like when I look something up in the dictionary.

Minor things but they might improve with time.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:23 PM   #38
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The things that could improve for me are: hyphenation, pictures, and indented passages (such as long quotes) because they sometimes format oddly when they're full justified. That might be related to hyphenation. Also, footnotes/endnotes feel a bit clumsy. I want a little window to pop up like when I look something up in the dictionary.

Minor things but they might improve with time.
Yes, pictures are something that could improve. If the picture is too large for the space left on the screen, move it to the next screen and if it is too big for the screen, make it fit. If the picture has to be off-aspect in order to fit, so be it.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:30 PM   #39
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The thing is, people who create there own eBooks are not going to want to be having to add soft hyphens. That's just too much of a bother.
There are people who claim that correct spelling and use of commas are just too much of a bother. The fact that a lot of people want to ignore production standards doesn't mean it's reasonable to accept their laziness as the default.

Currently, the problem is that ereaders don't consistently support soft hyphens. Whether or not it would be "easy" to add the Tex hyphenation routine to readers, authors and publishers should be able to establish specific hyphenations for unique words--character and place names, scientific or magical terms, neologisms that haven't been added to the protocols yet, and so on.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:43 PM   #40
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There are people who claim that correct spelling and use of commas are just too much of a bother. The fact that a lot of people want to ignore production standards doesn't mean it's reasonable to accept their laziness as the default.

Currently, the problem is that ereaders don't consistently support soft hyphens. Whether or not it would be "easy" to add the Tex hyphenation routine to readers, authors and publishers should be able to establish specific hyphenations for unique words--character and place names, scientific or magical terms, neologisms that haven't been added to the protocols yet, and so on.
Sure, for specific words. But not for every word that could possibly have a hyphen. That's what I was disagreeing with.
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Old 02-03-2013, 08:54 PM   #41
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The thing is, people who create there own eBooks are not going to want to be having to add soft hyphens. That's just too much of a bother.
Why wouldn't it be automated? Unless you're slinging raw html (name one author who does that), you're never going to know. Authors write in word processors. The output is then processed and processed and processed, and the end result is HTML. There's no reason why there couldn't or shouldn't be a hyphenation pass somewhere in there. Authors without editors can just use the automated output as-is (which would be no worse than existing readers that do auto hyphenation). Authors with editors can and should do a final editorial pass to make sure things are hyphenating correctly and to add exceptions where hyphenation is not desired or where automated hyphenation did the wrong thing.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:05 PM   #42
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Why wouldn't it be automated? Unless you're slinging raw html (name one author who does that),
*raises hand*

I know plenty of authors who hand-code their HTML files, or at least, design them in a text-editing program with extensive search/replace options. However, we'd find a macro that inserts the hyphenations.

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Authors write in word processors. The output is then processed and processed and processed, and the end result is HTML.
Sometimes, the processing is done by someone with notepad++ and a quick hand with regex.
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Old 02-03-2013, 09:12 PM   #43
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soft hyphenation....meh....I just left-align and I don't have to worry about it at all!

If I saw a whole bunch of & shy ; in an html file, the first thing I would do is delete them all...that would cut the file size in half...
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #44
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eBook typography rules and controls belong in the reading app, not in the file format, simply because the file knows nothing of the rendering device (Screen size, resolution, aspect, etc).

A good reading app *should* have embedded algorithmic rules for white space, line spacing, widows/orphans, and even formatting style (Via templates). But that stuff is *hard* to code. So, at best, we get hyphenation and user-set margins and spacing and at worse none of the above or one-size fits all typography.

Going back to the days of the now-deprecated but still mourned MS Reader app we can find better embedded typographic rules than in most modern reading apps.

Now, that is just the theoretical typographical purist critique.
The real world reality is that mainstream consumers don't care about typographical issues as long as they can set reasonable font sizes and the available font families aren't aggresively ugly.

For the ebook market of today, the formats are mre than adequate and the reading apps acceptable. There might be an opportunity for one of the payers to gain a minor competitive advantage by offering quality dynamic typography in their reading app but impact is likely so small there are higher-priorities at Amazon and Apple.

What we have isn't perfect but it's good enough for the market.
The typographical shortcomings are evenly distributed between lacks in the reading software AND ebook format specs. Examples for both following.

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To me, "enriched content" means "it's not a book any more." It's a web page. A multimedia web page. I have zero interest in a book with animated GIFs and blinking text, and music that plays automatically. Especially there is no chance that those will not be used predominately for advertising.

Turning ebooks in to multimedia web pages will only amount to abandoning the book market. At which point independent publishers (mostly self-published authors, I suspect) will rush to fill. Poorly, for the most part, but hey, Sturgeon was an optomist.
Exactly. I think it was and still is a major mistake in epub spec definition to look at "how web does it." Instead of looking at TeX: both are:
  • WYSIWYM
  • Separating styles and content
  • Intended for digital 'print products'

Apart from that I fully share your opinion about animation etc. in books:
It ruins legibility and concentration on the textflow. The only way to animate a book and still making it to be a book is to throw it.

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You cannot blame the format for typographic techniques being ignored. You have to blame the software used for reading.
Sorry. With "format deciders" I meant "people responsible for a formats specs". Now examples for both format and software
Poor handling of whitespace in images and therein resulting poor (or none) text wrapping around them is a software weakness.

The epub specs state OpenType as supported font encoding method. Nevertheless there is no way to adress and use alternative glyphsets of a font such as monospace numbers, Dropcap capitals etc. TeX has a method to adress alt. characters.

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Well, the format need to encode enough information for the typesetting algorithms and the current format do not do that from what I know.
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
The reading software needs to handle things like kerning and hyphenation. Kerning is one thing reading software does ignore.
One of the major differences between True- and OpenType is, the latter having (more) kerning information embedded. The data is there - ignored.

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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
There are people who claim that correct spelling and use of commas are just too much of a bother. The fact that a lot of people want to ignore production standards doesn't mean it's reasonable to accept their laziness as the default.

Currently, the problem is that ereaders don't consistently support soft hyphens. Whether or not it would be "easy" to add the Tex hyphenation routine to readers, authors and publishers should be able to establish specific hyphenations for unique words--character and place names, scientific or magical terms, neologisms that haven't been added to the protocols yet, and so on.
For epub it is mandatory to have the contents' language specified.
The most logical solution would be the following ruleset:

1. use hyphenation dictionary equal to books lang metadata
2. Differing fragments wrapped in [ lang=langcode ] and a closing tag invoke use of different dictionary.
3. Soft hyphens neologisms, names and similar only.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:26 PM   #45
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Sometimes, the processing is done by someone with notepad++ and a quick hand with regex.
Count me in using Notepad++ and regex/search & replace.

While I don't usually just start with only text, I have taken a number of eBooks and reformatted them so they look (internally) nothing like what I started with.
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