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Old 02-06-2013, 09:16 AM   #46
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The story trumps formatting and spelling in my book. I've read some ebboks which most on this thread would throw in to the cyber bin with one glance. The ebook world.....is fairly young as far as mainstream reading goes....Time will improve books...hopefully.


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Originally Posted by cfrizz View Post
I feel sorry for all of you obsessive compulsive people. Me I'm focused on the story not the formatting, and so long as not every other word is misspelled, I don't pay any attention to that either.

I went for too many years not reading books because it simply became too uncomfortable, so I'm not going to let things like formatting and spelling stop me from reading a story I know that I will like.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:28 AM   #47
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typical bad formatting is...

Large margins, large paragraph spaces, large indents, small text, large wasted space for the chapter headings, small space for section breaks, & poorly done simulated blockquotes. This makes for a mess when reading. It has nothing to do with OCR errors or any other textual errors. This is just the formatting. This is the sort of mess I go and fix. It doesn't take long and once done, the eBook looks good and is readable.


All of that
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:15 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by hidari View Post
The story trumps formatting and spelling in my book. I've read some ebboks which most on this thread would throw in to the cyber bin with one glance. The ebook world.....is fairly young as far as mainstream reading goes....Time will improve books...hopefully.
And that is exactly what I don't understand.

Pick any 20 year old dude / gal who has the basics of HTML and CSS down, give them Sigil and a tutorial, and within half an hour they'll be able to create basic, but clean and good looking eBooks from a text file. It's not that difficult. I've done it myself. (And maybe will do again, as I'm contemplating to read a book that MR does not have yet.)

"We" (readers) have Sigil, but I assume that "they" (publishers) have something similar. Or maybe the use Sigil too. I have bought some mobi's in the past (when I couldn't get an epub) that were converted to mobi by Calibre, so publishers do use Calibre.

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Old 02-06-2013, 10:18 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
And that is exactly what I don't understand.

Pick any 20 year old dude / gal who has the basics of HTML and CSS down, give them Sigil and a tutorial, and within half an hour they'll be able to create basic, but clean and good looking eBooks from a text file. It's not that difficult.

"We" (readers) have Sigil, but I assume that "they" (publishers) have something similar. Or maybe the use Sigil too. I have bought some mobi's in the past (when I couldn't get an epub) that were converted to mobi by Calibre, so publishers do use Calibre.
I have seen some publisher eBooks that were run through some version of Sigil. Also some that are run through Calibre. The BPHs mostly use InDesign. The problem (IMHO) comes from the fact that they use a template that creates eBooks in a very poor format.
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Old 02-06-2013, 10:31 AM   #50
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InDesign. Again.

It shouldn't be used for this. It's the same as building your corporate website using DreamWeaver's Visual Mode and having it generate code automatically. I once did see a company website where pages were added by filling in a Word document and exporting it to HTML. That's just amateuristic. (Just as "databases" in Excel are.)

Use an editor and directly work with the code. Then you know what you are doing, and you know what the result will be. It's the only way to work cleanly.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:01 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Solicitous View Post
Gets pretty bad when you pay for ebooks and they look like they came out of the garbage. If you bought a paperback you'd take it straight back.

I notice with both Kobo and Amazon the free public domain titles are all very average in their format. I think feedbooks has the best finished product for public domain books. To me it looks like Kobo in particular automate pulling from Gutenberg, and post on the online store.

That said some of Baens books are average, but no DRM means quick convert.
I've just checked Feedbooks and downloaded 10 classics I want to read from their site. This is the way it should be done to entice people to buy recent books from your store.

1. Very good table of contents, divided in parts, where necessary:

Code:
Part 1
  Chapter 1
  Chapter 2
  Chapter 3
Part 2
  Chapter 4
  Chapter 5
  Chapter 6
2. Great chapter headings.
3. Drop Caps at the beginning of the chapter (!)
4. Correct alignment and justification.
5. Good covers.
6. Clean EPUB internal file structure (if you care about that)

These free books of theirs match the best eBooks I've bought. If their paid books are all just as good, I'm happy purchasing from them. They've got some stuff that I wanted which Kobo and sometimes even Amazon don't have. And if Amazon does have it, Feedbooks is somewhat cheaper, and they provide an EPUB, which I greatly prefer over AZW or Mobi.

Highly recommended store. Just the way I like it: Simple, not too expensive, and as far as I've been able to see, good quality. As far as I've been able to see in this short amount of time, I don't actually need to edit anything, apart of (maybe) setting the tags to my liking. I may actually replace the stuff that is left in my paper bookcase that I've not been able to find anywhere else up to now (not even as torrents or on usenet....).

If they don't DRM their books (don't know yet), then that would be icing on the cake.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:02 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by m00min View Post
I couldn't agree more. No ebook gets loaded onto my reader without first exploding it in Calibre, ripping out the crappy CSS and replacing it with something sane.
Seriously? I'd rather return a really badly formatted book than fix it before actually reading it. How do you not get spoiled that way? It doesn't sound like a lot of fun.

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My bugbear is seeing italic and bold text marked up with spans. It's not semantic, it's lazy.
See, that's why I think you're a bit obsessive-compulsive there (no offense intended). I agree that it's bad (X)HTML/CSS practice, but I'm not writing a website or designing an ebook, I'm reading one. And in this case I couldn't care less how they code their italics as long as they're there.

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Books with missing scene gaps, missing italics (not even done in the aforementioned lazy way), hard coded hyphenation. Really, it's enough to make me pirate on principle. Almost.
Missing scene gaps and missing italics would be annoying, but, honestly, I haven't bought too many books with those in them in the last years.

What I'm trying to say is: I do believe that the content trumps the presentation to some reasonable extent. I'd like my scene gaps and chapter breaks to be in there; I'd like the text to be complete and formatted in a way that I can see italics and bold, but that's about it. One or two messed up scene gaps in a novel I'll probably shrug off. While I find typos annyoing, I can kind of tolerate them if they aren't too numerous. Margins too wide? I'll adjust on my Sony -- takes me about 10 seconds. HTML/CSS "errors" (hardcoded hyphenation, italics as spans, whatever) -- I don't care at all; I won't even notice.

I get that when you're working in design or typesetting, these things will be more obvious (and thus annoying) to you, so I guess I'm just glad that I get to enjoy my books for the stories in them more easily.

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:06 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
InDesign. Again.

It shouldn't be used for this. It's the same as building your corporate website using DreamWeaver's Visual Mode and having it generate code automatically. I once did see a company website where pages were added by filling in a Word document and exporting it to HTML. That's just amateuristic. (Just as "databases" in Excel are.)

Use an editor and directly work with the code. Then you know what you are doing, and you know what the result will be. It's the only way to work cleanly.
Worse then using InDesign (at least I can fix the mess) is FrontPage. You go to code view in the program it is undecipherable. You add something in and it takes it out. It's horrible.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #54
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Worse then using InDesign (at least I can fix the mess) is FrontPage. You go to code view in the program it is undecipherable. You add something in and it takes it out. It's horrible.
FrontPage. Haven't heard that name for a long time, and now I know why. Luckily, that program was discontinued almost a decade ago. And I would loose all my teeth instantly (because of my jaw dropping straight onto the floor) if anybody would actually use an old version of FrontPage to create eBooks.

I'm going to download some more stuff on FeedBooks.... Actually, I'm thinking of buying the entire Drizzt and Cleric series from Salvatore from them just because their free books are so good. (I have both series on paper already, btw.) I can handle spending $6.25 / €4.60 for an eBook. A mass market paperback in one of those series costs between €7.95 and €9.95. For that price, I don't think I'd want an eBook; I'd rather have the real paperback.

There you have it. Offering good quality free books works to get people to consider your paid stuff; at least, for me, when the price of the paid stuff is good.

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Old 02-06-2013, 09:22 PM   #55
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FrontPage. Haven't heard that name for a long time, and now I know why. Luckily, that program was discontinued almost a decade ago.
I like Microsoft Expressions. It allows you to code a website the way you want.

InDesign is not the issue for bad looking eBooks exactly. It's the users. They use a poorly designed template that makes the same crappy formatted eBooks over and over.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:16 PM   #56
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Seems like all the new kindle books use custom font and huge line spacing. The option to disable publisher font is usually not available. I have to run them through calibre and convert to mobi. So far, the publishers have only taken advantage of "advanced" formatting features to annoy me.
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Old 02-07-2013, 08:57 AM   #57
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Seriously? I'd rather return a really badly formatted book than fix it before actually reading it. How do you not get spoiled that way? It doesn't sound like a lot of fun.
I don't get spoilers, I only need to find one instance of the offending code (usually there's one in the first few paragraphs) then search and replace. I don't need to actually look at the text.
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Old 02-07-2013, 09:06 AM   #58
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Seems like all the new kindle books use custom font and huge line spacing. The option to disable publisher font is usually not available. I have to run them through calibre and convert to mobi. So far, the publishers have only taken advantage of "advanced" formatting features to annoy me.
That is what most often happens. "Oh, ereaders can change fonts, sizes and line spacing. Now nobody will see the book as we intended! We must block this!"

You see the same with websites, locking the "Back"-button so you can't actually leave. When in a store, do you expect me to buy more? No, you'll annoy me and I buy less. Websites also often lock fonts, sizes, or layout. Luckily, Firefox can ignore this if you want it to.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:05 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by Barty View Post
Seems like all the new kindle books use custom font and huge line spacing. The option to disable publisher font is usually not available. I have to run them through calibre and convert to mobi. So far, the publishers have only taken advantage of "advanced" formatting features to annoy me.
There is a bug in the KF8 code for eInk Kindles where the line height is just too big (on a normal font). Even the smallest line height setting in the AA menu can be too big. That's why I created Charis SIL Modified and Charis SIL Compact. Both have a smaller line height on a Kindle using KF8. So if you use the USE_ALT_FONTS trick on a Kindle Touch (5.3.2 firmware) or Kindle PW. You can use one of my versions of Charis SIL from the font menu (if the KF8 eBook allows it).

If you have a Kindle, have a look at the following thread. There are links (to my various versions of Charis SIL) and discussion about fonts. Very good reading.

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=202238
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:09 AM   #60
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What I want to know is why is it a lot of eBooks are set using small as the body font size? Why not just leave it at the default and let the reader choose the font size from there?
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