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Old 10-10-2008, 11:15 AM   #31
Jellby
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I have to say something in favour of PDF. There is something PDF allows and most of other formats (if any) don't, and that is typographic quality. With the appropiate tools (like LaTeX, or InDesign), one can create PDFs of high typographic quality, and by that I mean a good selection of fonts, good kerning and spacing, ligatures, good paragraph shaping, uniform page "colour"... not to mention the possibility of complex formatting, margin notes, frames, headers, graphs, etc. Some of this is maybe not useful for just plain fiction books, and most people probably don't know/care about the typography, but I certainly prefer to read a page that looks like a printed book instead of like a notepad.exe screenshot.

Now, the problem is PDFs are usually not created with the care and knowledge needed, not even with the right page size, they are often just the output of MS Word, and almost anything is better that, I agree. Of course, "real" ebook formats have also their advantages, like reflowing and the possibility of changing some parameters (font size, margins...), but the readers don't have the same quality that's possible with PDF (they use simplistic line-breaking algorithms, for instance) and the formats don't have the same flexibility (how many formats allow absolute positioning of text on the page? text along curved lines?)

Take the PDF version of Carroll's "Sylvie and Bruno" I uploaded in these forums as an example. I don't claim it's perfect, but I think I managed to create a good looking book, with illustrations, no large whitespaces... it's not perfect, but I don't think it's crap either.
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Old 10-12-2008, 05:39 AM   #32
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Maybe you are right about PDFs.... But I will take "the Tale of Two Cities" That Harry T. Formatted for .lrf over a PDF any day. Anyways, content for me beats Aesthetics by a mile for book reading. IF I want beauty in Art I go to an Art museum. I leave the anal retentiveness to others....



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
I have to say something in favour of PDF. There is something PDF allows and most of other formats (if any) don't, and that is typographic quality. With the appropiate tools (like LaTeX, or InDesign), one can create PDFs of high typographic quality, and by that I mean a good selection of fonts, good kerning and spacing, ligatures, good paragraph shaping, uniform page "colour"... not to mention the possibility of complex formatting, margin notes, frames, headers, graphs, etc. Some of this is maybe not useful for just plain fiction books, and most people probably don't know/care about the typography, but I certainly prefer to read a page that looks like a printed book instead of like a notepad.exe screenshot.

Now, the problem is PDFs are usually not created with the care and knowledge needed, not even with the right page size, they are often just the output of MS Word, and almost anything is better that, I agree. Of course, "real" ebook formats have also their advantages, like reflowing and the possibility of changing some parameters (font size, margins...), but the readers don't have the same quality that's possible with PDF (they use simplistic line-breaking algorithms, for instance) and the formats don't have the same flexibility (how many formats allow absolute positioning of text on the page? text along curved lines?)

Take the PDF version of Carroll's "Sylvie and Bruno" I uploaded in these forums as an example. I don't claim it's perfect, but I think I managed to create a good looking book, with illustrations, no large whitespaces... it's not perfect, but I don't think it's crap either.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:51 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
I have to say something in favour of PDF. There is something PDF allows and most of other formats (if any) don't, and that is typographic quality. With the appropiate tools (like LaTeX, or InDesign), one can create PDFs of high typographic quality, and by that I mean a good selection of fonts, good kerning and spacing, ligatures, good paragraph shaping, uniform page "colour"... not to mention the possibility of complex formatting, margin notes, frames, headers, graphs, etc. Some of this is maybe not useful for just plain fiction books, and most people probably don't know/care about the typography, but I certainly prefer to read a page that looks like a printed book instead of like a notepad.exe screenshot.
Actually Kerning and other such features is, IMHO, the thing that makes full justification reasonable. Without this balance I prefer left justified text. All the extra spaces between words just to justify detracts from the looks of the page and gets in the way of the reading. Hopefully high typographic quality will become a priority in some future eBook readers. There is no reason it should be the sole domain of PDF. I hate the spacing rivers that appear in fully justified text.

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Old 10-13-2008, 05:30 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
Actually Kerning and other such features is, IMHO, the thing that makes full justification reasonable. Without this balance I prefer left justified text. All the extra spaces between words just to justify detracts from the looks of the page and gets in the way of the reading. Hopefully high typographic quality will become a priority in some future eBook readers. There is no reason it should be the sole domain of PDF. I hate the spacing rivers that appear in fully justified text.
That's right. But it's also a problem of paragraph-breaking algorithms being usually too simplistic (just fill each line as much as possible, then break). Indeed, there is no reason why a reader (software) could not use something more sophisticate, like TeX's algorithm (try to find the combination of linebreaks that give the "best" result), only it's more computationally demanding. I hope in the future e-book reading software will provide better quality and e-book formats more flexibility (maybe ePub?).

But anyway, I just wanted to say PDF is not necessarily the devil (though I guess, for downloaded content, it often is).
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:23 AM   #35
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When it comes to eBooks I'm not a PDF fan either. I think it's a great format for storing an electronic representation of the printed page, but a terrible format for eBooks.

I personally feel the format has done more to hurt eBook adoption than anything it's ever done to help it. It's ubiquitous, so anyone thinking of posting an electronic document always jumps straight to the idea of PDF. Unfortunately, most PDFs are formatted in letter or A4 size; both of which display poorly on the vast majority of monitors and resolutions in common use. The end result is that the majority of the population ends up associating electronic reading and eBooks with the bad experience they had trying to read something in PDF.

I won't even start on the travesty of PDFs which cannot be printed. It's a printing format; removing the ability to print removes 90% of the benefits the format provides.

Yes there are things it does very well-- but its fundamental page-based nature makes it a poor choice for reading on screen.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:05 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
For what it's worth, here's the current ranking of popularity of formats in my free downloads, in descending order:

PDF, untagged (runaway favorite)

PDF, tagged (distant second, but far ahead of the third)

PRC
HTML (close behind PRC)

RTF
PDB
LRF (closely clustered)

LIT
EPUB (very close)

This is pretty similar to the popularity ranking listed on manybooks.net, though they offer more formats.
I normally pick the html option now that I'm creating my own LRFs in Calibre. I'm rather picky about margins and as of yet there is no way to edit LRF files.
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Old 10-14-2008, 05:25 PM   #37
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Certainly a number of the ebooks I have purchased (and not from minor publishers) are clearly sourced from OCR, as indicated by the types of errors found therein.
I've had the same experience. I worked in an adaptive technology lab in college helping blind students convert books to braille. publishers DO make mistakes!
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Old 10-15-2008, 12:42 AM   #38
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Quote:
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I use framemaker and I have never seen the file size double based on adding tags What version framemaker? What was the original source format. What problems did you observe view tagged files in untagged mode?

Dale
I composed an answer to these questions a couple of days ago, and now I don't see it anywhere. I must have previewed it and never hit Submit.

I used Framemaker 7, with Adobe Distiller, from a Word doc. (Actually, differently formatted Word docs for the tagged and untagged versions. For the untagged, I used Times New Roman and formatted so it would look more or less like a book page on a big screen. For the tagged, I removed the headers, etc., and changed the font to Verdana.)

I've had no problems viewing tagged files in untagged mode.

The increase in file size was the same in Framemaker and Open Office. And was consistent with an article I'd read about tagging on the Adobe site. Basically, when I use Framemaker to print to a tagged PDF, it takes a long time to crunch the file. If it goes fast, and makes a file that isn't bigger, then I've done something wrong and the tagging has failed.

It turns out you can't test the tagging on your desktop Reader, because it can generally reflow even without the tagging. And you have to be careful about testing it on a PDA, because in newer setups, the tagging is added during the transfer to the device. (My PDA can't do that, so it's a good test bed.)
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