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Old 12-16-2008, 02:31 PM   #1
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Unjustifiable lack of justification

Hi everyone,

I have seen a number of complaints - and have posted a few myself - concerning the lack of text justification in ADE and the PRS 505 when reading epub files. I've even seen replies on some Adobe forums indicating that the designers "got the point".

The question would be this: would anyone know if new versions of ADE and the PRS 505 Adobe bit of software that would allay this tiny but hard to overlook annoyance are in the works, and assuming such things are always in the works, if we can expect them any time soon?

Cheers for any info on the subject!

Alfy.
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Old 12-16-2008, 04:59 PM   #2
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The developers probably know. But I don't think they'll be sharing any dates.
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:30 AM   #3
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Not everyone likes full justification. I would hope if they're going to change it, they'll make it configurable.
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Old 12-17-2008, 01:30 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
Not everyone likes full justification. I would hope if they're going to change it, they'll make it configurable.
Maybe you're right, FizzyWater, and it really should be configurable. But I know that the lack of possibility of justification keeps a lot of readers away from epub, myself included.
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by FizzyWater View Post
Not everyone likes full justification. I would hope if they're going to change it, they'll make it configurable.
But, nonetheless, full justification is pretty much "universal" for printed books. It is completely unacceptable not to have this in what is claimed to be a "standard" for eBooks. It's a pretty poor standard if it doesn't provide it!
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:11 AM   #6
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Call me stupid if you must, but what is text justification?
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:17 AM   #7
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Call me stupid if you must, but what is text justification?
Full justification is where you insert additional space into a line so that the right margin "lines up" all the way down the page. Virtually every printed book and magazine uses full justification.

Left justification is where the left margin "lines up", but the right margin is "ragged", with no additional space being inserted.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:26 AM   #8
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I guess I should have known this, but I thought that was called text allignment.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:57 AM   #9
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Well, it is, too.

Justification is the more professional term for the same thing. Alignment is not that good a term, though, as all kinds of alignments are called that (left, center, right, block), so it's more of a general term while justification or full justification means block alignment.

Btw: There is no dumb question, the dumb thing would be not to ask a question if one ignores something. That's bound to keep you ignorant.
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:58 AM   #10
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"Alignment" and "Justification" are slightly different things. Alignment refers to the point at which the text is "anchored", and can normally be set to be the left margin, the centre point of the line, or the right margin. Justification refers to whether or not additional space is inserted to make the margins "line up".

The two concepts are certainly very closely related.
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Old 12-17-2008, 11:41 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Full justification is where you insert additional space into a line so that the right margin "lines up" all the way down the page. Virtually every printed book and magazine uses full justification.

Left justification is where the left margin "lines up", but the right margin is "ragged", with no additional space being inserted.
While printed books use full justification all the eBook devices do not do a very good job with real justification. They simply insert additional space characters between the words. A sometimes they don't even to a good job of picking the places to insert the spaces resulting in a visual river running down the page. In addition the lack of support for proper hyphenation causes increased problems with full justification on the short lines used on most readers.

A good printed book actually increases the space between characters in the word and use variable width spacing to accomplish the professional look. Short lines of text typically don't do well with full justification which is why some newspapers have abandoned it.

Of the electronic formats for books we read PDF is the only format that will generally do a good job of full justification. There is a lot of improvement needed in eBook software before it becomes my preferred format. This is why left justification is useful, currently, for eBook readers and should be offered as an option.

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Old 12-17-2008, 12:08 PM   #12
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While printed books use full justification all the eBook devices do not do a very good job with real justification. They simply insert additional space characters between the words. A sometimes they don't even to a good job of picking the places to insert the spaces resulting in a visual river running down the page. In addition the lack of support for proper hyphenation causes increased problems with full justification on the short lines used on most readers.

A good printed book actually increases the space between characters in the word and use variable width spacing to accomplish the professional look. Short lines of text typically don't do well with full justification which is why some newspapers have abandoned it.

Of the electronic formats for books we read PDF is the only format that will generally do a good job of full justification. There is a lot of improvement needed in eBook software before it becomes my preferred format. This is why left justification is useful, currently, for eBook readers and should be offered as an option.

Dale
yes, full justification must really be done by hand line by line to acheive good results, adjusting tracking and kerning. automatic justification on reflowable text rarely gives good results, and they can be particularly egregious when text is displayed in short lines / large font size.

personally i avoid fully-justified reflowable text whenever possible and i have a strong preference for left aligned, ragged right ebooks. even for text that will be printed (not reflowable) it should be used with moderation and not under every circumstance. the only format which can maintain hand-adjusted tracking and kerning (done in a layout application like InDesign or Quark XPress) would be pdf, and as we know "pdf is not an ebook format"... i also hope that this will be left a user option.

by the way, the recent Penguin paper editions of Wodehouse's books are printed "ragged right". it's a bit surprising at first glance but i quickly got used to it. you can see this here if you click on "look inside".
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Old 12-17-2008, 12:14 PM   #13
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The CyBook gives one the choice (unless the book "hard codes" it) of left or full justification, and for most situations I find myself that full justification looks a lot better. The only time it really looks "wrong" is when one has a very large font size and/or very few words on a line.

The Sony Reader is a little "odd" in that for LRF/LRX files one only has full justification available, while for ePub files one only has left justification!
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zelda_pinwheel View Post

by the way, the recent Penguin paper editions of Wodehouse's books are printed "ragged right". it's a bit surprising at first glance but i quickly got used to it. you can see this here if you click on "look inside".
Had a look at that. Now that is one ugly layout!
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Old 12-17-2008, 02:21 PM   #15
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I have created a number of PDF books for my PRS using inDesign "automatic" full justification, and the results have always been fine for me. I've also had very few problems with my LRFs.

On the other hand, I purchased my one and only epub on Waterstones, a Terry Pratchett book, and for some reason, the left justification leaves huges swathes of white on the right side. Some pages look as if they're written in verse!

I personnally find it very bothersome. My eyes keep focusing on the hills and valleys the text creates on the right side. I guess I'm just used to p-books being generally fully justified, but it's enough to put me off epubs.

By the way, I'm very surprised at how long it takes Sony and Adobe to remove these kinks. After all, the software is not that complicated and the algorithms have been available for ages. It makes me wonder at the commitment these companies have when it comes to the PRS...
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