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Old 09-06-2007, 01:34 PM   #1
Jeff Duntemann
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Hi (finally!) from the Shadow of Pike's Peak

I've been following some of the traffic on MobileRead for a long time, but this morning I decided it was time to officially join. (Oh, for another six hours in a day!)

I am a writer/editor/publisher living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am currently a partner in technical publisher Paraglyph Press, but some people here may have clearer recall of my first publishing company, Coriolis Group Books, which was Arizona's largest book publisher for a few years in the late 90s, but which closed its doors (long story!) in 2002.

I have also been editor-in-chief of three computer magazines: Turbo Technix, PC Techniques, and Visual Developer.

Although all of the books I've written myself have been conventionally published, I established a very small press on Lulu.com last year to explore new publishing models, including ebooks. Copperwood Press may be found here:

http://www.lulu.com/copperwood

I currently read ebooks on either a Thinkpad X41 Tablet or a Sony Reader. I have grumbles about both devices, and as I release more titles in ebook form, I will probably pick up an Iliad and a CyBook. A Kindle, well, we'll see...

As a publisher I'm only getting started in the ebook realm, but I hope to do a lot more in the coming year. I will be publishing more of my own SF, and as Lulu implements better mechanisms for royalty splits, intend to begin publishing anthologies of SF by writers in my workshopping group. (Alas, Lulu is a little behind the curve on ebook publishing, but they do a great job with Print-On-Demand.)

I have been blogging since before the word "blog" was coined, and I touch on publishing issues (including but not limited to ebooks) regularly on my Contrapositive Diary:

http://www.duntemann.com/Diary.htm

I'd be interested in meeting other MobileReaders in the Colorado Springs area.

Sorry to run on a little, but it's time I got serious about ebooks, and this is definitely the place to hang out if that's the case.

--73--

--Jeff Duntemann
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Old 09-06-2007, 01:56 PM   #2
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Welcome to MobileRead, Jeff Duntemann!

Wow, it's amazing how many authors we're attracting -- and it's a wonderful thing too!

Jump on in and give us your perspective on whatever takes your fancy. I learn so much from the diverse points of view and experiences around here. Only trouble is that i also need about six more hours in each day to keep up!
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Old 09-09-2007, 12:09 PM   #3
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Jeff, it's great that you've joined the e-book crowd. Welcome!

I just read your blog entry on "7 Reasons Not to Buy the Sony Reader". I wonder... have you've tried one of the hacks available at MobileRead to use the joystick for page navigation? That would fix your problem with the navigation buttons being on the "wrong" side. Also, while I agree that native PDF support lacks, have you actually tried one of the available rasterization tools? If not, I recommend you to try this tool which does an excellent job bringing PDF content to your Reader.
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Old 09-09-2007, 02:10 PM   #4
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You're absolutely right in your blog - Sony did indeed buy in someone else's PDF renderer - that "someone" is Adobe. I think we can safely assume that Adobe know how to write PDF renderers.

The fundamental point is, though, that PDF is a horrible, ghastly, awful, dreadful format for eBooks. It was never intended as an eBook format and it is the worse possible choice. Anyone who "likes" PDF as an eBook format needs to be beaten about the head with a blunt object until they realise this simple truth.

Most PDF files are formatted for US Letter or A4 page size, and it is not Sony's "fault" that there is no good way to display an A4 page on a screen 1/6th the area of A4.
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Old 09-09-2007, 03:50 PM   #5
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While the Sony Reader will not read LIT or mobi formats directly, it's now become trivial to convert them to LRF so they can be read. And to be honest, there is no perfect device just yet. I've found that you wiull find ebooks not available in the format you want but available in other formats. Not every ebook is in Mobi format nor BbeB or LIT or even eReader. The only way to have a device do what you want is for epub format to take off and become available on all the readers.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:14 PM   #6
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Agreed, but that doesn't make the problem go away. The real problem with PDF is that it's a little too easy for a publisher to take a PDF print image already used for print manufacturing, put it on some kind of ecommerce download site and say, "Look! We've published the ebook!" without any further effort. This is one reason I haven't done this with any of my Copperwood Press print titles--their PDFs look lousy on small displays. (They do, however, display and read very well on my Thinkpad X41 Tablet PC.)

That said, we as readers will be confronted in the near future with entirely too many PDFs positioned as "ebooks." I will be looking at different ways to convert PDFs to more amenable formats in the near future, and appreciate the pointers into the MobileRead knowledgebase. There is an immense quantity of material here, and chewing through it will take a fair amount of time. (That is, however, what we call a "high-class problem," heh.)
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:20 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
While the Sony Reader will not read LIT or mobi formats directly, it's now become trivial to convert them to LRF so they can be read. And to be honest, there is no perfect device just yet. I've found that you wiull find ebooks not available in the format you want but available in other formats. Not every ebook is in Mobi format nor BbeB or LIT or even eReader. The only way to have a device do what you want is for epub format to take off and become available on all the readers.
This is the reason my primary ebook reader is still my Thinkpad X41. I can read just about any ebook format you can name on it, and it even does a creditable job with PDFs. Being able to read .chm (Windows HTML Help) files is very useful in my field (computer technology books) and it's unclear how broadly the dedicated ebook readers will implement .chm.

Somewhere between Tablet PCs and something like the Adobe reader is where I expect to find the sweet spot. The Iliad seems to be closer, and I'm expecting to get one in the near future.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:23 PM   #8
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The problem is going to be that you cannot tell what sort of reading device a person will have to carry around. We know that on a computer (laptop included) PDF will display fine. But what's needed otherwise is a format that has reflowable text. BBeB, MobiBocket, eReader are all formats that reflow so on a small screen, the text will look good. Another problem with PDF is font size. PDF is fixed. So even if a letter sized PDF would look good on say the iLiad with it's larger screen and higher resolution to you or me, it may not to someone who needs the larger font size you can get from a format with reflowable text. On the Sony Reader, I can use the size button to enlarge the text. If my eyes needed that, I'd have it. If you have a book in a Word document, it's very easy to then go to a reflowable format. I've taken Word documents in DOC or RTF and HTML and converted to LRF or MobiPocket formats very easily. But of course there is no DRM. DRM is a nother who problem we won't get into here.
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Old 09-09-2007, 10:23 PM   #9
Jeff Duntemann
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Originally Posted by TadW View Post
Jeff, it's great that you've joined the e-book crowd. Welcome!

I just read your blog entry on "7 Reasons Not to Buy the Sony Reader". I wonder... have you've tried one of the hacks available at MobileRead to use the joystick for page navigation? That would fix your problem with the navigation buttons being on the "wrong" side. Also, while I agree that native PDF support lacks, have you actually tried one of the available rasterization tools? If not, I recommend you to try this tool which does an excellent job bringing PDF content to your Reader.
Wow! This looks spectacular; I'll be testing it in coming days as time allows, and will report on Contra.

There's a tremendous amount of useful stuff here. Thanks for pointing me to this one--I could have dug for days and not found it!
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Old 09-10-2007, 11:51 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jeff Duntemann View Post
The real problem with PDF is that it's a little too easy for a publisher to take a PDF print image already used for print manufacturing, put it on some kind of ecommerce download site and say, "Look! We've published the ebook!" without any further effort.
That is a big problem, yes.

There have been a few developments recently that may help with it. though. Adobe has brought out Digital Editions which will support the .epub format, and Sony has committed to supporting it on their PRS line, and Mobi and Cybook (and others) have made noises in that direction (nothing definite, but encouraging). The .epub format will be creatable from the same software publishers use now, just as easily as PDFs are, so they should have a format that is suitable for e-books which can be made just as easily as they now make a format is not e-suitable. I'm hoping that will have an impact.

Are you hearing anything from your end about Digital Editions and .epub? It'd be very interesting to know what sort of buzz there is on the inside.
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