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Old 06-15-2011, 11:52 PM   #1
ATimson
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Differences in files between vendors

Normally, I would have expected that each vendor would be given the same ePub file, and the same file would come out the other end. But apparently that isn't so. Comparing a free book (Star Wars: Lost Tribe of the Sith #1: Precipice) from three vendors - Kobo, Sony, and B&N - reveals some interesting differences:
  • B&N has non-ASCII characters as numbered entity references, Kobo/Sony uses their Unicode version (in UTF-8).
  • Kobo/Sony margins and indents are specified in em, B&N uses px (at a 15px/em conversion factor).
  • Some classes (relating to a glossary, that's not actually used in the book!) are fully-justified in B&N's version and left-justified in the Kobo and Sony files.
  • B&N drops a "body { text-align: justify }" in at the end... in a different indent style from the rest of the code, strongly implying that it didn't come from the publisher. (Related to the justification change above?)
  • Sony strips out custom fonts and references to the ADE page-template (though the files are still there!) and adds their own TOC HTML at the front.

It's possible that these are different source files from Random House, but they put the version number on the copyright page and have been - in my past experience w/bugged files that were fixed - pretty good about updating that.

So in the end, it looks like Kobo is the most "accurate" of those three vendors, which is leading me to consider switching to them. (Then again, fixing publishers not justifying their books is nice, and em margins rarely make sense anyways... )

My first and obvious question is, why the hell are the vendors mucking around with the books? Also, has anybody else done any cross-vendor comparisons regarding "fidelity"?
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
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Having margins specified in ems isn't a terribly good idea. You don't generally want the size of the margins to increase when you increase the text size.
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Old 06-18-2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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Having margins specified in ems isn't a terribly good idea. You don't generally want the size of the margins to increase when you increase the text size.
I agree, but I'd rather make that change myself than to just accept the vendor's word on it. (And that's also the only changes I found in this one example - hardly exhaustive!)

If the vendor is already deciding they know better than the publisher about formatting, how long until they decide they know better about content too?
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:46 PM   #4
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Try this....

I've bought an ePub from B&N and it was different then the sample downloaded from B&N.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:40 AM   #5
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Try this....

I've bought an ePub from B&N and it was different then the sample downloaded from B&N.
Great, as if I didn't have enough problems with this methodology.
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Old 06-22-2011, 06:14 PM   #6
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Great, as if I didn't have enough problems with this methodology.
Well, at least they aren't S&S Star Trek ePubs.
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