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Old 07-26-2011, 06:59 AM   #61
charleski
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Scholastic certainly put in a lot of effort in their design, even if they do think American kids are scared of philosophy. The result is a text that's more vibrant and alive than the Bloomsbury editions, and since these are books for children that's even more important.

I don't doubt that Pottermore will be looking to be able to sell the books to Kindle customers as well - it's just too dominant to ignore. But I don't see why those who read the ebooks should be obliged to make do with an inferior version. The problem doesn't lie in the technology, it lies with an unwillingness (on the part of multiple actors) to make that technology function the way it should.
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Old 07-26-2011, 07:59 AM   #62
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^ After reading the last few posts and finding myself somewhat surprised (I thought the only differences between the US and UK print editions would be minor spelling deviations - i.e. 'color' instead of 'colour'), I found this:

http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/books/differences.html

I won't read this too thoroughly as I don't want to spoil the stories for myself (I've yet to read them all), but it does highlight that there were many changes to the books made by the US publisher, Scholastic.

EDIT:
Will there be specific editions for the US and UK markets for the eBooks? Or will Rowling take the opportunity to insist on keeping the original idiosyncrasies of the British texts intact this time around?

P.S. The changes to correct the typographical errors and continuity errors seem reasonable enough (and I've no doubt such corrections was included in later print runs of the British editions, but the changes made for the sake of 'Americanism' (for want of a better word) look quite unnecessary:

http://www.hp-lexicon.org/about/book...rences-ps.html
(There are more links to changes in each book on the page I linked to near the beginning on my post.)

Examples of changes made (according to the Lexicon):

jelly > Jell-O; sellotape > scotch tape; football > soccer ball; barking > off his rocker.

Last edited by Arrghus; 07-26-2011 at 09:09 AM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:04 AM   #63
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Yes, Scholastic decided that inhabitants of the US would only be able to understand US English as opposed to the English of the originals and the author... started at the beginning with the title change of the first book... final result came to be a large number of changes...
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:52 AM   #64
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Examples of changes made (according to the Lexicon):

jelly > Jell-O; sellotape > scotch tape; football > soccer ball; barking > off his rocker.
I'm surprised they've actually made those changes. It would feel weird having characters from another country using your own local colloquialisms. If roles were reversed I'd rather have the original phrases left untouched and expect to lookup any that I wasn't familiar with.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:59 AM   #65
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The stories were written to be accessible. It makes sense to keep them accessible when you publish them for a different audience. Else you might as well say they should not have been translated into any other language. Make those bloody foreigners learn the Queen's English, a wot?
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Old 07-26-2011, 10:55 AM   #66
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Originally Posted by charleski View Post
Modern electronic devices are perfectly capable of reproducing all the typographical nuances of print.
It doesn't matter if they can. They question is do we really need it? While mobi is indeed seriously limited and epub is only slightly better, there are certain print features that are less relevant on e-readers.

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People make a big deal about being able to change the fonts. If the person who designed the book doesn't care what font you use, then fine, change it to suit your taste. I certainly would have difficulty reading everything in Caecilia. But if the designer carefully picked a specific font in order to lend a specific character to the work, then you're corrupting the experience by using something else.
I am not against font embedding but it should be used sparingly. It is rarely that a specific font is a part of author's intended message or even part of reasons why we read the story. It was fine with pbooks because that's the feature of the medium and there was no other choice. Publishers often designed their own fonts to send a message but often it was a message from a publisher, not from an author. On e-readers more often than not a different font will be a nuisance, not an improvement.

If you want to highlight a certain character one must look for other ways to do it. Text blocks with borders made from image could be one suggestion.

So, maybe it is a blessing in disguise that mobi does not support font embedding. It gives more power to author with their written word and makes publishers less visible. There is some loss but the gain is much bigger.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:10 PM   #67
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Another story indicating that Amazon will provide an ePub version in this article. However, it doesn't site any sources and appears to just be some more speculation.

I think there is a good chance that Amazon will provide ePub support. Here is my reasoning--

Rowling is selling the DRM-free eBook on her website to cut out the middleman (e.g. distributors like Amazon, Apple, etc.). It has to be DRM-free because she doesn't have access to information needed to encrypt the file for each device that will buy the eBook. However, she has found a clever solution to providing a book that isn't encrypted-- add a watermark to the book that makes it clear who is the book's owner. This is not too difficult to accomplish with ePub, but I don't believe it can be done in the mobi format.

Amazon won't make any money when people buy Rowlings' books through her website, so they really don't have much incentive to start supporting ePub. However, the lack of ePub support will be highlighted in a major way if the Kindle is the only major eReader that people can't use to read the Harry Potter books. Amazon does NOT want to see this pointed out in an ad for the iPad this Christmas. So... I think Amazon may start supporting DRM-free ePub. This allows them to make the Harry Potter books available, while at the same time still locking out the DRM'd ePub books of their competitors. Since Amazon has said they are working with Rowlings' people to make the books available, I think there is a good chance this is what they're doing. Amazon is also expected to be releasing a couple new devices soon, and once again the lack of ePub support will be a glaring deficiency-- especially if they can't read the Harry Potter books.

Yet, I've been spectacularily wrong in the past.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:14 PM   #68
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It doesn't matter if they can. They question is do we really need it? While mobi is indeed seriously limited and epub is only slightly better, there are certain print features that are less relevant on e-readers.



I am not against font embedding but it should be used sparingly. It is rarely that a specific font is a part of author's intended message or even part of reasons why we read the story. It was fine with pbooks because that's the feature of the medium and there was no other choice. Publishers often designed their own fonts to send a message but often it was a message from a publisher, not from an author. On e-readers more often than not a different font will be a nuisance, not an improvement.

If you want to highlight a certain character one must look for other ways to do it. Text blocks with borders made from image could be one suggestion.

So, maybe it is a blessing in disguise that mobi does not support font embedding. It gives more power to author with their written word and makes publishers less visible. There is some loss but the gain is much bigger.
There are times though that it also weakens the power of the author. What if I have a portion of text that I want to mimic handwriting, because it is supposed to be a letter? In situations like that, I feel that as an author, I'd like to have the choice of using visual representations, over describing what I want represented.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:27 PM   #69
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However, she has found a clever solution to providing a book that isn't encrypted-- add a watermark to the book that makes it clear who is the book's owner. This is not too difficult to accomplish with ePub, but I don't believe it can be done in the mobi format.
Why wouldn't they? I see no logical reason why mobi couldn't have watermarking. There is no dearth of options for watermarking a mobi book. it can be as simple as a metatag, something hidden in an image, arrangement and styling of characters, number of characters (hey, did you see those blank characters after each chapter?), or even a mathmatical formula used based on encoding extra info in based on all of the above and more.

When you have something that is nothing but info, you can always hide more info in among it.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:50 PM   #70
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Why wouldn't they? I see no logical reason why mobi couldn't have watermarking. There is no dearth of options for watermarking a mobi book. it can be as simple as a metatag, something hidden in an image, arrangement and styling of characters, number of characters (hey, did you see those blank characters after each chapter?), or even a mathmatical formula used based on encoding extra info in based on all of the above and more.

When you have something that is nothing but info, you can always hide more info in among it.
Steganography...love it.
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Old 07-26-2011, 01:55 PM   #71
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Yeah, the idea that ePubs are somehow easier to watermark than mobi's just doesn't wash.
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Old 07-26-2011, 03:22 PM   #72
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Originally Posted by Hellmark View Post
Why wouldn't they? I see no logical reason why mobi couldn't have watermarking. There is no dearth of options for watermarking a mobi book. it can be as simple as a metatag, something hidden in an image, arrangement and styling of characters, number of characters (hey, did you see those blank characters after each chapter?), or even a mathmatical formula used based on encoding extra info in based on all of the above and more.

When you have something that is nothing but info, you can always hide more info in among it.
I think you make a good point.

When I read "watermark" I envisioned something like a line of text at the bottom of each page with the user's name, credit card, or other identifier in it. But there is no reason you couldn't do something simpler like add a custom image to the start of each chapter, which would serve the same purpose.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:26 PM   #73
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It doesn't matter if they can. They question is do we really need it?
Yes we do.

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It is rarely that a specific font is a part of author's intended message or even part of reasons why we read the story. It was fine with pbooks because that's the feature of the medium and there was no other choice. Publishers often designed their own fonts to send a message but often it was a message from a publisher, not from an author.
That's just not true. Different books use different fonts because they're different texts and aim to evoke different moods. And it works. It might not be readily apparent to you, but that's because good body text typography should not call attention to itself. But it's still important, even if you don't understand it.

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If you want to highlight a certain character one must look for other ways to do it.
Why? Again, this is just nonsense, trying to impose new restrictions on the design of books that are completely spurious.

Quote:
So, maybe it is a blessing in disguise that mobi does not support font embedding. It gives more power to author with their written word and makes publishers less visible. There is some loss but the gain is much bigger.
You really just don't understand book design at all, do you? This has nothing to do with 'giving power to the author'.

Here's someone who does (guess what, he's an author):
"I get this a lot from dedicated ebook readers: "I don't care about formatting and design in ebooks!"

I think this is a peculiar kind of brain damage or mental scarring that mostly afflicts those who have read one too many OCR'd and badly proof-read scans of pirate copies on their Palm III with a 160x160 pixel black and white display. To reach a mass audience, ebooks are going to have to be comparably readable to a dead tree edition: sensible use of screen fonts, layout directives, and some eyeball candy are all part of the package."
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:52 PM   #74
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I never noticed or cared about specific fonts in physical books, why would I care about them with ebooks? I only care about the authors words—and how they rattle around in my brain evoking all sorts of cool musings.

The only time I care about layout is with verse... where line breaks often times need to be preserved to assist with meter and the like.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:48 PM   #75
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E-readers require change of typesetting philosophy.
What you call typesetting philosophy is an experts answer to the question:
What can be done to enlarge reading fluency, and therefor the reading comfort for the reader? Since this is what all this tweaks done to the pages you read over result in.

The damn very last thing we need is to revert this development.
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It doesn't matter if they can. They question is do we really need it?
I do - so +1 on that with charleski.
If you don't feel free to set up your next text by cutting letters from a newspaper and glueing them on a piece of packing paper.
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