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Old 08-03-2011, 12:16 AM   #1
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Nesbit, E. The Enchanted Castle (illustrated) v2. 2 Aug 2011

The Enchanted Castle by E. Nesbit. Illustrations scanned by me and formatting done by me.

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According to her biographer Julia Briggs, Nesbit was "the first modern writer for children": "(Nesbit) helped to reverse the great tradition of children's literature inaugurated by [Lewis] Carroll, [George] MacDonald and Kenneth Grahame, in turning away from their secondary worlds to the tough truths to be won from encounters with things-as-they-are, previously the province of adult novels." Briggs also credits Nesbit with having invented the children's adventure story. Noël Coward was a great admirer of hers and, in a letter to an early biographer Noel Streatfeild, wrote "she had an economy of phrase, and an unparalleled talent for evoking hot summer days in the English countryside."

She created an innovative body of work that combined realistic, contemporary children in real-world settings with magical objects and adventures and sometimes travel to fantastic worlds. In doing so, she was a direct or indirect influence on many subsequent writers.
This is the epub version of the book I formatted as a PDF many months ago. This is also the first epub I've ever made. Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks for looking.

Here's the original PDF post if you'd like to download that one instead.

EDIT 3 Aug: Removed an unused file. Previous views: 20
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File Type: epub enchantedcastleepub.epub (2.18 MB, 373 views)

Last edited by banjobama; 08-03-2011 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:10 AM   #2
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It looks fine at first sight. A couple of things:

- Flightcrew reports graphics45.jpg is unused. I see it's set as cover image in a <meta> tag, but why not use cover.jpg for that?

- The illustrations are severely pixelated. It looks like you scanned them in black/white, instead of grayscale. They would gain much if they were re-scanned in grayscale and cleaned of speckles. Also, consider using a JPEG quality higher than 60%.
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Old 08-03-2011, 12:34 PM   #3
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CRAP. Ok.

graphics45 was the original cover for the PDF/OO document, and I set it as a background and centered the text over it. For this epub one, I used it to make the new cover and I put the writing over it and saved it all as one image. So all I did was forget to delete the original old one and change the meta. Easy-ish fix.

As far as the pictures, you totally called it about the b&w vs. greyscale scan. While I was originally making the PDF it never even occurred to me that it would make a difference. However this will call for me to rescan everything, which I won't be able to do for at least two and a half months. So for now I will just have to leave it as-is.

Thank you for the feedback!!
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:47 AM   #4
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There is a scanned version here. You can go to "All Files: HTTP" (left frame) download the "enchantedcastle00nesbrich_orig_jp2.tar" file, extract the original scanned images and work from them. I might do that, but I'm not sure when I'll find the time for that... (not that it would need too much, but I have many other projects I should finish).
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:59 AM   #5
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I actually have the original scanned images on my computer still, as opposed to the ones in the file now which were the ones I scaled down for use in the PDF. I could switch those for the better quality ones easily and it would help, I bet. I also saw it mentioned in a different thread that PNG or GIF format is better for the pictures that JPEG, is that true?
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by banjobama View Post
I also saw it mentioned in a different thread that PNG or GIF format is better for the pictures that JPEG, is that true?
It depends on the picture, and it depends on what is meant with "better".

JPEG is a "lossy" format. The resulting image after it is saved is not the same as the original image, it has been modified to make it easier to compress. This works fine for real pictures, because the modifications are often unnoticeable (unless the compression is very drastic), but for "clean" drawings with lots of flat colour areas, it's easy to get visible artifacts. Note that everytime you save the image, you lose some quality, so it's better to use it only in the final save, and use another format for the intermediate steps.

PNG is a "lossless" format. The saved image is exactly what was there before, so you lose nothing by saving again and again. The drawback is that it often generates (often) larger files for pictures than JPEG (because it saves all the details that won't be noticeable anyway). But it works very well for plain line drawings, computer screenshots, etc., for which it generates smaller files than JPEG and without the artifacts.

GIF... don't use it, it's like PNG but limited to 256 colours and worse.

For scanned images, I'd only use PNG if you manage to get a very clean image, very "black and white". But anyway, try both, JPEG (with ~85% quality, at least) and PNG, and decide according to the quality on screen (zoom in to see the details, and increase the brightness) and filesize. If PNG is smaller or similar in size, take it with eyes closed; if not, take JPEG only if the artifacts are not severe.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:04 AM   #7
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Quote:
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It depends on the picture, and it depends on what is meant with "better".
...
PNG is a "lossless" format. ...
Not completely true. PNG can be uncompressed, compressed using a lossless method, or compressed using a lossy method. PNG is an extremely flexible and extensible format.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:11 PM   #8
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GIF... don't use it, it's like PNG but limited to 256 colours and worse.
GIF is excellent for line drawings, graphs, charts, text, etc - anything with blocks of the same colour, and sharp "edges" in the picture. It shouldn't be used for "photographic" images.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:56 PM   #9
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GIF is excellent for line drawings, graphs, charts, text, etc - anything with blocks of the same colour, and sharp "edges" in the picture. It shouldn't be used for "photographic" images.
PNG can do exactly the same as GIF (except animated GIFs, which shouldn't be used in books, anyway), with a usually smaller filesize. Plus, it can do more things. And it has always been patent-free. Really, I see no point in using GIF instead of PNG, unless a device/format/software doesn't support PNG.
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:59 PM   #10
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The GIF patent expired some years ago, so that's no longer an issue. I agree that PNG is better all-round, but do all devices and formats support it? I'm not sure off-hand if Mobi does? GIF is sometimes a useful format for that reason.
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Old 08-05-2011, 03:42 AM   #11
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Quote:
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The GIF patent expired some years ago, so that's no longer an issue.
That's why I wrote "has always been" instead of "is"

Quote:
I agree that PNG is better all-round, but do all devices and formats support it? I'm not sure off-hand if Mobi does? GIF is sometimes a useful format for that reason.
Last time I tried, it didn't, at least in my Cybook. But this thread is in an ePUB forum, and any program capable of converting ePUB to Mobi should be able to convert PNG to GIF.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:56 PM   #12
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I saved a copy of all the original scanned illustrations as PNGs and replaced them in the ebook. The illustrations now look spectacular, but the file is 15.3 MB! d'oh! Almost twice the size of the PDF.

I will continue to tinker with it.

Last edited by banjobama; 08-08-2011 at 07:05 PM.
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Old 08-09-2011, 04:03 AM   #13
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If they are very large (in pixels), resize them, preferably all by the same factor, so their relative sizes are correct (if you bring the maximum dimension down to ~800 pixels, I think that's a good size). Make sure they are in grayscale before resizing. Save them as JPG with ~85% quality.
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