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Old 08-03-2011, 07:43 AM   #1
dorkmania
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Maps and images in ebooks

I read ebooks on my computer (I don't have an ereader yet).

I read most fantasy books and many of them have maps or images/diagrams. I've noticed that the maps/images/diagrams are terrible in the ebooks. One ebook has cut the bottom part of the map off (I compared it to the physical copy). Another the map was extremely blurry and enlarged so much of it got cut off. And in Dance with Dragons the maps are so tiny you can't read them.

Now I'm not sure if it's the same on an ereader but it does bother me and makes me consider going back to paper books. I'm also bothered that many of the books don't have covers as I love cover art.

Are there any books where the maps haven't been cut off/destroyed?
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Old 08-03-2011, 09:04 AM   #2
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Are there any books where the maps haven't been cut off/destroyed?
Those that have been created with some care, which rules out almost all commercial ebooks.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:17 AM   #3
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Even with paper books I always go online and see if I can find a large high quality version of any maps. I look at the map in the book as being there because it needs to be for quick glances and not as a definitive resource.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:26 AM   #4
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Dorothy Sayers' book Clouds Of Witness available here on Mobile Read has a small map of a hunting lodge that works well on my PRS-350.

Not that its the same as a two page geographical map.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:45 AM   #5
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It strikes me as the simplest fix would be to ensure that whatever map/diagram you're trying to include with your ebook be rendered...well...sideways. Which, as Jellby's pointed out, most of the traditional houses don't really think about when they're having their tech people slap together these ebooks.

In many fantasy novels, in my experience, a map will either be rendered in landscape across two pages or in landscape, rendered sideways on one page. There's no discernible reason that the latter couldn't be done in an ebook.
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Old 08-03-2011, 10:50 AM   #6
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It strikes me as the simplest fix would be to ensure that whatever map/diagram you're trying to include with your ebook be rendered...well...sideways. Which, as Jellby's pointed out, most of the traditional houses don't really think about when they're having their tech people slap together these ebooks.

In many fantasy novels, in my experience, a map will either be rendered in landscape across two pages or in landscape, rendered sideways on one page. There's no discernible reason that the latter couldn't be done in an ebook.


I really hope that publishers figure out a way to render maps - along with the ability to quickly get to that map and back again without losing your page...
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Old 08-03-2011, 01:05 PM   #7
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I really hope that publishers figure out a way to render maps - along with the ability to quickly get to that map and back again without losing your page...
It would help a lot if they would start using PNG or GIF instead of JPEG. JPEG should never be used for line art or text. It increases the file size and makes lines and text blurry.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:11 PM   #8
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By removing the DRM it is simple enough to print out a hard copy; this also means you do not have to jump around the ebook to view the map.
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Old 08-03-2011, 05:11 PM   #9
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^Agreed. I actually downloaded images from the Internet to use in the Kindle imager viewer. Results were poor at best and you still had to switch out of the book. My final solution was to download the map image onto my iTouch and use that as the map viewer. It scales and navigates better and I could read and have the map open too.
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Old 08-03-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
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By removing the DRM it is simple enough to print out a hard copy; this also means you do not have to jump around the ebook to view the map.
No need to do that if the image dimensions are no larger than the screen. Just do a screen capture and print or display that.
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Old 08-04-2011, 04:05 AM   #11
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I faced this question in preparing my recent Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus, which combined two novels originally published in paper by Tor. The second novel, Dragon Rigger, had a lovely map that had spanned two printed pages. The artist happily gave me the map, but I wasn't sure how to present it.

Eventually I decided on a 3-fold approach. I put the whole map in the ebook in landscape mode, and then the "west" and "east" halves in portrait, so the features would be a little bigger. Finally, I included a link to a larger version of the map on my website. I don't think that many people use the web version, but it's there if they want it.
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:25 AM   #12
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I put the whole map in the ebook in landscape mode.
How do ensure it's in landscape mode? Do you assume that the reader will be used in portrait, and so you rotate the picture? Note that:

(a) Some users might prefer reading in landscape mode. If they encounter an image that would naturally fit the landscape screen but doesn't because it's rotated... well, it looks silly.

(b) Some readers can automatically change the display orientation when the device is physically rotated. So, if you force the user to rotate the device in order to see an image, the display could rotate again, starting an eternal loop and annoying the user.

I suggest you just include the map in its natural orientation, with a resolution that's not too large but still allows reading the labels, and let the device handle rotation, zooming, etc. Not all devices have those features, of course, but there's no reason why they shouldn't.
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Old 08-04-2011, 11:00 AM   #13
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Eventually I decided on a 3-fold approach. I put the whole map in the ebook in landscape mode, and then the "west" and "east" halves in portrait, so the features would be a little bigger. Finally, I included a link to a larger version of the map on my website. I don't think that many people use the web version, but it's there if they want it.
That's actually a really, really nice idea. I don't think a lot of authors think of that, but I think I've maybe seen one or two beyond you that have. It's a nice touch for those who want to see a nice map, but in more detail than you get on a paperback or ebook page.
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Old 08-04-2011, 12:55 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by starrigger View Post
I faced this question in preparing my recent Dragon Space: A Star Rigger Omnibus, which combined two novels originally published in paper by Tor. The second novel, Dragon Rigger, had a lovely map that had spanned two printed pages. The artist happily gave me the map, but I wasn't sure how to present it.

Eventually I decided on a 3-fold approach. I put the whole map in the ebook in landscape mode, and then the "west" and "east" halves in portrait, so the features would be a little bigger. Finally, I included a link to a larger version of the map on my website. I don't think that many people use the web version, but it's there if they want it.
As a genre reader, I really appreciate your efforts! Thank you!
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Old 08-04-2011, 06:12 PM   #15
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How do ensure it's in landscape mode? Do you assume that the reader will be used in portrait, and so you rotate the picture? Note that:

(a) Some users might prefer reading in landscape mode. If they encounter an image that would naturally fit the landscape screen but doesn't because it's rotated... well, it looks silly.

(b) Some readers can automatically change the display orientation when the device is physically rotated. So, if you force the user to rotate the device in order to see an image, the display could rotate again, starting an eternal loop and annoying the user.
That leads to an interesting question: is there a way to override that, i.e. force page orientation for a single page in epub?
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