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Old 10-31-2011, 12:08 AM   #1
granturissimus
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I don't think I like topaz

i bought 2 books in the kindle store so far that are in topaz format. they have their own fonts which look blurry and with lower contrast. the font size is also large.

the 2 books i got are more newer than the other ones i have, so i wonder if topaz is the new popular format for kindle or something?

does topaz format automatically mean custom font?
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:09 AM   #2
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Most topaz books are older books that have been converted to eBook format using a scanner. And yes, the fonts are fixed.

The solution is to convert them to mobi format using Calibre. However, to do that, you need to remove the DRM, since Calibre can't convert a protected book, and most of the topaz books are protected.

I just bought a book yesterday that came in Topaz. I was momentarily annoyed, since I wasn't near my computer and had downloaded it directly to the Kindle (not my usual workflow.) But, as soon as I got home to the computer, I cleaned it up and converted and then reuploaded to my Kindle so that my font preferences were used.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:06 AM   #3
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i tried converting to mobi, but they didnt convert nicely. i'd have to edit the text in the book to fix it.

is it possible to edit the book text in the mobi format? how do i do that?
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:23 AM   #4
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But, as soon as I got home to the computer, I cleaned it up and converted and then reuploaded to my Kindle so that my font preferences were used.
Unfortunately, Topaz books are "converted" using an OCR process, and the results are rarely satisfactory. One generally needs to extensively edit such a conversion to get it looking good.
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Old 10-31-2011, 04:25 AM   #5
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is it possible to edit the book text in the mobi format? how do i do that?
Not directly. There are various ways to do it; one is to convert to ePub, use an ePub editor such as Sigil (available free - see the Sigil forum) and then convert back to Mobi format.
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Old 10-31-2011, 05:12 AM   #6
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man that would be a pain though. i dunno if i will end up doing that.

i bought my kindle without knowing all the pains of ebooks lol.
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Old 10-31-2011, 09:26 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, Topaz books are "converted" using an OCR process, and the results are rarely satisfactory. One generally needs to extensively edit such a conversion to get it looking good.
True, unfortunately. In most cases, it probably pays to stay with the Topaz version. But in other cases, I live with the results of the conversion. But actually fixing a converted Topaz book is usually a lot of work.

What would be a boon would be a way to directly edit a Mobi book on the Kindle itself. But somehow, I don't think we'll see that.
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Old 10-31-2011, 10:27 AM   #8
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Topaz sucks, but fortunately the vast majority of Amazon books are mobi. As the others have stated, the few Topaz books I bought have had to have extensive editing after conversion to get rid of the OCR errors. To attempt to avoid Topaz, I always download the sample to see if the book is in Topaz. If the book is in Topaz, then I check other bookstores (Sony, B&N, etc.) to see if they have it available in ePub. If they do, I buy the ePub then convert that to mobi. However, I've found that most of my Topaz books are not available from other stores in ePub format.
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Old 10-31-2011, 01:33 PM   #9
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Topaz sucks, but fortunately the vast majority of Amazon books are mobi.
Properly done Topaz can be very good indeed; I have a maths textbook which is Topaz, and superb. It has all the benefits of supporting complex layouts that PDF does, and support reflow, too. Unfortunately some publishers use Topaz as a "short-cut" method of creating an ebook, but used correctly, it's a very good format indeed.
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Old 10-31-2011, 02:43 PM   #10
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Wow Harry, you are the only person I've ever heard say something positive about Topaz.
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Old 10-31-2011, 03:33 PM   #11
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Wow Harry, you are the only person I've ever heard say something positive about Topaz.
I've seen some good ones as well. But my sample size is very small (probably fewer than 10).

Now that KF8 exists, presumably there will be few, if any, new Topaz ebooks. Unfortunately, that will not mean the end of badly formatted ebooks, which are possible using any format.
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:17 AM   #12
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I have purchased a couple of topaz ebooks without realizing it. However, Amazon's liberal return policy also counts for books purchased, so they readily refunded my purchase.

Also, to the OP. If you haven't seen this yet, there is generally a way to find out if it is a Topaz book. Look under product details for a line like this:
File Size: 376 KB

If the file size line exists it is NOT Topaz. If it is missing it is Topaz.
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Old 11-01-2011, 07:45 AM   #13
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Wow Harry, you are the only person I've ever heard say something positive about Topaz.
Make that two (or three), then.

I still don't like it because of its difficulty to convert to other formats, but when done right, Topaz can render beautiful results. The problem is... it was rarely done right. It was usually a slap-dash effort to get a book to market when no ebook previously existed (or the rights owner simply didn't want to spend time/money producing the ebook themselves).

They can also be quite slow (page-turns) depending on their size, but I've never been in a big page-turning hurry, anyway.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:22 AM   #14
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I only ever bought one Topaz, I sent it back and bought a used paperback instead. The amount of work you would need to put into fixing one isn't really worth it. I don't know why Amazon allows publishers to use that format when they have epub versions on other sites.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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I've had several Topaz books. Haven't sent one back yet. I remove the DRM and convert to Mobi for long term storage and archival, but generally leave it in Topaz format on the Kindle for reading. The result is slower page turns, certainly, but an overall better result than the conversion.

OTOH, if the publisher has an ePub version, and I notice it in time, I'll buy that one by preference and convert that to Mobi. Almost always a better result.
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