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Old 01-05-2013, 06:04 PM   #16
Jeff L
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Saying 'Best read in Landscape' is fine but that doesn't solve the problem of what happens when you're in Portrait.

That is, the lines still have to work both ways, Portrait and Landscape, so you're back to figuring out how to format a line that's too long.

Note that you have some flexibility in epub and KF8, but not in old mobi.

If they don't want indents, perhaps you can make a small margin-top, say 0.3em, between lines. Then lines that wrap won't have this margin-top and be closer together. That way, lines that wrap will be grouped and be visibly distinguishable from separate lines.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:21 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
Please note that this post is addressed to readers, not writers or poets.

Firstly, my guess is that most people who read anthologies read them initially from start to finish, and then go back from time to time to re-read favourite poems or stories. Is that what you do?
No. I read whatever I want. I'm surprised to see that some people read them F-2-B. I cherry pick. I don't always want everything that's in an anthology. {shrug}.

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I have done tables of content for the poems and stories, and have put links after each poem or story back to the main poem and story contents so that people can find a particular poem or story and then find another one without having to page through from the first one he or she wants to re-read to the next one. Does this make sense?
Not sure why you have the jumps BACK. I don't think I understand the "main poem" idea, but I'm pretty sure that 95% of all e-readers out there still standing, if not 100%, have a linked TOC now, both in ePUB and in MOBI. Why not just leave the "go to" TOC or the ncx?

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Secondly, many of the poems have long lines - fifty or sixty characters in the line - and because only about forty characters fit on a line at the font size I prefer this forces the line to break. The poets who wrote the poems have indicated to the publisher that they expect that people reading these poems will choose to read that poem in landscape orientation. They don't want the lines indented after a forced break. What would you do? Would you be willing to change orientation on your reader if it seemed that there had been forced breaks to the line? Would you like to see something like 'Best read in landscape orientation?'
I don't understand why you would have "forced line breaks?" Why not just use CSS to auto-indent any line that breaks when it reaches the margin? There's tons of examples out there, from Joshua to Liz Castro. I think forcing breaks (if they are not the actual end of the line, mind you) is a really bad idea for a zillion reasons.

Having done a fair bit of poetry work, I know how difficult the authors of poetry can be about visual presentation, but I think it is beyond unrealistic for them to "expect that people reading these poems will choose to read that poem in landscape orientation. " I mean, really? Who does that? I don't, and on my NookColor, and my Fire, if I rotate the device, I usually have it set to give me two columns, which certainly won't give the readers what the client(s) think they're giving the readers. My (non-scientific) poll of my clients indicates that most of them read in portrait, firstly, and on the rare occasions that they read in landscape, they're using two-column (page) mode. I don't see that dog hunting for poetry.

I say, code the lines to work properly with an indented wrap, and let the readers choose if they want to read it in portrait or landscape. You're effectively trying to force readers to read a "fixed format book" in an orientation most truly don't use...and worse, if like me, that won't do what you think it will, anyway. And if it's highly formatted/stylized (for example, the ubiquitous word strategically placed half-way across the page), you just may have to decline the job. I've turned down tons of poetry when it became clear to me that using a reflowable book would never give the client what s/he would demand. That's the road to hell and Endless Revisions. Endless Revisions is the name given to Dante's 11th Level of Hell.

FWIW.

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Old 01-05-2013, 08:20 PM   #18
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Thanks once more to you both. The cases against just letting the lines break where they want and expecting readers to go to landscape orientation is getting stronger and stronger.
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:48 PM   #19
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I mostly get anthologies when I'm interested in the majority of it. I won't buy one simply because "it's got a piece by Wally Writer. I love him!" I mostly read from beginning to end.

Landscape reading depends on the device. On the Kindle Keyboard I usually won't. I have to manually change to landscape mode and the controls are harder to use. Touchscreen device with automatic rotation? Landscape mode is fine.

Lines vs. stanzas? I'd be more inclined to protect the lines.

Persnickety writers? Tell them to ship a large-screen reader to every customer or learn to accept limitations.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
Thanks once more to you both. The cases against just letting the lines break where they want and expecting readers to go to landscape orientation is getting stronger and stronger.
Well...I should add, if it is THAT IMPORTANT to them, then they can pay you to do a fixed-format layout, one for ePUB (iBooks) one for MOBI (Kindle), and, well, none for anyone else except maybe Kobo. It's about....10x the price, if not more, but if it matters THAT MUCH...why should money be an object, when we're talking about ART?

I usually find that that is where the rubber hits the road.

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Old 01-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #21
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I've had another idea overnight, and I'd really appreciate feedback. How would it be if:

- In the advertising blurb and in a foreword put in the ebook there be a clear statement that many of the poems have long lines which will break in portrait orientation
- In both places there be a recommendation that the ebook be put in landscape orientation for reading the poems, and returned to portrait orientation afterwards
- In the ebook there be instructions on how to put each of the major readers in landscape orientation and return it to portrait orientation.

I have looked at the poems in the ebook I'm designing in landscape orientation on my Sony and on my Kindle3, and think they look good. There are no forced line breaks, and not many more breaks in the stanza than there when they are read in portrait orientation.

Does this make sense?
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:42 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexBell View Post
I've had another idea overnight, and I'd really appreciate feedback. How would it be if:

- In the advertising blurb and in a foreword put in the ebook there be a clear statement that many of the poems have long lines which will break in portrait orientation
- In both places there be a recommendation that the ebook be put in landscape orientation for reading the poems, and returned to portrait orientation afterwards
- In the ebook there be instructions on how to put each of the major readers in landscape orientation and return it to portrait orientation.

I have looked at the poems in the ebook I'm designing in landscape orientation on my Sony and on my Kindle3, and think they look good. There are no forced line breaks, and not many more breaks in the stanza than there when they are read in portrait orientation.

Does this make sense?
Alex:

I'm sorry, I don't mean to be "Dora Doom," but I'd get really bloody annoyed at all that fooferah. I would. It's all well and good to discuss something like this on a forum full of techhies, but go try this on a forum full of regular readers with K2's, Kindle DX's and early Kobo's, or Sonys. You'll find that they're not hacking their devices, don't know how to sideload, can't take screenshots, and would make faces (at best) about changing orientation. Particularly if you're talking to a literary crowd (like the literary journals we do)...we have to make the book super-simple to use/read.

And is all that going to display in the previews/free samples/look Insides? How do you think that would affect sales, assuming that this book is for sale?

I just think your poets have to bite the damn bullet and face the fact that the lines WILL word-wrap. I mean, honestly, what is the big damn deal? Do you have a stanza (in PDF or whatever) that you can show us to indicate why this is such a drama-queen situation?

I said it earlier, jokingly, but now I'm not: if it's that important, to the publisher, then put the onus on the publisher. Make them pay to put it in fixed-format. If it's not that important, stop trying to put all the WORK on the reader. It's the publisher's responsibility to make the material accessible to the reader--not the reader's responsibility to sit on the crapper, turn their head 45-degrees, hold the device upside-down and double-tap it to launch the zoom...as one example. Why, exactly, is the reader now being forced to have an updated device in order to enjoy the poem?

This sort of discussion drives me daft. I understand better than most the demands that publishers make--but it's our responsibility as bookmakers to force them to understand that ebooks are not print books. They are text-delivery devices, not mini-websites or little graphics-delivery devices, despite Apple's highly misleading commercials (in which they show apps as books). If they want it that badly, then use the tools available and make it a fixed-format book. Please stop with the "forced line breaks," because the idea of how that will look once somebody enlarges the font makes me shudder.

Lastly: most people do not read the frontmatter. I've discovered this through myriad means, but unless it's a very popular memoir, or an important piece of literature, you can literally count on one hand the number of people (who are not the poets or authors, or family thereof) who won't just skip to the first item in the journal. Where this set of "instructions" will be seen is in the marketing material available on all the major websites--the last place you want potential readers to see that they have to jump through hoops to enjoy the book--flipping it one way for poems, another for prose...I think that would be the kiss of death for sales.

Just my $.02.

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Old 01-08-2013, 12:01 AM   #23
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Thanks, Hitch. You're completely right, and you've me realise that I'm tying myself in knots trying to do stuff that's not my responsibility.

I'll stop fussing now.
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:21 AM   #24
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For the longest time, I used to feel something akin to guilt if I would read an anthology in any other way than front to back. Skipping a story I wasn't taken with in the first few pages somehow seemed like cheating.

This passage from Ruth Rendell's Road Rage in which Chief Inspector Wexford contemplates a collection of essays was particularly heartening to me:

Quote:
He opened the French windows, drew a chair up to the garden table, went back into the house for beer from the fridge and the book of essays: No Passion Spent. Was it necessary to begin at the beginning or could he dip? He thought it would be fine to dip.
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:07 AM   #25
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Thanks, Hitch. You're completely right, and you've me realise that I'm tying myself in knots trying to do stuff that's not my responsibility.

I'll stop fussing now.
You are most welcome, Alex. Believe me, I know those knots very, very well, and you have to learn when to start untying them, or you'll drive yourself bats. Poets, generally, are the worst, but non-fiction titles (many DIY or self-help books) can be egregious, and some authors of scholarly works can also make you utterly daft.

I cannot tell you, when I started out, or even, hell, the first year or two, what I'd go through when a publisher was unhappy with the then-available hanging indents (or faux bulleted lists, numbered lists with the same neg hanging indent) in MOBI. You'd laugh. I used to drive myself INSANE (and then my guys insane) trying to make them happy, because they wanted them to line up every time, every font, every then-possible device....I probably greyed half the grey on my head trying to make them happy. Or tables. Or faux columns. But it's like boxing: you gotta know when to throw in the towel. I will say that I have become MUCH smarter about client prep upfront (managing expectations) and about declining work that I know will never, ever, make the client happy in the final product. You will develop a 6th sense about it, as you do more books...I can't define it, but it's a Spidey-sense about what books' authors or publishers will never be happy with an ebook-version.

Remember: YOUR job is to create the best ebook possible. It's not to travel back in time and reinvent HTML and CSS and the limitations of devices. {smile}

Rigorous exercise helps. Seriously.

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